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A Chico Flumes Adventure

WHO: Lis and other stragglers from the Discos Calientes ultimate frisbee tournament

WHAT: Floating the flumes, jumping off cliffs and swimming in holes

WHERE: Paradise flumes on the Feather River, outside of Chico, California

WHEN: Late August 2011

GEAR: Not much! Just my Lole bathing suit, Chaco Flips and Patagonia board shorts

Oh how I love Chico… even in the hot hot heat of summer. It’s all about bike riding and swimming holes. On my most recent trip to the town a few weeks ago I headed out to the Paradise Flumes with a few folks after a long weekend of playing ultimate frisbee and partying to the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit.

To get to the Pardise Flumes you drive about 30 minutes west of Chico to Paradise, park at the hospital’s lower lot (off Pentz Road), and hop on the trail down to the Feather River. A steep downgrade flanked on every side by poison oak, the trail is not to be messed with. The flume (pictured above) provides a nice intermission as you hike on top of it on the way in, then float in it on the way back. I’m not sure the mileage, but it probably took us 30 to 45 minutes to descend to the Feather River.

Once you reach the river, it’s pure swimming hole bliss, with cliff jumps and even a rock slide—see the smooth patch in the center of the right side of the photo below (just pour a little water on it and weeee!). This picture doesn’t do the hole justice… it’s pretty epic with deep pools, shallow spots to lounge and lots of features to climb around on. The highest cliff jump is just to the right of where the photo is taken.

After an hour or two of relaxing in the river, we hiked back out and floated our way home. The flume’s water is fairly swift, but nothing too scary, and it’s just deep enough for a decent float. My float was assisted by a pool toy noodle, which I highly recommend.

[photos by John Matthews]

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb or Chico flumes float) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.



I'm Tahoe Mountain Sports' web editor and a 6-year Tahoe resident. Yep, I live the life, with a lake view from my desk, lunch breaks on the beach with my dog, and morning powder runs when the snow's good. I ski, snowboard, skate ski, and cross-country ski in winter, and hike, mountain bike, backpack, and lay around on Tahoe's beaches in summer.


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