Bald Rock is a prominent fixture along the skyline of certain parts of Lake Oroville. It is located at coordinates N 39.64479 W 121.34545 and is particularly visible from Feather Falls. It's a beautiful vista point on a clear day. But because it's a fairly large area, Bald Rock is a perfect place for the mountain-goat in you! Bald Rock used to be an important place to congregate for the Maidu (Native Americans). To the keen observer, holes used for grinding acorns and other staples can be found, though as time continues its march forward, they become less pronounced due to weathering processes. Another important place for the Maidu are the Sutter Buttes.
What is Bald Rock?
Bald Rock is a granite dome that is unraveling layers of rock. It's a weathering process called exfoliation. To understand that process, just imagine millions of years ago an enormous hunk of granite that has solidified far beneath the surface of the earth. An amazing amount of pressure from the surrounding country rock would be compressing the granite. Fast forward to the present, with the rock body now above the surface due to weathering and plate tectonics, the granite expands without all the weight of rock that was surrounding it. This is exfoliation and it has a rather unique signature. A common analogy is an onion that is falling apart. The granite slowly breaks into sheets of concentric rings, and these sheets, by way of gravity, are removed — and sometimes quite spectacularly (Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is another example of this, except half of it was removed by a glacier).
Getting to Bald Rock
To find Bald Rock, go to Oroville and get onto the Olive Highway, east-bound. It'll then turn into the Oro-Quincy Highway 162. It'll take you over a relatively large bridge and a smaller one some miles after. Continue onward until you hit Bald Rock Road on the right. Be careful though, you'll find it after driving through a curve, so it's easy to zoom by. There will be a small clearing right next to it. Take a right onto that road and continue. There will be a turn-off on the left eventually — there should be a sign indicating Bald Rock. Park there and then explore! As usual, beware of snakes and other critters such as mosquitoes. There are a lot of places to fall, so watch your step.