As a beginning biker (at 51) and needing exercise to complete my efforts to drop my weight following gastric bypass surgery, this trail is awesome.
Initially, I bought my bike with the intention to ride in Chico. It's flat there with lots of trails to choose from. I never really considered riding in my own town and just about any street has some kind of serious incline to it.
I knew about the rail trail, but never thought I'd be riding it this year. It's very steep at any point, some much more so than others, plus I needed to get to it - and those roads were fairly steep, too. I did take the bike down the hill a couple of times, but I didn't enjoy the whole extra hour to load up, get ready, drive down (plus the $4 in gas each way) then reverse it all to ride and do it again on the way back. So I just hopped on and tried the trail.
I began with riding from Maxwell up to Bille Rd. A gain of 200' in about 1.2miles. Very tough. Each day it got a little easier. Finally, I was able to go to Wagstaff Rd - a gain of around 300' in 1.9miles. After three weeks of every other day riding, I finally made it to the top of the trail, an 8 mile round trip with a total elevation gain of 475'. Not bad for an old fat man.
My next goal is ride down to Pearson, to the beginning of the trail and ride to the top. Should be a total ride of around 10 miles, with something like a 550' elevation gain.
Nicely maintained trail with benches for dying, er, resting on at every major intersection. Yes, as someone else mentioned, there's not much of a view, but there is a lot of shade trees for the 100+ degree summer days and lots of fall color in the waning months of the year.
Well worth the time.