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Redding Unrestricted 2015

We’ll admit it: Redding goes a little nutty in the spring, but no one ever seems to mind, so we just keep doing it! There’s so much going on that we’ve taken to calling it Redding Unrestricted and adopting an ‘anything goes’ mentality, so book your hotel room for April 24- May 3rd and buckle up for the best spring getaway you can handle!

Easily the biggest event of Redding Unrestricted is the 27th annual Kool April Nites classic car show. Hundreds (really: hundreds!) of incredible classic autos and trucks roll into Redding for parades, show & shines, competitions, music, food, and general gawking. It’s such a big event, you can basically just pick a parking lot and watch the beautiful collectors’ cars cruise in and out. Everyone parks at the Civic Auditorium on Saturday, April 25th for the big show, where vendors and bands keep you fed and entertained while you try (in vain) to pick your favorite car. Bring the whole family- grandma and grandpa will get a kick out of everything vintage, and there’s plenty for the kids to see and do, too!

If you’re more inclined to song and dance than popped hoods and pinstriping, get your tickets to see Peter Pan at the Cascade Theatre! Its closing weekend coincides with Redding Unrestricted and is a wonderful opportunity to see the historic Cascade Theatre in all its restored glory. The theatre was built in 1935, painstakingly restored in 2004, and is listed on the national and state register of historic places. The painted walls and ceilings are beautiful examples of Art Deco, and the theatre hosts excellent entertainment year-round. Peter Pan will thrill all ages and demonstrate Redding’s talent and stage presence. Second star to the right, and straight on ’til… Market Street!

A few miles outside of town, things get even more unrestricted when the Lemurian Shasta Classic mountain bike race kicks off in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area on April 25. One of the oldest single track races in the country, the LSC is famous for its epic loop, friendly atmosphere, and incredible views. It uses the best of Whiskeytown’s considerable trails to offer huge climbs and long, technical descents. All riders receive a post-race meal and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

If you want to get outside without saddling up on a mountain bike, Redding Unrestricted also includes Whiskeytown Waterfall Week, April 18-29! Whiskeytown has 4 distinct waterfalls within its 300 acres, you can do them all in one day or spread them out over your visit. Pick up your free Waterfall Challenge Passport from the visitor center, then hike to Brandy Creek, Boulder Creek, Crystal Creek, and Whiskeytown Falls, and return the passport to receive a special gift (while supplies last)… or join a guided tour! Locals love Whiskeytown, and it’ll be easier to see why once you take in the tranquil lake, mountain views, trails, and of course: waterfalls!

Nature lovers can also benefit from another Redding Unrestricted offering: the Whole Earth and Watershed Festival, at Redding City Hall on Saturday, April 25. It’s a celebration of the social, economic, and environmental solutions that enhance our region while protecting its natural resources. The City Hall site will once again be filled with over 110 Exhibitors, live music, excellent local food, extended hours at the Farmers Market, loads of incredible hands-on activities for all ages, giveaways, the annual Cart Art Contest, and the return of the Whole Earth Hustle 5K Fun Run! Come get inspired at this free, family-friendly festival that just gets better every year.

Redding Unrestricted winds down its 2015 run with a ….well, run: the Color Vibe 5K, May 2! Consider it a gleeful cruise through clouds of pure happiness, with your best buds by your side! If you’ve never tried a color run before, you’re definitely missing out on an unforgettable dose of crazy fun. Kids 12 and under run free with a paid adult, and the earlier you register, the more you’ll save. Get a group together for a team discount, plan to party before and after, and don your whitest whites, because you’ll want to wear as much color as possible!

And finally, we take it to the streets! From 9-4 on May 3rd, a portion of downtown Redding will be closed to traffic and turned into a temporary ‘trail’ where pedestrians can bring their bikes, skateboards, and their walking shoes, and enjoy the open street concept. It’s called Streets Alive and you can see downtown from a new perspective when you wander the streets! This is an “inside-out parade,” where people can participate in activities and enjoy a walk or ride on a beautiful spring Sunday, a short distance from nearby lodging and the River Trail. Local businesses will produce open-house promotional events showcasing what’s great about downtown. Music, bike repair stations, art, and more…bring your wheels or just plan to walk the streets with us!

