Redding, the center of the Shasta Cascade Region is the largest city north of California’s capital city of Sacramento, and just a short three-hour drive north of San Francisco. The Shasta Cascade Region covers eight counties that comprise 25 percent of California’s landmass and 2 percent of California’s population. Look at this area as being the size of Austria, but with 7 percent of Austria’s population – meaning this is an unspoiled canvas for outdoor recreation. Think crystal-clear lakes and rivers with breathtaking views and mountains bursting with trails; all of it is waiting for you to explore. The area also has five nationally designated parks, landmarks or monuments, and nine state parks, all without the congestion of other California locations.
Some must-see icons are:
Mt. Shasta, an imposing sight at 4,322 meters, is one hour north of Redding and is the place for families to snow ski in the winter and hike in the summer. Mt. Shasta is a great location for soon-to-be serious mountain climbers to begin the sport of mountain climbing.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is located one hour east of Redding. If you’d like to drive through, most years, the park is open between July and September. You can visit the museums and enjoy ranger-led hikes year round.
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is a sight to see, with falls that never dry out, even in August. Spend a fun afternoon hiking around the falls and picnicking at the Lake Britton, which is formed by the streams stemming from the falls.
Lava Beds National Monument is about three hours northeast of Redding in both Siskiyou and Modoc counties. The volcanic caves of the area can be explored by anyone. Bring your tennis shoes, flash light and a light sweatshirt; the caves are cool compared to the outside air.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is home to Whiskeytown Lake, where you can take free ranger-led kayak trips, hike to various waterfalls, or explore single track bike trails. Interested in riding horseback or just want to see horses? Spend some time along the equestrian trails at Whiskeytown.
Whether you’re traveling with family and friends or alone, you will want to spend some time in Redding to explore Lake Shasta Caverns, Shasta Dam, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and the Historic Cascade Theatre. From June through August, Redding offers free movies in its various local parks; bring a chair or blanket and watch movies with the locals.
Another favorite pastime is to walk the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail starting at the Sundial Bridge. By night, stroll along the beautifully illuminated cantilever cable-stayed, glass-bottom pedestrian bridge designed by “starchitect” Santiago Calatrava. By day, watch the shadow of the pylon tell time as it moves over the markers; this bridge is the tallest working sundial in the world.