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Reviews « Flumes and Trails


“Here is a book that will help readers, walkers and mountain bikers see Paradise and surroundings with new appreciation. An indispensable good-humored guide, with hikes set out in minutes, and vistas or points of interest at every turn.” –Dan Barnett, Chico Enterprise-Record [see below for full reviews]

“If you like hiking or local history, buy this book! This is the best book on local hiking ever written and it includes amazing photos and fascinating information about the natural and human history that have shaped the Paradise Ridge. This well written book is a must-have for any local resident or visiting trekker. The trail descriptions are detailed and accurate and will get you to places you probably did not know existed.” –Jim Broshears, Trailhead Adventures [see below for full review]

“Hiking the trails of the Paradise Ridge and environs is a rewarding experience, but this book is far more than a much-needed trail guide. In addition to everything one would expect in such a volume, authors Roger and Helen Ekins share historical photographs and many carefully researched details about the early history of the area–from gold mining to the  development of the timber, agricultural, and hydroelectric power industries. This emphasis on historical context makes each outing an adventure of discovery.” –Bob Colby, historian and author.

“The Flumes and Trails of Paradise is a handy, nicely designed and long-overdue guide. . . The authors’ descriptions of the routes are quite clear, and each destination is accompanied by a color photograph of one of the delights–a waterfall, a pond, a shady trail . . . .”  — Robert Speers, Chico News and Review [see below for full review]


Unsolicited feedback from some of our readers:

“Seldom have I appreciated and enjoyed an outdoor nature book as I have yours.  The quality of the cover and paper set it well above others in excellence; and those wildflower photos–truly wonderful, especially to an ardent wildflower enthusiast like myself. . . The new vistas this book has opened up to me!  The Flumes and Trails of Paradise is the answer to one woman’s prayer for renewal of her spirit.”  — Carol Root

“I just had a very enjoyable afternoon and evening reading your wonderful new book.  I bought a copy yesterday and after briefly flipping through it this afternoon, I intended to read only the very few hikes you describe that I had previously taken; but once getting started, I found myself eagerly reading others and then others until I had read the entire book.  As with any really good read, I wished at the end that there were even more flumes and trails to read about.  You two provide a very welcome and much needed service by describing so many different, varied and interesting places to hike.  But more than that, you do so with a great sense of style and sly humor as well as with the kind of helpful advice and historical perspective that makes the reader feel like a close friend, tagging along with two very experienced, and nice, hikers. Thank you for this great guide.” — Randy Wonzong

“I’m amazed!  What a generous gift to the people of Paradise, as well as to Butte College.  There are so many areas featured in the book that I’ve never seen before and it’s been a delight to learn about the history and function of sites that I do happen to be familiar with.  The photographs are breathtaking and the detailed guidance is outstanding.  This book has special significance to me because it has generated a fresh new appreciation for the Paradise area.  I’ll be ordering more copies in the coming days.”  —  Jon Fournier

“Denise bought me your new book for an early fathers’ day gift and I am really impressed.  Excellent job.  I have shown it to a bunch of people that like to hike and bike and told them where to get it.  This reference is sorely needed as there is so much to see around here and most (myself) don’t adventure off on something by foot unless I have a general idea of where I am going and I much prefer loops rather than back tracking.  I have spent most of my exploring time on the west branch flume and in the high lake area and I am excited to see some of the things you show in the book.  I love the flume history at the first of the book and the old photos.  Anyway, love the book and I have already marked this one up a bunch and would like to purchase a signed copy if possible.” — Lyle Hunt 

“Indeed a GREAT book about the many wonderful trails along the flume and how to get there (my favorite part). However, the pictures of the local wildflowers are AWESOME!!! Finally, I have names for the various wildflowers that bloom during the year along the trails. THANK YOU.”  — Cathy Eidem

“I purchased a copy for my girlfriend as an early Valentine’s gift, and she absolutely loves it.  The book hardly ever leaves her side.  If it’s not next to her on the couch, it’s in her car.  She forgot it at work about a month ago, and I thought she was going to have a panic attack!”  –Joshua Feltman

