Feather River Scenic Byway-Feather River Canyon

The canyon portion of this 130-mile scenic byway route travels east-west across Butte and Plumas Counties on State Highway 70, following the north fork of the Feather River.

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Latitude: 39.582539 Longitude: -121.619511 Elevation: 285 ft

Length of Byway or Route

About 60 miles

Driving Directions

The Feather River Scenic Byway route can be taken in either direction. From the west, it starts eight miles north of Oroville on Highway 70, winds through the magnificent Feather River Canyon, following the middle fork of the Feather River, the state's first designated Wild and Scenic River, connects with Highway 89 on through Quincy to Blairsden/Graeagle, resumes as Highway 70  through Portola, drops down onto the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada and cuts through the fantastic expanse of the Sierra Valley, the western edge of the Great Basin.

Highlights and Key Points Along the Route

Few California highways feature such natural beauty and diversity in terrain, landscape, wildlife and elevation as the Canyon Route. Cascading waterfalls and wildflowers in the spring and brilliant colors in the fall highlight the canyon’s natural beauty. The area also showcases the marvels of power plant, railroad and highway engineering between the steep, rugged canyon walls that drop down to the North Fork of the Feather River. The historic Pulga and Tobin bridges -- highway and railroad bridges that cross over each other --and three tunnels blasted through granite are among the most frequently photographed sites. Seven hydroelectric powerhouses make up the “Stairway of Power” along the river with excellent views of the process in action.

Numerous hiking trails (including the Pacific Crest Trail) are accessed in the canyon, while the river provides opportunities for gold panning, camping and springtime rafting and kayaking. There also are many fishing holes along the creeks that intersect the river.                          

Recreational flow releases on the North Fork Feather River increase the opportunities for whitewater enthusiasts, on select weekends from June to October. The small communities of Storrie, Tobin, Belden, Caribou, Twain and Paxton offer lodging, camping, convenience stores and places to eat.

If you like trains, historic tracks (built in 1906) parallel the highway through the canyon.  You may find yourself nose to nose with the engine and if you are lucky they will give you a blast of the horn.  These tracks carry trains from east to west (Utah to the coast and Oregon).

ADA Accessibility Notes

ADA accessible

Pet Friendly Notes

Pet friendly.  Always check with private businesses about their pet policies.



This tucked-away canyon is a spectacular drive - we were stunned by the fantastic beauty! A must-see!

The California Travelor, 3/14/2013

Forgot to mention the different of location of train tracks thruout the canyon to the top. Sometimes below sometimes above.

Darryl G. Evans, 7/6/2016

Drove the route, fantastic, equal to Yosemite or maybe even better as far as scenery

Bill Newman (MI), 10/13/2017

Hi Lynn, I am trying to find pictures of the Feather River and it’s scenery from Oroville to Reno - not all the way to Reno--like 1957 - around there -- before the Dam. Do you know where to look? Thank You so much. Betty Dilley --betty73lou@gmail.com or my other email if that comes up for you.

Betty L Dilley, 2/15/2018

We traveled from Oroville to Quincy June 5, 2018. Such spectacular views! More beautiful than any we've seen so far. If you have just one choice for a fantastactic scenic route to drive. This is it!

Billie Morris, 6/7/2018

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