12 Exciting Things to Do in Cherokee

Welcome to Cherokee, California – a hidden gem situated in the gorgeous Sierra Nevada Mountains foothills! Steeped in rich history and surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, Cherokee offers plenty of exciting activities for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and wine lovers alike. 

We’ll delve into the top 12 things to do in and around Cherokee, California. So, grab your hiking boots, binoculars, and a sense of adventure as we explore the wonders of this charming locale.

1. Hike the Table Mountain Ecological Reserve

Table Mountain Ecological Reserve
Photo by https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/northern-california/spring-bloom-table-mountain-norcal/

Just an 8-minute (4.3 miles) drive from Cherokee, Table Mountain Ecological Reserve is a must-visit for nature lovers. This unique volcanic plateau houses several different plant and animal species. 

Enjoy the vibrant wildflowers that bloom during spring. Look for rare vernal pool habitats that form after the rainy season. The reserve offers various trails suitable for all skill levels. That’s why it’s an ideal destination whether you want to go on a relaxing stroll or challenge yourself with a hike.

2. Take a Guided Tour of the Cherokee Museum

Cherokee Museum
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee,_California

Step back in time and immerse yourself in Cherokee’s gold-mining history at the Cherokee Museum. Located 1 minute and 0.1 miles away, this fascinating museum houses a massive collection of artifacts and photographs. Discover the lives of the miners who once flocked here searching for fortune and learn about the town’s thriving community during the Gold Rush era.

3. Go Fishing at Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville
Photo by https://edition.cnn.com/2023/02/19/us/lake-oroville-before-and-after-storms-climate/index.html

A mere 34-minute (25.3 miles) drive from Cherokee, Lake Oroville is a popular spot for anglers seeking a relaxing day by the water. This vast reservoir boasts an array of fish species, including bass, salmon, and catfish. Pack a picnic and enjoy the stunning views as you cast your line, hoping for a big catch.

4. Take a Hike at the Phantom Falls

Phantom Falls
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_Falls

Just a 14-minute (6.3 miles) drive from Cherokee, the Phantom Falls is a captivating seasonal waterfall that flows over basalt cliffs within the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve. 

A moderate hike will lead you to this hidden gem, which is especially impressive during the rainy season. Along the trail, enjoy the wildflower blooms in spring and the diverse range of plant and animal species that call the reserve home.

5. Enjoy Wine Tasting at Long Creek Winery

Indulge in the region’s flavors at Long Creek Winery, just 26 minutes and 18.6 miles from Cherokee. Sample handcrafted wines, including rich reds and crisp whites, while soaking in the stunning views of the surrounding vineyards. 

You can also book a guided tour. These tours offer insight into their winemaking process and a chance to learn about the winery’s sustainable practices.

6. Go Mountain Biking in the Oroville Wildlife Area

Oroville Wildlife Area
Photo by https://www.thelostlongboarder.com/free-camping-at-oroville-wildlife-area/

For adrenaline junkies, the Oroville Wildlife Area, a short 17-minute (15.2 miles) drive from Cherokee, offers a thrilling mountain biking experience. With trails to suit all skill levels, you can test your limits on challenging inclines or enjoy a leisurely ride through the rolling hills. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, such as deer and wild turkeys, as you soak in the gorgeous scenery.

7. Go Fishing and Hiking at the Feather River Canyon

Feather River Canyon
Photo by https://mvdirona.com/2021/09/road-trip-to-seattle-feather-river-canyon/

Take a scenic drive through the breathtaking Feather River Canyon, just over an hour and 17 minutes, and 27.5 miles away from Cherokee. This winding route offers numerous lookout points. You can see the beautiful river below and enjoy the scenery with the backdrop of the surrounding mountains. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for picnicking, hiking, and fishing, making it the perfect day trip for outdoor enthusiasts.

