Brought to you by Visit Redding
The many outdoor attractions surrounding Redding, California can give you plenty to do during a visit to the beautiful Northern California town. You can go for a jaunt over the Sacramento River on the Sundial Bridge or spend a relaxing day on the crystal-clear water of Whiskeytown Lake. You can also set out for a challenging hike and the region surrounding Redding a some of the most iconic in California.
When looking at that map, it’s easy to get lost in that think forest and mountainous terrain in the Shasta Cascade, so we dove deep to show you exactly what you could see if you venture into the wilderness. Here are 7 iconic hikes you can find near Redding:
Sitting in McCloud, California is one of the most spectacular hikes in all of the West Coast, with a 3.5 roundtrip jaunt bringing you to three waterfalls, all of which are unique in their own right. The McCloud Waterfalls Trail sits about 15 minutes off Interstate 5 near Mount Shasta and will take you to Lower, Upper and Middle McCloud Falls.
The waterfalls are big and beautiful, allowing hikers to stop for a swim or even catch one of the world-famous trout of the McCloud River. For our money, this could be the most magnificent hike in all of NorCal.
It’s hard to beat the experience you get when you’re standing at the summit of a significant mountain, especially when it’s an active volcano. The hike to the top of Lassen Peak is not a strenuous as one might think and you will experience amazing views of Lassen Volcanic National Park and NorCal.
The Lassen Peak trail offers hikers the opportunity to climb to the top of one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world. This 5-mile round trip hike gains 2,00 feet elevation and will give you sweeping views of Devastated Area, Lake Helen and Mount Shasta on a clear day. The well-maintained trail typically doesn’t open until late in the summer and will bring you all the way to the top of the 10,457-foot volcano (hope you like switchbacks).
Mount Shasta Summit
This might not be considered so much of a hike as it is a harrowing journey, but the trek to the summit of Mount Shasta is iconic nonetheless.
The mighty Mount Shasta is the most coveted peak in all of Northern California. This grueling adventure up to the 14,000 foot peak made Outside Magazine’s “6 Iconic Hikes” list and has been highlighted by outdoor thought leaders like Colombia’s Directors of Toughness.
The difficulty of summiting this mountain is highly documented. From the lack of oxygen near the top to the dreaded stretch appropriately named Misery Hill, many people who attempt to summit Shasta turn back around before the top. There is also a high amount of injuries reported on this mountain every year. This is not a hike to take lightly.
When summiting peaks in NorCal, most people talk about the big volcanos like Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak. But there’s a peak near Whiskeytown Lake that can give you incredible views of the wilderness just west of Redding that’s easier to summit than Mount Shasta, and a little more difficult than Lassen Peak.
On the westside of Whiskeytown Lake, you’ve probably noticed a rounded peak sometimes covered in snow. That’s Shasta Bally, a 6,200 feet peak that’s a popular destinations for local hikers and mountain bikers. It’s a mild hike compared with real mountaineering and will give you a completely new beautiful view of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
A great place to start is Sheep Camp, part of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area run by the National Park Service. What these fancy titles really mean is that you will have to buy a parking permit at the Visitors Center on the way in. From there drive 4.2 miles into the park and hang a left at the Brandy Creek Camp Road, also marked for Shasta Bally. From there it’s another 2.6 miles to Sheep Camp, which, by the way, is not a terrific place to leave valuables in your car. From Sheep Camp just follow the dirt road up the mountain. It’s really almost impossible to get lost.
From the top you can see for many miles in all directions, and it’s a great spot for lunch and to spend some time. You’ll be able to see Whiskeytown Lake to the east, as well as the stunning mountain ranges to the north and west. It’s a truly “hidden” experience that everyone in NorCal should do at least once.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the best kept secrets in Northern California, as its a hotbed of volcanic activity surrounding its active volcano, Lassen Peak. This is no more evident as Bumpass Hell, an area of plopping mudpots, bubbling pools, and roaring steam vents sitting inside the park.
The descent to hell is easy. The 3-mile roundtrip hike gives you great views of Lassen Peak, Lake Hellen, Brokeoff Mountain, Mt. Diller and the dense valley below the trail at 8,000 feet elevation. It’s one of the more popular hikes in the park due to the dense scenery on such a short trek.
Kendall Vanhook Bumpass, a hunter/cowboy/prospector, discovered the area in 1864 while looking for stray cattle. During his first visit he broke through the thin crust of the earth and burnt his foot on the boiling mudpots below.
When he returned home and others asked him where he’d been, he replied “Boys, I have been in Hell.” Hence the name Bumpass Hell.
The moderate hike will take you to one of the most beautiful and fascinating hydrothermal sites in California. Be sure to stay on the boardwalk. You don’t want a similar fate to Kendall Bumpass.
There are officially four waterfalls in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, but Whiskeytown Falls stands apart as the biggest and most popular to visit in the area.
Also known as Hidden Falls, this 220 foot-tall beauty, for years, remained an all but hidden treasure except for those fortunate enough to find its remote location. Before the establishment of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Center, there was no trail to this waterfall leaving loggers, miners and bushwhackers as the only beneficiaries of this stunning display of Mother Nature. Just recently, in 2004, a park biologist “discovered” the fall, and it quickly developed into one of the park’s top tourist attractions.
The 3.4-mile trail to reach the waterfall is a great combination of natural beauty and history of the region. The James K. Carr Trail presents a moderate to difficult hike, passing over Crystal Creek and along Mill Creek throughout.
A unique feature this waterfall offers is the stairway that runs up the left side of it, which gives visitors an up-close view of the rushing water as it cascades down the fall’s rocky face. The stairs can get wet and slippery, so use caution, and be sure to hold onto the handrail when ascending the fall. Also, considering the trail weaves through old logging roads, on the hike, you get an interesting historical perspective on the economic activities that played a role in shaping Shasta County. Another appealing feature of the hike, running water parallels the trail the entire way making the experience all the more palatable on a sweltering summer day.
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’ relative anonymity, the destination certainly deserves a visit. One of the best ways to experience Castle Crags is by hiking up its quintessential route, Castle Dome Trail.
In total length, the trail stretches about 5.5 miles and increases in elevation a couple thousand feet. Before you take off from the trailhead (directions below), be sure to check out the vista point, which offers great views of Castle Crags, Castle Dome, Grey Rocks and Mt. Shasta. The four landmarks present an intriguing geological comparison.
Once you reach the top of Castle Dome, you’ll be met with some of the most iconic views in Northern California, including Mount Shasta and the Trinity Alps.