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

Why Redding is the Perfect Spot for Adventurous Couples

By Choose Redding | 01/27/2021

Redding’s the heart of Northern California and one of the Golden State’s premier launchpads for adventure. For outdoors-loving couples, there’s no better place for a getaway—especially given you can combine all that outdoor exploration and thrill-seeking with fantastic accommodations, great craft beer and eats, and warm, lively culture in town.

To help the two of you plan your Redding retreat, here’s a roundup of some—just some, you hear?—side-by-side adventuring possibilities in this neck of the woods.

Surrounded as Redding is by multiple rugged, rain- and snow-hammered ranges—the Klamaths, the Northern Coast Ranges, the south end of the Cascades, and the north end of the Sierra—the area claims an awful lot of fantastic wildwater. There’s no deeper way into the heart of the landscape than riding a rapids- and shoal-strung flow, which also happens to be a great medium for minting some shared lifelong memories.

You’re spoiled for choices when it comes to both rivers and river-running outfitters, with plenty of options for beginner-friendly runs as well as more challenging fare. Take an easy, R&R-ready float down the Sacramento River right out of Redding or seek wilder water on the Upper Sac, the Upper Klamath, or the Trinity River, which boils through Burnt Ranch Gorge with Class V rapids.

At 10,457 feet, Lassen Peak’s ranked among the biggest—indeed, maybe Numero Uno—lava domes in the world; its pedigree sets it apart from most of the other Cascade snowpeak giants (such as nearby Shasta), which are stratovolcanoes. This ragged-crowned mountain is also one of the most recently active of the Cascades: Lassen Volcanic National Park was established in the midst of the great dome’s heavy-duty 1914-1917 eruptive period.

A mighty and majestic landmark—so why not climb it together? Besides bragging rights, the two of you will take in a showstopper view—including an awesome topdown look at the Devastated Area, blitzed by a pyroclastic flow generated in Lassen’s huge May 22, 1915 cataclysm. (The ash cloud from that blowup could be seen from as far away as Eureka on the Northern California coast.) The hike’s a mere five miles round-trip but involves a couple of thousand feet of elevation gain.

Another, easier option showing off a different species of volcano is the Cinder Cone Nature Trail, a four-miler (round-trip) summiting the rubbly, cratered crown of the namesake, geologically youthful butte. From Cinder Cone, the two of you get to feast on quite the overview of Lassen terrain: from Lassen and Prospect peaks to the Fantastic Lava Beds and the Painted Dunes.

Redding’s one of the great hubs for trout-fishing in the country, and the Sacramento River at the city’s doorstep is one reason why. There’s topnotch casting for rainbow trout here year-round, and also the potential to test yourself against the wily steelhead—the legendary sea-run version of the rainbow—during the fall and winter. Conventional tackle is absolutely an option, but there’s something all-around magical about fly fishing, and you’ll find no shortage of excellent guides in the area who can show the two of you the ropes.

And hey, don’t stop there: Let the readily accessible Sac—also prized for its salmon fishery, one of the southernmost on the West Coast—be your springboard for wider-ranging Redding-area angling. You can also set your sights on the Trinity (a fabled steelhead destination), the McCloud, the Pit, and other fertile rivers. Or target stillwater from the Sac’s rainbow-ridden Keswick Reservoir a stone’s throw from city limits to Manzanita Lake, where trout bite against the backdrop of Lassen Peak.

Redding’s just as primed for adventure in winter, and from a couples perspective, the season’s also got the whole über-coziness thing going on. If you’re thirsting for some downhill action, head for Mt. Shasta Board & Ski Park and its 1,435 feet of vertical: The two of you can eat your hearts’ out on the 32 trails slicing down Marmot Ridge, Coyote Butte, and Douglas Butte—all in the shadow of that glorious snow monster Mt. Shasta herself.

The skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Shasta Board & Ski Park (which offers a great Twilight Ski) is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak: You’ve also got essentially endless opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on public lands such as Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Lassen National Forest.

The marvels of Redding’s volcanic hinterland aren’t all of the aboveground variety. Make it a not-your-average date by strolling (or crawling through) a lava tube or two! These evocative tunnels formed when lava flows cooled from the outside in, the molten stuff within eventually draining out of a petrified shell. At Lava Beds National Monument, you’ll find the greatest concentration of lava tubes in the continental U.S. within the flanks of the ginormous Medicine Lake Volcano. Armed with headlamps, flashlights, and bicycle helmets or other protective headgear, you can explore multiple tubes along the Cave Loop Road.

And don’t miss Subway Cave along the Lassen National Forest’s Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway: a 1,300-foot portal into the Hat Creek lava flow that’s explorable via an interpretive trail.

Beyond summiting the varied peaks of the Lassen Volcanic Complex or exploring the dark innards of a lava tunnel, the two of you have a limitless supply of other fantastic hikes with a Redding home base. Less than a hour from the city, for example, you can hoof it along the 28 miles of trails in Castle Crags State Park, reveling in the Trinity Divide vistas—some of the most dramatic in California. Head up to Vista Point to eyeball not only the granite fangs of the Crags themselves but also the remote, high-floating Gray Rocks and giant Mount Shasta.

Or you can go waterfall-hunting: a fruitful activity in this neck of the woods, host as it is to dozens of stunning cataracts and cascades. Make a day of it hiking to Redding’s waterfalls, taking in such world-class plunges as Potem Falls and the series of drops along the McCloud River—including Middle McCloud River Falls, at 120 feet wide, one of the broadest in the state.

Boasting more than 225 miles of trails within 15 miles of town and hosting such high-profile events as the Bigfoot Mountain Bike Challenge (April 1 to June 1) and the Lemurian Classic, Redding’s fast emerging as the mountain-bike capital of California. Strap on those helmets and see for yourself just how fantastic the local riding is, from the trail network of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area to the Swasey Mule Mountain Loop.

Answer the Call for Adventure—Together—in Redding, CA

Hauling in a gleaming Sac rainbow, summiting a famous fire mountain, slicing down a forest ski trail: Take in Redding’s rich outdoor experiences with that extra-special somebody.

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