With more public lands than a DogTrekker could explore in a lifetime, Butte County is a great place for an outdoorsy getaway with your canine companion. The surprises start in the county seat of Chico, home to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, a California State University campus, and Bidwell Park, at 3,618 acres one of the largest municipal parks in the country. While the developed Lower Park is home to playing fields, a nature center, a theater and other community facilities, the rougher, untamed Upper Park offers 70 miles of hiking trails and open areas where it's legal to let Fido romp off leash so long as he comes when you call.
Lake Oroville, the state's second-largest reservoir after Shasta, is the county's biggest summertime recreation magnet, offering floating campsites and many other opportunities for summertime doggie fun; just be aware that beach and turf areas are off limits to canines. When the lake is full, it comes to within a quarter-mile of Feather Falls, a three-tiered, 410-foot cascade on the Fall River that is gushing this year due to the massive snowpack in the Sierra. The nine-mile Feather Falls Loop Trail is dog-friendly and leads to a railed observation platform, but check before you go as the lower loop was closed at this writing due to footbridge damage, meaning you may have to backtrack rather than complete the loop.
Photos: "Bidwell Park" - Dave Kendrick, DogTrekker
Floating Campground at Lake Oroville - Marie Murata