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Parks and Recreation

Chico is an oasis of recreation, as people from all over the region and beyond take pleasure in the community’s well-maintained park sites, trails and facilities. The Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD) is an integral component to the recreational landscape of Chico, as it oversees six community and neighborhood parks, two community pools, three recreation centers and one sports field. CARD also provides Chico residents and guests with a year-round listing of activities, including camps, after-school programs, athletic programs, aquatics and an assortment of special interest and fine arts classes.

The City’s Bidwell Park is a true gem in the community. Established more than 100 years ago, Bidwell Park has grown into a vast 3,670-acre park site, placing it among the largest municipally owned parks in the U.S. The park is bisected by Manzanita Avenue, which created Lower Park to the west and Upper Park to the east. The park also houses a Disc Golf site; the Chico Creek Nature Center; the One Mile Recreation Area, featuring Sycamore Pool, the fairytale-themed Caper Acres playground, ball fields and picnic areas; and Five Mile Recreation Area, a tranquil place ideal for picnicking and swimming in the creek.

Water sports enthusiasts regularly visit the nearby Sacramento River, Lake Oroville and Lake Almanor, while golfers hit the links at Bidwell Park Golf Course, Butte Creek Country Club and Canyon Oaks Country Club. The community is also teeming with ample trail systems for hikers, equestrian use and bikers. Bidwell Park hosts miles upon miles of trails, and prominent cycle clubs, such as Chico Velo and Chico Corsa, have made a home here. In fact, at one point, Chico was rated the No. 1 Best Bike Town in America by Bicycling Magazine. The area still remains a popular spot for bikers, as it welcomes more than 4,000 cyclists who participate in the annual Chico Velo Wildflower Century cycling event each April.

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