Following a year where many people were stuck inside, the travel bug has gripped California. Many people are looking for places to go with some good food, tasty beverages and beautiful surroundings. Look no further than Redding, California.
Situated about 3 hours north of San Francisco, Redding stands as the gateway to the Northern California wilderness. Surrounded by lakes, rivers and volcanos, it’s the perfect place to get out of the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and have some fun. Here are some fun things you can do in Redding right now.
Go on a Hike
There’s no lack of hiking opportunities in Redding, which boasts over 225 miles of trails inside the city. Once you drive a little bit outside of the city limits, world-renown hikes are right at your fingertips.
The most popular area for hiking is Lassen Volcanic National Park, which sits just an hour east of Redding. In Lassen, you can see fascinating hydrothermal activity at Bumpass Hell, visit a stunning waterfall at Kings Creek Falls, find a wildlife utopia at Manzanita Lake, or hike to the top of a volcano on Lassen Peak. It’s truly one of the most underrated National Parks in America.
Another stunning hike is just north of Redding in the Castle Crags Wilderness, where majestic rocks come reach for the sky unlike anything you’ve seen in your life. The Castle Dome Trail stretches about 5.5 miles roundtrip 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.
Another option to hike around town is the Sacramento River Trail, which stretches 40-miles roundtrip from Redding to Shasta Lake. This paved trail has stunning views of the Sacramento River and Keswick Reservoir, ending at the mighty Shasta Dam. Walking across the bridges can be a beautiful experience, or you can rent a bike and complete the entire trek in one day.
Eat Some Great Grub
Over the past decade, unique restaurants have been popping up all over Redding, competing with the mainstays that have been around for decades. The combination of old restaurants with the new culinary players in town has helped Redding become an extremely underrated town for foodies across NorCal.
The coffee shops of Redding are particularly popular, with places like Theory Collaborative and Heritage Roasting Co. providing some great caffeine and breakfast items in the morning. You can also grab some delicious morning meals at breakfast mainstays like Corbett’s Restaurant and Deja Vu Restaurant.
For a more casual meal, Wilda’s Grill is one of the most unique eateries in town, serving “healthy comfort food” like their famed Budd Bowl. You can also eat a historic meal in Downtown Redding at Damburger, which has been serving its unique burger and fries since 1938. Also downtown, The Park is Redding’s food truck hub which serves a rotating menu of food trucks along with beer on tap, live music, bocce ball, cornhole and firepits.
For a more elegant experience, try Mosaic Restaurant followed by a nigh time stroll across the Sundial Bridge.
Find a Waterfall
Probably the most popular adventure for visitors to Redding, waterfall chasing is a time honored tradition in the area. In fact, there are 19 spectacular waterfalls you can visit nearby, making your waterfall decision somewhat difficult. We recommend seeing as many as you can.
The most popular waterfalls to visit are along NorCal’s world-famous waterfall loop, which was recently featured in National Geographic. On that loop, you can see Burney Falls, dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by Teddy Roosevelt, as well as the three tiers of McCloud Falls, Potem Falls and Hedge Creek Falls. You really can’t go wrong with any of those.
In the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, you can take the easy hikes to Whiskeytown Falls and Crystal Creek Falls. In Lassen Volcanic National Park, Kings Creek Falls and Mill Creek Falls are both spectacular
There are plenty of lakes surrounding Redding that offer a great escape on a summer day, but three set themselves apart as some of the best recreational lakes in California.
The main attraction for most people visiting Redding is Shasta Lake, which includes California’s largest reservoir and America’s 9th largest dam – Shasta Dam. Spending a day lounging on a boat, hitting a couple wakeboard runs and tossing out a line for bass are the perfect way to spend a day in NorCal, and Shasta Lake provides these opportunities in spades.
Another option includes Whiskeytown Lake, which is the centerpiece of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area that includes four waterfalls, hundreds of miles of trails and a beautiful beach. The water of Whiskeytown is crystal-clear, and with less boating traffic than on Shasta, this is a great place to kayak, sail or simply swim.
You can also try your luck at Trinity Lake, which is a lot less crowded than Shasta during the summer months. House boating, speed boating, and waterskiing are popular activities on Trinity, as well as trying to catch one of its many bass, trout and Kokanee salmon on a rod.
Visit a Winery
The wineries in Redding have experienced growing popularity in recent years, with experiences for every taste bud available. You can sip from 32 wines on tap at Vintage Public House in downtown Redding, or sit down at an outdoor tasting at the unparalleled Moseley Family Cellars. The city’s oldest bonded winery, Matson Vineyards, offers tastings of its blends and delicious dessert wines on the weekends.