So now do you believe us that things get nutty here in the Spring? And all this is just the events, it doesn’t include Redding’s usual offerings of trails, paddling, dining, shopping, and outdoor exploring. Rooms fill up fast for Redding Unrestricted, so book yours now, then call your favorite travel companion and tell them to save the dates: April 24-May 2! We want to see how unrestricted you can get, so find us on Instagram, @VisitRedding, and tag your pics from that week with #ReddingUnrestricted.


Pedaling Between The Raindrops at Lake Shasta

By: Bruce McConnell

Now that we seem to be back to our normal winter weather pattern, instead of the barrage of doom that our skin would soon boil off, getting out on the bike is becoming more of a challenge. I still am waiting for my invite to join Zwift , more on that later, so I have no option other than to ride between the rain drops.

Visiting family in Redding over the weekend, I took advantage of the break and embarked on a family bike ride. When the weather is good, the Redding area is a hidden gem of riding in NorCal. The Redding area prides itself in offering abundant outdoor activities that range between house boating on Lake Shasta, hiking Trinity Alps, fishing and more recently cycling.

Always known for having a terrific mountain bike scene that can be accessed  from the Swasey Recreation Area on Swasey Road or the East Keswick trails off of Quartz Hill Road, the BLM has recently constructed  a network of paved bike paths from downtown Redding to Lake Shasta. The trail network is catalogued by BLM is on this site:

Paved bike paths in California come in one of two varieties; those that follow waterways or those paved over rail lines. The Redding paths have both, but have paved over mountain bike trails over some steep sections that make them unique to the others.

If you want to test both fitness and bike handling skills while experiencing vistas of the Sacramento River and area mountains this will punch your ticket. Nicest part is that these sections are a barrier to the usual path obstacles of wayward dogs, careless joggers with headphones and five abreast walkers. Most of the Redding congestion is concentrated in the Sundial Bridge area.  BTW, if you have not ridden over Sundial, it is worth the hassle.

Our ride started off the Sacramento River going up the Middle Creek trail towards the mining town of Old Shasta. We bypassed the infamous Heart Rate Hill/Single tracking section saddening me since it is my favorite section of bike trail anywhere. Middle Creek has more gentle climbs with several tight bends above what is now a roaring creek.  After crossing through Old Shasta, we made the transition back to the River Rail Trail by turning right on Rock Creek Road. Back on the trail, it was a twenty minute, 7.5 mile sprint, to the base of Lake Shasta along a very muddy looking Keswick Reservoir.

The approach to the Dam was up the western side using the seldom used Coram Road. Coram was shut down to regular traffic after 9-11. During the summer months, my advice is to head up the trail at the crack of dawn to not only beat the heat, but to witness one of the most amazing spectacles on the planet. On the east side of the dam, there is a visitor’s center with park with benches and trees that overlook the Dam.

Around 6:30 am during the early summer, the Peregrine Falcon’s that nest on the face of the dam begin their feeding. I am not a big fan of noisy crow’s, so seeing them getting obliterated out of the sky by Peregrine’s diving over 200 mph at eye level  no less is the most awesome event in nature that I have witnessed. Peregrines are the fastest member of the animal kingdom. Why that I am usually the only one in the park at that time is beyond me. If the carnage bothers you, drift to the other side of the dam and watch the Bald Eagles and Osprey’s pluck fish out of the lake.


From the Visitors center turn right and climb to where the turnout is after a mile. That is the postcard picture that everyone has seen of the dam with Mt Shasta photobombing the Lake. Continuing on you will descend down several miles to the Lake Blvd stop sign. A right turn will take you back to Redding. However, a desirable detour is to go straight through the stop sign a half mile and turn left at Shasta Park Drive. Follow the Digger Bay signs where you hump over a very steep hill down to the boat ramp. It is very similar to going to Yorty Creek in Cloverdale via Hot Springs Road.


Bliss is Redding, California!

Courtesy of Travels with Bliss, Article by Susan Hartzler, Photos by Susan Hartzler.

