As people continue to look for safe ways to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find open spaces without the crowds. It’s been said that Redding, California is the “Gateway to the Northern California Wilderness,” and the areas surrounding the town provide vast outdoor experiences of all kinds.
Before we tell you the best places to practice social distancing in the areas surrounding Redding, we first must mention the Redding Pledge, which emphasizes the importance of traveling safely during the Covid crisis:
Physical distancing comes naturally in Redding – with countless miles of public land and a community which cares about those who live there and those who visit, Redding is the perfect place to recreate responsibly. Redding pledges to bring you fresh air, clean water, open spaces and a safe place to vacation when the time is right.
To keep Redding safe and clean for all, we encourage everyone to follow health and safety protocols by washing their hands and wearing a mask when inside or when social distancing guidelines can’t be followed. When you #RecreateReponsibly, please remember to protect our world-class natural attractions by “leaving no trace” and being mindful to potential causes of fire while enjoying the outdoors.
That being said, there’s still so much to do in the areas surrounding Redding. Here are 6 outdoor destinations that are perfect for social distancing:
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
You’d be hard pressed to find a more pristine area in Northern California than the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Whiskeytown Lake is the centerpiece of the park that includes four waterfalls, hundreds of miles of trails and a beautiful beach.
There’s something for everyone at Whiskeytown. You can hike a peak, visit a waterfall, go for a swim, enjoy the lake from a boat, go fishing, lounge on the beach or even do some water skiing. Whiskeytown is a local favorite for Redding residents and is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the area.
Note: Repairs from the Carr Fire are still ongoing in the park. Please check here before planning your visit to Whiskeytown
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Reader’s Digest once dubbed Lassen Volcanic National Park “Yosemite Without the Crowds,” making it the perfect place to #RecreateResponsibly.
Sitting right outside Redding, California is one of the most underrated National Parks in the United States, loaded with pristine wildlife, beautiful hikes, pristine waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes and an active volcano. It’s typically not one of the National Parks you’ll hear when listing America’s most popular parks, and that’s a good thing.
At Lassen Volcanic National Park , you can experience a top-notch outdoor experience without the crowds you see at Yosemite or Yellowstone. And even with it’s lack of tourists, for our money, you won’t find more outdoor beauty in one wilderness area than in Lassen.
Castle Crags Wilderness
Castle Crags 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 State Park’s relative anonymity, the destination certainly deserves a visit. From the hike to Castle Dome to finding waterfalls like Root Creek Falls and Burstarse Falls, there are so many reasons to make a trip to the legendary Crags.
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.
From a boat, the water and shoreline of Shasta Lake seems endless. Giving the ceremonious hand wave to any nearby boaters gives a sense of community – a sense of carefree living that always puts my mind at ease. Lay out in the sun. Jump in the water. Repeat. It can be pure bliss.
Of course, a day on the lake can include a visit to Shasta Dam, Lake Shasta Caverns or even a trip to the Little Backbone Creek natural waterslide. There’s endless reasons why this destination is Redding’s most popular.
Trinity Alps Wilderness
The Trinity Alps Wilderness, located just northwest of Redding, is a gorgeous mountain range providing backpackers with stunning views, pristine high-alpine lakes and unmatched wilderness isolation. It’s the perfect place for an outdoor adventure in the summer months.
For campers and backpackers looking for an introduction to the Trinity Alps Range, Caribou Lakes Trail is the perfect route! Along the trail, hikers run into enormous Caribou Lake (72 acres), Lower Caribou Lake, as well as stunning Snowslide Lake and a series of other smaller pools.
We also recommend taking the difficult hike to Grizzly Falls. Considering its length (14 miles) and altitude change (5,400 feet), Grizzly Creek trail doesn’t exactly fit into the category of “casual hikes”. Following the motto: “nothing worth doing is easy” though, Grizzly Creek Trail’s grueling hike leads to one of the best if not THE best payoffs in Northern California.
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park
Probably NorCal’s best kept secret is the Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park, most likely due to its remote location in northeastern Shasta County and the fact that it can only be reached by boat. But the area with about 13 miles of shoreline has three campsites and nearly 20 miles of accessible trails in the area. If you’re willing to put in the work to get there, it’s worth the trek.
Named after the Achomawi (a band of the Pit River Indians) that inhabited the area for centuries, the park’s 5,930 acres is covered in jagged lava flow rocks and remains one of the nation’s largest systems of underwater springs in the U.S. The park was once a muskrat farm in the 1930’s, and the little critters can still be seen in the area, along with remnants of Native American fishing traps on the water.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine