North of Sacramento's bustle, the quiet town of Oroville has seen quite a reversal. Then: the lust for gold brought a crush of white settlers, who drove out the native tribes. Now: crowds flock to the thriving tribal casinos, on the outskirts of town, seeking riches. Aside from the slots, the economy leans on the local hospital, the tourists who mill though the throng of antique stores around Montgomery St, and an annual festival to celebrate the salmon run in September.
Oroville’s most enduring attraction, aside from the nearby lake, is an excellent museum established by the descendants of a long-dispersed Chinese community. Its other preserved legacies relate to the pioneers who arrived after gold was discovered near here in 1848 by John Bidwell, and to a mysterious man who stumbled into town in 1911, and came to be known as the 'last wild Indian.' Oroville is also a gateway to the rugged northern reaches of the Sierra Nevada.
Hwys 162 and 70 head northeast from Oroville into the mountains and on to Quincy. Hwy 70 snakes along the magnificent Feather River Canyon, an especially captivating drive in fall.