Thanks to its location near the Cascade region, Mount Shasta and Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Redding, California, offers visitors an ideal base camp for outdoor adventures.
About an hour north of town, Mount Shasta is a central point in the region, for good reason. The volcanic mountain features eight glaciers, and its 10,000-foot jagged, snowy peak can be seen from 125 miles away. Dormant since 1786, the volcano’s hot sulfur springs still bubble far above the timberline, in stark contrast to the glaciers' ever-present ice and snow. Theodore Roosevelt once noted that he considered the evening twilight on Mount Shasta to be one of the grandest sights he had ever witnessed.
Intrepid climbers can attempt to summit the mountain, and the most popular route is Avalanche Gulch, which crosses glacial moraines and snowfields. Those who prefer a quicker and less strenuous path can drive to about 8,000 feet and get stunning views of the Eddy Mountains and the Sacramento River Canyon.
Closer to Redding, just west of town, the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area offers a soul-quenching experience for nature lovers. Whiskeytown Lake lies at the center of the park, surrounded by mountain peaks, waterfalls and mountain creeks. Over 70 miles of trails appeal to varying skill levels and promise spring wildflowers, old-growth forests, rugged canyons and plenty of wildlife.
While in Whiskeytown, get a taste of the California Gold Rush by stopping at the park's Tower House Historic District. There is still a small amount of gold to be found in the water, and visitors can get a panning permit and spend the day like prospectors did—in freezing water, with hopes of riches keeping them warm. One of the original prospector homes nearby, the Camden House, looks much like it did when it was built in the mid-1800s. From here, follow a trail down to the remains of the El Dorado Mine, defunct for the past 50 years but still evoking the region's history.
After a day of hiking, mountain biking, skiing or fishing, head back toward Redding’s restaurants via the Sundial Bridge, a steel, glass and granite construction that crosses the Sacramento River. In the heart of Redding, the bridge links two sides of Turtle Bay Exploration Park and serves as an entrance to the city's extensive trail system.
While giving those hiking boots a much-needed break, dive into a thick burger and even thicker shake at Bartel's Giant Burger, or stop at one of the numerous Mexican restaurants in Redding that include Casa Ramos, Burrito Bandito and Guadalajara. Then rest up for the next day's adventures at one of Redding's distinctive lodging options, such as the Victorian-era Tiffany House Bed and Breakfast Inn, or the Redding River House, situated near the Sacramento River.
With its many opportunities to relax and recharge, Redding and its surrounding parks, lakes and mountains offer respite from hectic lifestyles. According to the National Climate Data Center, the area averages 321 days of sunshine per year, giving Redding visitors ample chance to explore its rich natural wonders.