Chico Canyon Retreat, A facility with rustic and charming ambiance perfect for special events, meetings, or gatherings.

18, Dec

DSC08778This is the coziest time of year to be in the canyon. Mornings frequently bring a dusting of white, crunchy frost and the afternoons warm up to light sweater weather. The clear, cool evenings are perfect for star-gazing from the hot tub and Orion is at his best. The 16′ tree is decked out in the atrium and over 140′ of garlands and white lights decorate the 8′ high beams that run from one end of the lodge to the other. Large sugar pine cones hang from each of the posts. A crackling fire in the large stone fireplace adds to the ambiance. The only thing missing is a cup of hot chocolate and that is easily rectified.

The arrival of winter rains also trumpets the arrival of green. The meadows become carpets of bright green and the trees become enveloped in emerald velvet moss. Poking out from the ground will be a bevy of fungi in a variety of colors. Most will be lovely and a couple are astonishingly ugly. The American Dipper inhabits the creek with its ever bright and happy songs as it forages for small fish and insects in the water. It is the original member of the Polar Bear Club as it swims and dives in the cold, winter creek with relish. After enough rain, waterfalls appear on the canyon walls. Even winter is a glorious time in the canyon.

Enjoy all of this winter ambiance from the Canyon Cottage. Your wood stove will keep you cozy in your own private cottage with full kitchen. Check it out on (#454055). We would enjoy sharing the canyon with you this winter.

Best wishes to all for a special holiday season.

4, Feb

Spring is Coming…

Author: admin


February Greetings from Chico Canyon Retreat. Over 1000 daffodils around the grounds are pushing their way through the soil and preparing to burst into bloom. Their bright yellow, waxy trumpets command a smile not only because of the beauty they bring to the landscape, but also because they are harbingers of spring.

These bulbs are a gardener’s dream plant – they ask so little and give so much. They are very patient if the gardener runs late getting the bulbs in the ground. They don’t seem to mind that January gave them very little rain. They even tolerate being moved in the garden once they are up and blooming. And on top of that, their bulbs are hard at work multiplying (naturalizing) each year. And one more thing… the deer don’t eat them and that is a real plus here in the canyon where there are many deer mouths to feed.

Come stay in the Canyon Cottage or join Anasuya and Suzanne on February 16th for their retreat, Nurture in Nature, and you’ll get a chance to enjoy this bright yellow homage to spring here in the canyon.

17, Dec

Winter in Chico Canyon

Author: admin


Chico Canyon Waterfall

Having grown up in the upper Midwest, I thought I’d never utter a positive word about winter. However, here in the canyon it is a delightful season and each year I continue to be amazed at the pleasure it brings. For one, these lovely waterfalls appear with the rainy season. Some are in a secluded ravine such as the one in the photo, and others are cascading down rock faces of the canyon. The ravines fill with streams flowing into Big Chico Creek. A few golden brown leaves still cling to the deciduous trees but the winter transformation is clearly under way. The trunks and branches of the trees are cloaked in a thick, soft coat of bright green moss. A mycologist’s dream unfolds with the rainy season. The bright oranges, yellows, and reds that dot the woods are no longer the colorful leaves of fall, but rather the colors of the winter fungi. And yes, we do get an occasional snowfall. We enjoy the transformation into a winter calendar photo for a day and then it melts. No snow shovels needed!

Experiencing winter at Chico Canyon Retreat has a bonus. On a stormy day folks still can enjoy all of the excitement while staying warm and dry. The entire front of the lodge has over 130 feet of glass walls for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Watch waterfalls blowing in the wind. Watch the mist dancing above the creek. Come stay in the Canyon Cottage, equipped with a full kitchen and the usual sleeping amenities. Also enjoy the lodge as part of your stay: the lodge hot tub under the winter night sky, some spiced tea by the fireplace, and even a movie night with popcorn in the Jasper Johns alcove. We’ll look forward to seeing you.

Best wishes for the holiday season and for 2013 from Chico Canyon Retreat.

4, Oct

Fall Begins in the Canyon

Author: admin


The acorn woodpeckers remind us that it is fall as they busily hide acorns in trees.  Sometimes they even peck holes in our arbor to store their cache.  Occasionally, a particularly lazy woodpecker can be sighted stealing sunflower seeds from the bird feeders and hiding them in the trees.

Usually, our kick-off to fall is a first hand view of one of the special miracles of nature.  There are a few intrepid salmon that make the return journey from the ocean to Big Chico Creek to spawn.  One of their favorite spawning areas is a gravel bar (redd) just below our old 1935 bridge.  The salmon can take up to 4 years to return to their spawning grounds.  Our salmon have the extra challenge of broken fish ladders downstream so they require late spring rains to make it back up to their summering holes in Big Chico Creek.  Evidently there were too many challenges this year because, alas, no salmon.  Next year…

Colors are beginning to change as we watch the green Indian rhubarb by the creek turn to red.  The redbud leaves sport a coral red.  Maple trees begin the yellow leaf cycle that ends in November with the gold of the black oak leaves.  It is a special time in the canyon.  Come enjoy it at your leisure in our newly renovated cottage.  More on the cottage soon…




22, Jun

“Nurture In Nature”

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Anasuya Basil and Suzanne Lorenz brought a stimulating retreat for women,”Nurture in Nature” to the canyon. A fine group of women experienced a full and varied agenda throughout the weekend.  The Canyon View Room was converted into a large art studio and the group also took advantage of the groomed trails and of various meeting areas around the grounds, including a meeting area across the creek.  Many of the participants got to enjoy massages by our on-site massage therapist, Hanna.  All participants left looking happy and rejuvenated and we were glad that Chico Canyon Retreat could be part of this special weekend.  Please enjoy the photos of the retreat taken by Suzanne Lorenz.


