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

9 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Redding This Spring

By Choose Redding | 03/19/2020

Redding is perfectly situated in the middle of a nature-enthusiast mecca. The largest city in the Shasta Cascade region – known as UpState CA – surrounded by mountains, natural wonders with majestic waterfalls, scenic lakes and rivers, volcanic activity and caves, and an endless amount of trails for all ages and skill levels. Since 48 percent of Shasta Cascade is national forest, the opportunity to explore the outdoors and wide open spaces is just as vast as the landscape that blankets the area.

Here are some ways your can find your peace of mind, reconnect with nature and get some exercise at the same time during spring.

There is not a better place for a stroll than in the heart of Redding at the world-famous Sundial Bridge. The glass-decked pedestrian bridge designed by renown architect Santiago Calatrava offers views of the Sacramento River, Shasta Bally Mountain to the west and the chance for you to bask in that warm spring sun. With the bridge spanning 710 feet across the river, it gives you plenty of room to stretch out and the connection to the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail gives you more options to explore the riverbanks of the largest river in California.

With more than 225 miles of trails within a 15-mile radius of downtown, Redding offers a trail for everyone. The Flanagan Trail to Chamise Peak gives you sweeping views of the area and the panoramic sights that include the Three Shasta’s – Shasta Lake, Shasta Dam and Mt. Shasta – will leave you in awe. The trail is 4.3-mile out-and-back trail features beautiful wild flowers, good for all skill levels, and dogs are welcome on the trail. We have plenty more trails in Redding and Shasta Cascade if you need more ideas.

If you wanted to see one waterfall per week, the Shasta Cascade region has enough waterfalls to keep you busy for almost an entire year. Stretch your legs and branch out to the near 50 waterfalls within a 90-minute drive of Redding. Among the more popular ones include the three McCloud River Falls, Hedge Creek Falls, and Potem Falls. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area has two you can hike to: Whiskeytown Falls and Crystal Creek Falls. If you want to go further out, check out Faery Falls in Mount Shasta and Root Creek Falls in Castle Crags State Park.

Lassen Volcanic National Park could keep you busy for a week and you still wouldn’t see everything you wanted to. The National Park Service is waiving all entrance fees for the park during the Coronavirus outbreak, though, the visitor center and ranger programs will not be available. Lassen is the only place on the planet where all four types of volcanoes (composite, shield, cinder cone and lava dome) are found in one concentrated area and features an active volcano in 10,000-foot Lassen Peak, last erupted in 1910s. The 106,000-acre park features bubbling mud pots, serene alpine lakes and is a hiker’s paradise with dozens of hikes with varying landscapes around. This is your chance to get deep into the backcountry wilderness and relax in nature.

NOTE: In spring, Lassen undergoes a winter-to-spring transition with park crews clearing snow on the highway through the park. Vehicle and snow-free hiking trail access increases gradually, first at lower elevations (Manzanita Lake) to higher elevations (Lassen Peak). Check conditions or webcams before you go and check on the latest road clearing process.

Less than a 15-minute drive west of Redding is Whiskeytown National Recreation Area with the lake as the focal point. Its 36 miles of shoreline and placid surface gives ideal conditions to get out on the water for a kayaking expedition. Views of the 6,199-foot Shasta Bally to the west accompanies your day and fishing is permitted from a boat or shore. Let the tranquil mountain setting clear the mind and offer the much-needed break you’re longing for. Hiking trails fill the park as well, including two feature hikes to waterfalls with Whiskeytown Falls and Crystal Creek Falls.

Fishing serves as an escape from the daily grind and there’s not a better place in the Western United States to do it. Considering Forbes named Redding a “Top 10 Trout Fishing Town in North America,” there’s a good variety of wide-open spaces and bodies of water to choose from. One of the best spots for fly fishing is underneath the world-famous Sundial Bridge, a popular salmon spawning habitat. The Lower Sacramento offers a range of species from rainbow trout to striped bass to one of the southernmost salmon runs in the U.S. The nearby Trinity River is a popular steelhead river and offers scenic views to catch trout. Shasta Lake is full of bass and the McCloud River offers unbeatable views a little farther north of Redding.

The 225+ miles of trails in and around Redding can be explored on two wheels as well as on foot. The backcountry single-track trails has put Redding on the map for the mountain biking enthusiasts, so much so the Bigfoot Mountain Bike Challenge was created. The event, which runs across April and May promotes people to “Get Out And Ride,” was formerly the Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge and renamed. It provides beginner, intermediate and advanced rides in Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.

The wide open spaces and back roads allows for great road cycling as well with rewarding views and vistas. The paved Sacramento River National Recreation Trail is perfect for riders of all ages and it stretches from 17.4 miles from Shasta Dam to the Sundial Bridge.

Six miles west of Redding is Old Shasta, a city once bustling with California gold rush activity. Brick buildings, roads, cottages and cemeteries are all silent but eloquent vestiges of the fervent life that was centered here in the 1860s and known as the “Queen City” of the state’s northern mining district. Walk the historic trails and roads that give hints of past occupants in this “ghost town” and the Cemetery Trail will lead you to the Catholic Cemetery, where many of Shasta’s prominent citizens are buried, and the Pioneer Barn area is adorned with farming and mining implements of the 1800s. 

The centerpiece of this California state park is the 6,000-foot glacier-polished crags but the park offers plenty of outdoor activities. Fish in the Sacramento River, hike any of the 28 miles of backcountry trails, including the 6.5-mile Castle Dome Trail that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Mt. Shasta and the surrounding valley filled with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. If you aren’t up for the strenuous hike to the dome, there is an accessible paved 0.25-mile trail to Vista Point where you can still get an excellent view of the park features.

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