Trail thru Paradise

Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Paradise, California, is a warm and inviting city with a small-town feel, and this trail offers visitors the perfect way to see it. You can start at either end; the course described here starts on the south at Neal Road and Skyway Road and climbs slightly uphill at about a 3 percent average grade. If you plan to ride the trail both ways, we recommend following this route so you’re riding downhill on the way back.

As you step onto the rail-trail you are surrounded by tall oak woodlands and pine trees. You can soon see houses on your right, but there are so many trees between the trail and the homes that the trail doesn’t have a residential feel at all. Likewise, although the trail parallels Skyway Road for most of its route, the abundance of trees between it and the road almost makes you forget this.

After about 1 mile the trail turns right onto Black Olive Road. Follow this path into the lovely and well-maintained community park. The park has restrooms, a playground and the Paradise Depot Museum. The depot opened in 1904 as one of four stations on the Butte County Railroad (BCRR) line, which hauled logs and lumber for the Diamond Match Company operations in Stirling City and Chico. When BCRR added passenger and cargo services, Paradise became the busiest depot on the route. It formed the heart of a new downtown and was a driving force of economic development for the town. Operated by Southern Pacific after 1912, the rail line closed in 1974. Signposts in the park, which occupies the old depot grounds, provide additional information about the history of the railroad and the city of Paradise.

On the other side of the park the path becomes tree-lined again and remains this way until the end. Less than a mile beyond the park you catch a glimpse of a school to your right through the trees, followed by more houses. If you want to grab a bite to eat or explore the city, you can turn onto Skyway Road from one of the crossings along the trail and check out one of several restaurants and delis.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the southern trailhead from State Route 99, take the Paradise Exit. Merge onto East Park Avenue, which becomes Skyway Road. Continue on Skyway through the town of Paradise to the intersection of Skyway and Neal Road. At the intersection the trailhead is next to a short brick wall that reads TOWN OF PARADISE-WELCOME. There are several nearby shopping centers with ample parking.


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