For information on hosting your event at Chico Canyon Retreat please call (530)892-8796 or email












21, Jun

Yoga/Meditation Retreat

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Photo by Michele Miller

















Rex Stromness gathered a wonderful group of folks together at Chico Canyon Retreat for a yoga and meditation workshop over the Memorial Day weekend.  A little inclement weather during the first day did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, not even the campers.  During the free afternoons,  folks were able to enjoy the creek, the newly groomed trails, and simply relaxing around the grounds of the Retreat.  In the evenings, after dinner, music filled the air.  One evening that music included performances by local musicians Higgy Lerner, Rex Stromness, and Eddy Okum.  It seemed that all participants had a rich and full weekend and we here at Chico Canyon Retreat were pleased to be part of it.  See more photos below.


For information on hosting your event at Chico Canyon Retreat please call (530) 892-8796 or email



21, Jun

Canyon Calendar

Author: admin

This is the season when a new generation of  canyon “neighbors” is being born:  the does are dropping their fawns, turkeys and quail have new broods in tow, and the female Merganser is swimming with her ducklings.  June also begins dragonfly season in the canyon.  Check out the bright red Cardinal Meadowhawk dragonfly in the photo.  They join many other species of dragonflies that hang out down by the creek and in our marsh areas.  You will be treated to a fashion show of different sizes and colors if you spend some time by the creek and sometimes the dragonflies even come up from our lower marsh to entertain folks on the deck.

As the summer heat returns, the riparian area along the creek literally blossoms.  Showy milkweed is a feast for the eyes as it begins its blooming season.   Come check out the large patches in the gravel bars by the creek.  And while at the creek, notice the hundreds of stream orchids that are lining the banks.  A pungent aroma draws attention to the spice bushes with their spectacular crimson blossoms.  These are but a few of the flowering plants to be found along the creek as the summer begins.  Even the green foliage is becoming larger and more lush by the day.

While at the creek you’ll get the benefit of nature’s air conditioner.  The creekside air is around 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding upland air.  Add a hand crank ice cream maker and you have the ingredients for a delightful gathering at the creek.

Options for events are limited this summer because the owner will be back east on family and business missions. Chico Canyon Retreat will be closed from July 1 until mid-August.  Then we will be back in operation and looking forward to more events, including a wedding, here in the canyon.

14, Mar

Golden Daffodils

Author: admin


“I wandered lonely as a cloud,

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

 When all at once I saw a crowd,

 A host, of golden daffodils.”

-William Wordsworth


One of our favorite events at Chico Canyon Retreat is the arrival of the daffodils.  Daffodils are an early harbinger of spring – sometimes so early that we enjoy them under a coat of snow.  We plant them in the fall and then forget about them until they begin to push through the moist winter soil.  Then, within days, there are hundreds of smiling daffodils creating pockets of bright yellow all around the Retreat.

Thanks to the toxicity in the bulbs,  the deer actually let us enjoy the entire blooming season.  Ten years ago, when I planted the first 50 daffodils, the deer tested these newcomers.  They carefully picked every flower and left them lying on the ground.  Within two years they had learned not to bother and the daffodils have been untouched ever since.

6, Mar

Trails and Cabins

Author: admin

Our goal here at Chico Canyon Retreat is to make this special property in all its wonderful diversity available to those who want to experience the variety.  With almost 300 acres of pristine and mostly untamed landscape, we are working to make this landscape diversity more easily accessible.  We are in the process of  constructing several trails that will range from easy to more challenging.  They will immerse you in oak woodlands, riparian environments along the creek, a marsh, meadows, and chaparral. Eventually we even may get up to the base of the canyon walls.

We also are beginning to design small cabins that will let you wake up to the sights and sounds that make Chico Canyon Retreat so special.  The design process for these cabins
concentrates on simplicity and environmentally friendly technology with some charm thrown in for good measure.  The owner, Dulcy Schroeder, has worked very hard over the last decade to restore the native ecosystems in the area and we would not want these cabins to disrupt the progress she’s made thus far.  The potential is exciting and we will keep everyone posted as we continue to work toward making your stay at Chico Canyon Retreat a unique and memorable experience.


Imagine a cozy little cabin tucked away near one of these special locations…









 …until then you can still come and stay in one of two indoor rooms that are currently available.  Enjoy the same natural wonders plus some great creature comforts like a complimentary massage and steam.   Click here for more details.


21, Dec

Holiday – Yogi Tea

Author: admin

….Happy Holidays everyone!!  It’s a time to recognize and celebrate the things we are thankful for in our lives.  Let’s toast with this easy-to-make recipe for a delicious and healthy  yogi tea…


Yogi Tea Recipe
Boil water and add the following ingredients until brewed to your satisfaction.

  • a nice chunk of peeled and sliced Ginger (1-inch cube or so, maybe more)
  • a few Cardamom Pods, freshly ground (8 or 9)
  • a couple of Cinnamon Sticks
  • a pinch of whole Cloves (5 or 6)
  • a small bit of freshly ground Black Peppercorn.
  • Pour some tea into a cup and add milk (your favorite kind) and sweetener if desired.
  • Breathe, sip slowly, and enjoy!!

Happy Holidays!