“I found out about the new edition of your fabulous book through Wade Killingsworth. I purchased a copy from him  while going on a hike lead by him through the PRPD. . . I am determined to hike every canal and I’ve almost completed the Hendricks canal system by short sections of about 5 miles each. . . I wanted to thank you both for all the hard work and hours of research for this book.  It has made my retirement hiking life so much richer! . . . I met you on my first hike from your book on the ‘Upstream: Dean road to the Head Dam,’  in 2014. I recognized you from the pictures in the book, then you were so kind to sign my book when you saw me at my car after the hike. I have seen you both several times since on the Paradise bike path and at Paradise Lake. I have told so many folks how lucky I was to see you on my first hike from F&T and that you signed my book. You are both such local treasures! I don’t do FB or any other social media so I can’t ‘like’ you , but I tell everyone who will listen about your book.” –Shawna Summers


Full Review of First Edition by Dan Barnett:

Biblio File: Walking Paradise flumes

By DAN BARNETT-Correspondent
Posted:   06/02/2013 12:42:31 AM PDT
The Flumes And Trails Of Paradise: Hiking Through History On The Ridge

Roger Ekins, who retired from Butte College in 2009, is a longtime Paradise resident fascinated by local history. He and his wife, Helen, have hiked and biked in the area almost daily and now, in a beautifully designed guidebook, the couple share much of what they’ve learned.

“The Flumes And Trails Of Paradise: Hiking Through History On The Ridge” ($19.95 in paperback from Happy Trails Press) features trailhead maps, hiking tips, the history of Paradise flumes, a section on local wildflowers, and dozens of hikes with detailed commentary and color photographs. Here is a book that will help readers, walkers and mountain bikers see Paradise and surroundings with new appreciation. It’s an indispensable good-humored guide, with hikes set out in minutes, and vistas for points of interest at every turn.

The authors will sign copies of the book and present a slide show on “mysteries of the flumes” 7 p.m. Thursday at Lyon Books in Chico. They’ll be the interview guests of Nancy Wiegman on Nancy’s Bookshelf, 10 a.m. Friday on KCHO, 91.7 FM (Northstate Public Radio). For details about additional signings, and a list the places the book can be purchased locally, go to flumesandtrails.com.

Readers will be rewarded with information on old telephone poles (“the first telephone call in Butte County was made from Cherokee to Oroville in 1878”); empty houses; water pipes (“beware of any ‘modern’ hoses carrying water off, as these may well lead to an illicit marijuana grow. … Just keep on hiking”); and “curious equipment.

For instance, the “Double Incline Loop” hike near Lovelock yields a view of a “huge concrete pad that at one time housed the 900 horsepower Westinghouse motor that operated a winch with some 4,400 feet of 1 3/4 inch cable. … You are standing on the easternmost end of Diamond Match’s amazing double incline” which “operated from 1928 as long as the trees lasted, until 1935.” Flatbed cars full of logs were let down on one side of the canyon and empty cars winched up on the other.

“Regardless of how much faith you bring to your flume treks,” the authors note, “you won’t always find yourself walking on water” (which is sometimes diverted). Regardless, find a store and get the book. It’s worth the hike.

Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. To submit review copies of published books, please send e-mail to dbarnett99@me.com. Columns are archived on the Musable blog, http://dielbee.blogspot.com


Full Review of Revised & Expanded 3rd Edition by Dan Barnett:

Biblio File: Guide leads hikers to more trails and views on the flumes

“The Flumes And Trails Of Paradise: Hiking Through History On The Ridge (Revised And Expanded Edition)” by Roger and Helen Ekins

By Dan Barnett, Book Columnist

Posted: |

Longtime Paradise residents Roger and Helen Ekins have refreshed and expanded their locally best-selling guide, “The Flumes And Trails Of Paradise: Hiking Through History On The Ridge” ($24.95 in paperback from Happy Trails Press; available at flumesandtrails.com which also lists a host of local outlets).

According to an email from Roger, “Flumes” is “40 percent larger than the previous printings, with twice the wildflowers, 15 completely new trails, and significant new information/expansions of 15 or more of the existing trails.”

For readers new to the guide, the authors provide detailed hiking tips, a history of Paradise’s flume system (complete with historical photographs), and a list of “special interest hikes” (including for families and those with disabilities, and trails with swimming holes and waterfalls). In the revised edition there are 21 flume hikes and 37 trails.