Sitting just outside of Redding is the popular Burnsini Vineyards, where you can walk their beautiful property and watch them bottle the wine. Dakaro Cellars Estate‘s grapes are grown in the area’s volcanic soil, providing a fun and unique experience. For an outdoor setting, visit One Maple Winery in Lewiston for a serene garden wine tasting.
Explore a Ghost Town
In the mid-1800’s, the town of Shasta sitting just 6 miles west of Redding, California was the largest town in Shasta County. The mining community was a bustling settlement of Forty-Niners looking for their shot at the millions of dollars in Gold Rush riches from the 1850’s to 1880’s. At its peak, 3,500 residents shared a blacksmith shop, general store and courthouse near what is now the beautiful waters of Whiskeytown Lake.
Today, the ruins of the once vibrant Gold Rush town remain in “Old Shasta,” with restorations allowing visitors to take a walk through Northern California history in what was once called the “Queen City” of California’s northern mining district.
The grounds of Shasta today are incorporated in the Shasta State Historic Park, which include a courthouse museum, 19th-century brick ruins, a post office, a church, a cemetery and the historic bakery. Walking through this site will give you a unique glimpse into the past of Northern California, and you can enjoy it during a brief afternoon or immerse yourself in its history for an entire day.
Catch a Fish
There are plenty of spots to catch big fish throughout Northern California. From the streams of the North Coast to the fast-moving rivers of the Sierra Nevada, there’s no shortage of opportunities to land the catch of a lifetime in the northernmost sections of California.
But when it comes to dense fisheries all located in a small area, there’s no better place to catch fish in California than Redding. That’s why it’s no surprise that Field and Stream rated it as one of the Best Fishing Towns in America.
Of course, you can’t go wrong fishing right through the middle of Redding on the Lower Sacramento River, possibly the best fishery on the entire West Coast. You can also catch some fish on famed rivers like the McCloud, Pit, Hat and Trinity. There’s also plenty of fish in the lakes including Shasta, Whiskeytown, Trinity and Manzanita.
See an Active Volcano
Have you ever seen an active volcano? Well Redding has two big ones nearby that are truly magnificent to see.
Over in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lassen Peak is the centerpiece of the region known for its volcanic activity. In fact, Lassen erupted just a little over 100 years ago, changing the landscape and placing California’s youngest rocks throughout the region.
Lassen first showed signs of coming to life on May 30th, 1914 with steam explosions near the summit. These continued for almost a year, more than 180 releases in all, expanding the summit crater by 1,000 feet. On the evening of May 15th, 1915, the first lava was sighted spilling down the flanks of the volcano and filling in the summit crater. A few days later on May 19th another explosion created a new summit crater. There was still 30 feet of snow at the summit, and the hot rocks created a half-mile-wide avalanche that spilled down the side of the volcano and into Hat Creek four miles away.
Up north, there’s an even bigger volcano that’s eruption history is shrouded in mystery (no, we’re not talking about the mountain’s paranormal activity), but it sure is nice to look at. Mount Shasta is about an hour north of Redding (although you can see it throughout town) and leaves locals on edge when it might erupt again. The record of eruptions over the last 10,000 years suggests that, on average, at least one eruption occurs every 800 to 600 years at Mt. Shasta.
A lot of people think Shasta erupted in 1786, but this has been soundly debunked. French explorer Francois Galaup de LaPerouse claimed he saw Mt. Shasta erupt from his ship sailing off Cape Mendocino. He was unaware that Natives often set fire to grasses in the area this time of year, plus he claimed the volcano was on the Mendocino coast, which Mt. Shasta is not. Best research shows that it most likely erupted around 3,000 years ago.
Drink Craft Beer
Recent years have seen a craft beer explosion in Northern California and Redding is no exception. Craft breweries and tap houses have become a great place for the whole family. Many provide games like cornhole, and you’ll find most of them hosting fun events every weekend.
There are four awesome breweries that have taken the charge in Redding. The favorites in town are Woody’s Brewing Co., Final Draft Brewing Co., Cedar Crest Brewing and Fall River Brewing Co. They all provide a unique approach to brewing beer and their tap houses are an awesome place to hang out.
Visit Turtle Bay & the Sundial Bridge
Of all the experiences inside the city limits of Redding, the 30-acre campus of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park adjacent to the Sundial Bridge might be the most spectacular.
The park tells the stories of the region through its rotating museum exhibits, underground aquarium, Native American historical exhibits, outdoor wildlife shows and exhibits, California’s largest North American butterfly house and the popular Paul Bunyan Forest Camp.
The Sundial Bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened to the public in 2004, becoming the central destination for visitors of the city. Standing over the fragile spawning beds for Sacramento River salmon, the bridge was carefully designed to not touch the floor of the river in order to protect the fish. During fishing season, you’re bound to see fly fishermen catching beautiful rainbow trout in the water below.