Woman at Castle Crags State Park
Bikers on the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California
Woman at Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The Park Food Truck Hub in Redding, California
Woman at Castle Crags State Park
Bikers on the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California
Woman at Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The Park Food Truck Hub in Redding, California
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7 Gorgeous Day Hikes Around Redding, California

By Zach O'Brien | 08/17/2022

The sun is shining and it’s the perfect time of year to go on a day hike in Northern California. Since Redding sits as the perfect home base to explore the various trails in the Shasta Cascade region, we’re here to help you make the best of your adventure.

The best way to see the vast areas of wilderness around Redding is to stay in the area and go on day trips. If you’re visiting from out of town, there are plenty of hotels in the area, so be sure to check out our Deals and Lodgings before booking your stay.

Here are 7 day hikes around Redding that are perfect for the outdoor adventurer.

The Castle Dome trailhead is located in the Castle Crags State Park just south of Dunsmuir, even though most of the hike is just outside of the park. Nevertheless, it is a well-loved hike, mainly for the stunning vistas and granite scenery up near the top. After all, Castle Crags is one of the great hidden gems of the region.

The trail is fairly steep (2,135 elevation gain) and 5.5 miles long to the Castle Dome. If you just can’t get enough, you can also continue another mile to take in Vista Point and Indian Springs Spur. Unlike some of the other climbs, this one is almost sure to have other hikers nearby doing the same thing you are. There is security in numbers and knowing the other hikers were also willing to pay for the experience.

Sitting just outside Redding in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, the hike to Whiskeytown Falls follows the James K. Carr Trail for a 3.4-mile loop to see the 220 foot-tall beauty. After a 1.7-mile hike up the hill, you’re greeted with the beautiful waterfall that sat hidden until 2004, and you’re going to want to sit down and enjoy its beauty for a while.

A unique feature this waterfall offers is the stairway that runs up the left side of it, which gives visitors an up-close view of the rushing water as it cascades down the fall’s rocky face. The stairs can get wet and slippery, so use caution, and be sure to hold onto the handrail when ascending the fall. Also, considering the trail weaves through old logging roads, on the hike, you get an interesting historical perspective on the economic activities that played a role in shaping Shasta County. Another appealing feature of the hike, running water parallels the trail the entire way making the experience all the more palatable on a sweltering summer day.

The third-highest mountain in the Shasta Cascade, Brokeoff Mountain gets far less traffic than a lot of the other hikes on this list. The hike isn’t easy -  seven miles round-trip with a 2,600-foot elevation gain - but it will give you unparalleled views without the crowds.

The trail initially goes through some seasonal wetlands before entering the forest where the real uphill work begins. Eventually the switchbacks will take you above timberline before you reach the summit. The view from the top includes some easily-recognized shapes (Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta) and also some lesser-known volcanic remnants of ancient Mt. Tehama. It’s a little more work, but the payoff is astounding.

At over 138 feet high, Boulder Creek Falls was thought to be the tallest waterfall in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. That is, until Whiskeytown Falls was “re-discovered” in fall of 2004.

The three tributaries of Boulder Creek Falls are tucked into a heavily wooded box canyon filled with lush moss and ferns. The surrounding forest was selectively logged in the 1950s, and as you hike to the falls you find yourself on the main hauling road that once carried old growth Douglas firs and ponderosa pines to the sawmill. After the park was established in 1965, limited-logging ventures continued into the early 70s. Once the logging ended, the forest began to recover.

A moderate to difficult 5.5 mile roundtrip hike on the Boulder Creek Falls Trail takes you straight to the falls. Make sure to watch out for poison oak along the way. Starting you off in brushland adjacent to Boulder Creek, the trail then leads you into a forest filled with Douglas firs, Ponderosa Pines, and Oak trees. After traversing two different creeks several times (Boulder Creek and a seasonal creek), the trail drops down a bit before guiding you to up a hill that provides a great vantage point for taking in the falls.

Hiking Lassen Peak is no-doubt the most popular hike on this list, and with good reason. It’s easy enough for almost anyone to do, yet it probably offers the best scenery in NorCal,. Because the hike begins at 8,500 feet, there is only a 2,000-foot ascent to the top, which equates to approximately 5 miles roundtrip.

Getting to the trailhead and parking lot is quicker going through the southwest entrance into Lassen Volcanic National Park. Here you are almost never alone. People climb the mountain day and night, and summer nights when there is a full moon are especially popular. The hike to the summit takes most people 2-3 hours and the reward at the top is substantial. You can witness the evidence of the volcano’s eruption just over 100 years ago, and everyone at the top is filled with elation from summiting a mountain.

Sitting just east of Redding on a remote stretch of water near the Pit River is a 70-foot waterfall that may just be Northern California’s most blissful experience. Potem Falls doesn't get the attention of waterfalls like McCloud Falls, but it’s the perfect testament to the beauty of the NorCal wilderness. While the hike down to the falls is easy, the drive is a little more difficult.

Located near Montgomery Creek, CA off of Hwy 299, Potem Falls is a 70 foot  waterfall on the Pit River arm of Shasta Lake. For good reasons, it has become a popular weekend swim spot in recent years. The easy quarter-mile hike to the Potem Falls watering hole makes it an attractive option for families. If you desire some peace and quiet, take a mid-week trip to the falls when it’s often deserted. Potem Falls also makes for a romantic date spot.

Most NorCal residents have never even heard of Chamise Peak, which might be a great reason to check it out. Chamise is sandwiched in between Keswick Reservoir to the west and Shasta Lake City to the east, so it’s close to Redding and has fantastic views of the Three Shastas - Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake and Mount Shasta.

There are two ways to hike Chamise. You can either go the short way (Flanagan Trail, 5-mile round trip) or the long way (Upper Sacramento Ditch, 13-mile round trip). The more popular Flanagan Trail begins off of Flanagan Road north of Redding, which is just off of Lake Blvd. There is a modest 700-foot elevation gain, making this hike accessible to just about anyone.

The Upper Sacramento Ditch route begins at the Shasta Dam Visitors Center and eventually connects with the Chamise Peak Trail. Be prepared, since there is little to no shade on this hike.

These are some great options, but there are so many more trails in the area! For more ideas to explore on your trip to Redding, check out our Trip Builder!

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