8. Take a Tour of the Chinese Temple Museum

Chinese Temple Museum
Photo by https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Oroville_Chinese_Temple

Dive into the region’s rich cultural history at the Chinese Temple Museum, just under a 20-minute (14.9 miles) drive from Cherokee in Oroville. This beautifully preserved temple was built during the Gold Rush era and is a testament to the Chinese immigrants who contributed to the area’s development. Inside, you’ll find fascinating artifacts and exhibits that offer insight into their daily lives and the challenges they faced.

9. Go Kayaking on the Feather River

Feather River
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feather_River

The Feather River offers a fantastic kayaking experience for those seeking adventure on the water. Located about 52 minutes and 40.4 miles from Cherokee, the river’s calm waters and gentle currents make it suitable for paddlers of all skill levels. 

Enjoy the serene surroundings as you glide past lush vegetation. Look for local wildlife, such as otters, herons, and even the occasional bald eagle.

10. Take a Guided Tour of the Sutter Buttes

Sutter Buttes
Photo by https://rove.me/to/california/sutter-buttes

Just 1 hour and 10 minutes and 52.3 miles from Cherokee, the Sutter Buttes – known as the “World’s Smallest Mountain Range” – is an intriguing geological wonder. Explore the unique rock formations and take a guided tour to learn about the area’s fascinating history. Stay ready with your camera to capture the incredible panoramic views from the summit.

11. Attend the Oroville Salmon Festival

If you’re visiting Cherokee in the fall, don’t miss the annual Oroville Salmon Festival. The event is held at the Oroville Convention Center which is 19 minutes from Cherokee, covering 15.1 miles. 

This lively event celebrates the return of the salmon to the Feather River. The festival offers activities and attractions for people of all ages. Enjoy live music, delicious food, arts and crafts vendors, and educational exhibits focused on the area’s natural resources and conservation efforts.

12. Go Birdwatching at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
Photo by https://www.chicoer.com/2019/10/02/take-a-walking-tour-of-gray-lodge-wildlife-area/

A true haven for bird enthusiasts, the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area is just a 45-minute (40.4 miles) drive from Cherokee. Home to a diverse array of bird species, this expansive wetland habitat offers prime viewing opportunities, especially during the winter months when migratory birds flock to the area. Bring your binoculars and a field guide as you wander the trails, keeping an eye out for rare sightings and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

13. Go Stargazing at the Dark Sky Observatory

Just 33 minutes and 23.9 miles from Cherokee, the Dark Sky Observatory provides the perfect setting for stargazing. Far from city lights, you can marvel at the beauty of the night sky and spot constellations, planets, and even meteor showers during special events. The observatory also offers educational programs and guided tours for visitors interested in astronomy.

14. Explore the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park

Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidwell_Mansion_State_Historic_Park

Travel just 31 minutes and 21.9 miles from Cherokee to visit the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park in Chico. This beautifully preserved 19th-century mansion was once home to John and Annie Bidwell, prominent pioneers in California history. Enjoy a guided tour of the mansion. Learn about the couple’s fascinating lives and their role in the region’s development.

15. Take a Guided Tour of the Empire Mine State Historic Park

Empire Mine State Historic Park
Photo by https://www.visitcalifornia.com/experience/empire-mine-state-historic-park/

Located about an hour and 9 minutes (67.1 miles) from Cherokee, the Empire Mine State Historic Park offers a fascinating glimpse into California’s rich gold-mining history. Explore the well-preserved mine yard, take a guided tour of the mine, and wander through the beautiful grounds that once belonged to the mine’s owner. The park also features several miles of scenic hiking and equestrian trails.

Hey, if you stick around the area make sure to check out these other towns:


Cherokee is a treasure trove of exciting activities, stunning natural beauty, and rich history. From hiking and fishing to exploring museums and attending lively festivals, everyone can enjoy their time in this charming corner of the Golden State. So why wait? Pack your bags and set out on an unforgettable journey as you explore Cherokee, California.

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