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

7 Iconic Hikes to Put on Your Bucket List Near Redding, California

By Zach O'Brien | 06/23/2022

The many outdoor attractions surrounding Redding, California can give you plenty to do during a visit to the beautiful Northern California town. You can go for a jaunt over the Sacramento River on the Sundial Bridge or spend a relaxing day on the crystal-clear water of Whiskeytown Lake. You can also set out for a challenging hike, and the region surrounding Redding is some of the most iconic in California.

When looking at that map, it’s easy to get lost in that thick forest and mountainous terrain in the Shasta Cascade, so we dove deep to show you exactly what you could see if you venture into the wilderness. Here are 7 iconic hikes you can find near Redding:

Sitting in McCloud, California is one of the most spectacular hikes in all of the West Coast, with a 3.5 round trip jaunt bringing you to three waterfalls, all of which are unique in their own right. The McCloud Waterfalls Trail sits about 15 minutes off Interstate 5 near Mount Shasta and will take you to Lower, Upper and Middle McCloud Falls.

The waterfalls are big and beautiful, allowing hikers to stop for a swim or even catch one of the world-famous trout of the McCloud River. For our money, this could be the most magnificent hike in all of NorCal.

It’s hard to beat the experience you get when you’re standing at the summit of a significant mountain, especially when it’s an active volcano. The hike to the top of Lassen Peak is not as strenuous as one might think and you’ll experience amazing views of Lassen Volcanic National Park and NorCal.

The Lassen Peak trail offers hikers the opportunity to climb to the top of one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world. This 5-mile round trip hike gains 2,00 feet elevation and will give you sweeping views of Devastated Area, Lake Helen and Mount Shasta on a clear day. The well-maintained trail typically doesn’t open until late in the summer and will bring you all the way to the top of the 10,457-foot volcano (hope you like switchbacks).

This might not be considered so much of a hike as it is a harrowing journey, but the trek to the summit of Mount Shasta is iconic nonetheless.

The mighty Mount Shasta is the most coveted peak in all of Northern California. This grueling adventure up to the 14,000 foot peak made Outside Magazine “6 Iconic Hikes” list and has been highlighted by outdoor thought leaders like Colombia’s Directors of Toughness.

The difficulty of summiting this mountain is highly documented. From the lack of oxygen near the top to the dreaded stretch appropriately named Misery Hill, many people who attempt to summit Shasta turn back around before the top. There is also a high amount of injuries reported on this mountain every year. This is not a hike to take lightly.

There are officially four waterfalls in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, but Whiskeytown Falls stands apart as the biggest and most popular to visit in the area.

Also known as Hidden Falls, this 220 foot-tall beauty, for years, remained an all but hidden treasure except for those fortunate enough to find its remote location. Before the establishment of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Center, there was no trail to this waterfall leaving loggers, miners and bushwhackers as the only beneficiaries of this stunning display of Mother Nature. Just recently, in 2004, a park biologist “discovered” the waterfall, and it quickly developed into one of the park’s top tourist attractions.

The 3.4-mile trail to reach the waterfall is a great combination of natural beauty and history of the region. The James K. Carr Trail presents a moderate to difficult hike, passing over Crystal Creek and along Mill Creek throughout.

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.

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the best kept secrets in Northern California, as it's a hotbed of volcanic activity surrounding its active volcano, Lassen Peak. This is no place more evident than Bumpass Hell, an area of plopping mudpots, bubbling pools, and roaring steam vents sitting inside the park.

The descent to hell is easy. The 3-mile round trip hike gives you great views of Lassen Peak, Lake Hellen, Brokeoff Mountain, Mt. Diller and the dense valley below the trail at 8,000 feet elevation. It’s one of the more popular hikes in the park due to the dense scenery on such a short trek.

Kendall Vanhook Bumpass, a hunter/cowboy/prospector, discovered the area in 1864 while looking for stray cattle. During his first visit he broke through the thin crust of the earth and burnt his foot on the boiling mudpots below.

When he returned home and others asked him where he’d been, he replied “boys, I have been in Hell.” Hence the name Bumpass Hell.

The moderate hike will take you to one of the most beautiful and fascinating hydrothermal sites in California. Be sure to stay on the boardwalk. You don’t want a similar fate to Kendall Bumpass.

Castle Crags State Park seems to hide in plain sight. Though clearly visible from I-5, the magnificent geological oddity receives less mention than other North State attractions. Maybe people prefer volcanoes to granite spires. Whatever the reason for Castle Crags’ relative anonymity, the destination certainly deserves a visit. One of the best ways to experience Castle Crags is by hiking up its quintessential route, Castle Dome Trail.

In total length, the trail stretches about 5.5 miles and increases in elevation a couple thousand feet. Before you take off from the trailhead, be sure to check out the vista point, which offers great views of Castle Crags, Castle Dome, Grey Rocks and Mt. Shasta. The four landmarks present an intriguing geological comparison.

Once you reach the top of Castle Dome, you’ll be met with some of the most iconic views in Northern California, including Mount Shasta and the Trinity Alps.

Just an hour drive from Redding sits a tiny alpine lake that packs some big views. Heart Lake might just provide the best view in the Shasta Cascade, and its easy hike makes it one of the more popular day trips in the area.

If you hike just over the hill from Castle Lake, you’ll find the smaller Heart Lake, with views that pack a major punch. The 2.4-mile roundtrip hike takes you up the mountain to get views of Black Butte, Mt. Shasta and the south side of Castle Crags. It’s a popular place for photographers and hikers in the summer, and if you’re willing to trek through the snow, you’ll find unparalleled views in the winter.

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