Chester is a small city built in evergreen forests on the shore of Almanor Lake. The lake extends south and east from Chester for many miles, being a reservoir that feeds into the North Fork of the Feather River. Located at 4,528 feet in the volcanic Cascade Mountains, it enjoys a cool climate with snowy winters. Forested mountain peaks can be seen on the horizon, with Lassen Peak rising the most prominently.
The lumber industry has traditionally been at the core of Chester's economy and Collins Pine is still the largest employer, having operated since the 1940s. The alpine surroundings and beautiful lake also bring in many tourists.
California Highway 36 passes through Chester, crossing the northern tip of the lake, to the east, heading southwest through the town, and then turning westward again. The population was 2,316 at the 2000 census, and the zip code is 96020.