Lake Oroville State Recreation Area

South Forebay

Thermalito Forebay South has a parking lot, four lane boat launch ramp, picnic tables, a sandy beach, and chemical toilets. There is no shade or drinking water available. Power boating and fishing are the main attractions here. A visitor center complex atop Kelly Ridge overlooks the lake and dam. It features interpretive displays, an audio-visual room where films about the dam and surrounding area are shown throughout each day. The visitor center displays feature a history of the Dam construction and State Water Project as well as a historic view of the Native People that inhabit the Lake Oroville Area. A 47-foot viewing tower allows the visitor the opportunity to have a panoramic view of the dam and beautiful Lake.

Lake Oroville volunteers are an important part of the visitor center operation. Looking for an opportunity to contribute your time to an important cause? Check out the many volunteer opportunities at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. For further information call the Visitor Center at (530) 538-2219.


The hike: Head back toward the water treatment plant and small dam. Ignore the signed trail beckoning you to hike to the visitor information center and walk across the dam to the signed trailhead on the other side.

Take the ?Brooks Orchard? leg of the loop trail and begin a modest climb through a woodland of oak and digger pine. After a mile, the trail forks. A left means you loop back another mile to the trailhead.

The right fork crosses the Loafer Creek Campground Road, then gently travels a mile to Brooks Orchard, a popular resting and watering place for the many horses and riders on Oroville?s trails. A quarter mile past this rest stop, you?ll cross a creek, then meander down toward the lakeshore. You?ll skirt Loafer Creek Campground, then ascend oak- and ponderosa pine-covered slopes.

When you meet up with Loafer Creek Loop Trail, you?ll swing right, hiking over grass slopes on a mellow descent back to the trailhead.

From Lake Oroville?s visitor information center, you can join Chaparral Trail (an interpretive nature trail), then follow Kelly Ridge Trail to a lookout point above the lake; this lots-to-see loop is 2.75 miles.