Each entry provides the length and difficulty, GPS coordinates to the parking area or trailhead, special features, and a rich narrative from seasoned and good-humored guides who give minute-by-minute timings and explanations for some of the things one might see along the way, including the Helltown monument (“erected in 1989 by the ‘Clampers’”). There’s also the best path to Hidden Fall near Coutelenc Park.

A favorite summer hike is Lower Trail in Paradise Pines: “For the most part the trail is always shady. … Moreover, much of the trail runs alongside Middle Butte Creek, so you get not only the shade, but the benefit of the cooler air always found near water.”

Along the way you may even “see the grave of Dusty, the Christian Dog.”

There are views of Lake Oroville along the Lime Saddle trail in Paradise, which is a “good choice for mountain or hybrid bikes.” But “cyclists take heed: not only is there considerable starthistle along the lower trail (a mortal enemy of inner-tubes!), but you’ll likely encounter loose gravel, especially on the curves. (The scar on Roger’s left knee attests to the wisdom of this second note of caution.)”

A guide who takes the fall so you don’t have to? Thistle be just another reason to get this indispensable new edition.

Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. Send review requests to dbarnett99@me.com. Columns archived at http://dielbee.blogspot.com


Full Review by Jim Broshears:

The Flumes and Trails of the Paradise Ridge

Article and photo by Jim Broshears
05/23/13 – The review: Buy this book! “The Flumes and Trails of the Paradise Ridge.” I must admit I am a sucker for a good hiking guide. I’ve bought or borrowed dozens over the years to help me find new hiking and camping areas. These books also provide information about what I might encounter in terms of natural and human history.

Until now there had never been a book written that highlighted the area where I live and do most of my hiking and exploring. Anyone who loves hiking or local history and lives anywhere near Paradise or plans to visit the area will want a copy of this book. The hiking trail descriptions are detailed and accurate and will get you to places you probably did not know existed.

Lupine along the Canal. The Flumes of the Paradise Ridge, Butte County
Lupine along the canal.

There are great photos from the hikes and interesting background about the flumes and structures that you will encounter along the way. Each hike includes GPS coordinates for the trailhead and special features associated with that hike.

The book opens with some excellent tips for a safe and enjoyable hike. The next section is an illustrated history of the local flumes that includes some amazing historical photos that bring the history of the area to life.

It provides detailed descriptions of 41 hikes with step by step instructions designed to keep you on the right path.

If you are a map person, you will be a bit disappointed. The only maps provided give a general location of where the hikes are located. There are no maps for the trails themselves. The author notes at the beginning of the book that; (1) the detailed descriptions give “explicit and detailed directives.” (2) It would have increased the cost of the books, and (3) with all the online and mobile map resources, printed maps may soon become a thing of the past. It is our goal to develop companion maps for each trail on our website at trailheadgear.com for those who prefer a visual reference.

The bottom line is, if you like trail guides as much as I do, you will want this book.

You can purchase this book at Trailhead Adventures at 6265 Skyway in Paradise or online at trailheadgear.com.


Full Review by Robert Speers:

In the Mix - Book

The Flumes and Trails of Paradise

Roger and Helen Ekins
Happy Trails Press


This article was published on .




Count Roger and Helen Ekins, longtime Paradise residents, among those who like little more than to get outdoors and take a long hike. That urge has led them to explore the many historic flumes and trails near their home, and now they’ve put their accumulated knowledge into this handy, nicely designed and long-overdue guide for the rest of us. Altogether, they describe 21 different PG&E flume hikes and 20 trail hikes in the Paradise area. Even if you’ve explored some of them, chances are you’ll find new ones to check out in this book. The Ekinses also provide fascinating historical information about the many flumes, some of which date from the 1850s. There are two full-page maps showing approximately where the flumes and trails are located, but no detailed maps showing how to reach each of them. Fortunately, the authors’ descriptions of the routes are quite clear, and each destination is accompanied by a color photo of one of the delights—a waterfall, a pond, a shady trail—hikers will find there.

The authors will sign copies of their book ($19.95) tonight, June 6, 7 p.m., at Lyon Books. All profits go to an endowment fund for Butte College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.