Growing out of downtown, the 3670-acre Bidwell Park is the nation’s third-largest municipal park. It stretches 10 miles northwest along Chico Creek with lush groves and miles of trails. The upper part of the park is an untamed oasis. Several classic movies have been shot here, including parts of Gone with the Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood.
The park is full of swimming spots. You’ll find pools at One-Mile and Five-Mile recreation areas and swimming holes (including Bear Hole, Salmon Hole and Brown Hole) in Upper Bidwell Park, north of Manzanita Ave. Don’t be surprised if some opt to swim au naturel.