North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Butte County is a fabulous place to see lots of native and endemic wildflowers in the spring. It’s about 2 hours north of Sacramento.
- Easy to Locate? Yes
- Pet Friendly? Yes. Dogs MUST be on a leash.
- Easy to Walk? Depends on where you go. If you stay on top of the plateau there is little to no elevation gain. If you hike the trails, they range from easy to moderate, but they all start off heading DOWN (which means you have to hike back UP again.
- Is there a Fee? Yes. You need to get a day-use or annual Lands Pass from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. They are available online, or wherever hunting licenses are sold.
- Are there Restrooms? Not always. At peak season, porta-potties may be made available.
- Is there Accessible Parking? Yes, sort of. There are two small gravel parking areas, but during peak season they fill up quickly. Arrive there as early in the day as you can to get a spot.
- Other Notes: Wear sturdy shoes; the ground is seepy and very wet in places. Wear a hat and use sunscreen; there is little to no shade in most places.
The preserve is comprised of about 3,300 acres of basalt mesa, waterfalls, lava outcrops, and a rare type of vernal pool, called Northern Basalt Flow Vernal Pools all created by ancient lava flows.
See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location.
Cattle grazing on the reserve is used as a management tool to reduce thatch and non-native grass species to benefit native plants. Do not approach the cattle closer than 300 feet.
How to Get to the Reserve:
- Head up Interstate 5 (I5) North
- Take Exit 252B for Highway 99 North toward Yuba City/Marysville
- Continue on Highway 99 north until it splits with Highway 70
- Stay right, and take Highway 70 North toward Marysville/Oroville
- Remain on Highway 70 North until you get closer to Marysville where you’ll take a little jog on surface streets to get back onto the highway.
- Turn RIGHT on Highway 70 East at 9th Street (there’s a 7-11 on the corner)
- At B Street, turn LEFT onto Highway 70 North (you’ll pass by a Dollar General)
- Take Exit 48 to merge onto Grand Avenue
- Turn LEFT onto Second Street
- Turn RIGHT onto Nelson Avenue/ Highway 70 BUS
- Turn LEFT to stay on Nelson Avenue/ Highway 70 BUS
- Continue straight onto Cherokee Road [NOTE: Cherokee Road is narrow and has a lot of twists and turns; drive with special care. The road can be icy in the early spring and slippery when wet.]
- After about 6 miles, the reserve parking areas will come up on your left.
2488 Cherokee Rd, Oroville, CA 95965