 In the majestic mountain and lake filled region in the north eastern corner of California lies Redding and Shasta Cascade, one of America’s most spectacular, pristine and DOG FRIENDLY regional destinations. Boasting 300+ days of beautiful weather a year, this area is rich in culture and heritage offering boundless outdoor recreation with magnificent landscapes and breathtaking vistas. From towering volcanoes, alpine ranges and glaciers to endless waterfalls, lush forests, pristine lakes and roaring rivers, this travel destination is one of a kind. Known as the trail capital of California with over 200 miles of hiking, (many dog friendly), Redding is an outdoor adventurers dream. Not only are they known for endless trails, but with an abundance of nearby lakes, rivers and streams, everything from kayaking and paddle boarding to boating and fishing is available here. On top of the trials and the rivers, California’s Shasta Cascade contains seven national forests, eight national and state parks, and several mountain ranges including the Trinity Alps, the northern Sierra Nevada and the California Cascade range. Not to mention two massive glaciated volcanoes: the dormant 14,162 foot Mt. Shasta and the still-active 10,457 foot Lassen Peak. Among the first cities covered by, this breath-taking region is brimming with dog-friendly hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops, tours, historic sites, dog parks, cabins, and vacation rentals.

There are plenty of areas for dogs and their owners to explore where rivers, mountains, wildlife and spectacular scenery collide. There are also dog-friendly events including the annual Ducky Derby, Art in the Park and the Bark, Wine and Brew celebration. On a recent visit, Bliss had a blast! She went paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking and Whiskeytown National Recreation area where beautiful sapphire-blue waters are surrounded by mountain peaks. At the end of the day, Bliss fell right to sleep at TownPlace Suites, a dog friendly hotel that is convenient to Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Redding Civic Auditorium, within close proximity of Sundial Bridge, Whiskeytown Lake. We stopped for lunch at Wilda’s Grill, a dog friendly low-key restaurant and the home of the Buddha Bowl a favorite local dish, featuring gluten-free (highly addictive) concoction of brown rice, red beans, chicken or tofu, avocado, shredded cabbage, jalapenos, cilantro and two sauces (a sesame and soy-based dressing and a spicy garlic chili aouli). YUM! Check out this slide show of Bliss in Redding!




A Beautifully Painful Fall Shasta County Day

This is a repost with permission of Bruce McConnell’s blog on Sonoma County’s Press Democrat. Thanks for riding with us, Bruce!

After riding in Levi’s Gran Fondo, I had not planned on riding another big ride for some time. That changed quickly last week when several family members and friends encouraged me to participate in the Shasta Wheelman Jamboree Century held this past Saturday in Palo Cedro, which is just east of Redding. Lucky for me that I had a few days to convince myself that it would not be as hard the King Ridge Gran Fondo.  I obviously have lost most of my functioning brain cells, because I could not have been more wrong.

First of all, let’s get the Redding myth that it is hotter than pits of Mordor out of the way. Yes, between Memorial Day to Labor Day it is crazy hot, as thermal heating of the interior valleys scorches the landscape while our coastal area is bathed with the cool onshore afternoon breeze. However, the other nine months of the year are even more desirable in my view than our Sonoma County weather. If you flip over to the back of the Empire News section in today’s newspaper, you will see that Redding was cooler yesterday than all of our county’s weather except for the immediate coast.

Redding is more known for mountain bike riding around the three area lakes than road biking. With the development of the Sacramento River trail to Shasta Dam and the establishment of community-wide bike lanes, that perception is changing. Rolling out of Palo Cedro with my riding partner for the day, Tim Jenne, we proceeded through soft rolling grasslands scattered with cows as the early morning sun rays poked over from Mount Lassen to our east.

Shasta Wheelman is a small dedicated club which presented itself in an intimate way to the 200 or so riders as we rolled through the various rest stops. Well supported, the final stop of the day was staffed by the couple who were married by Levi on Portuguese Beach during the 2013 Gran Fondo.

As nice as everything and everyone was, this ride was painfully hard. The suffering was partially offset by the landscape of riding under shaded forest canopies, lush meadows and flowing water through numerous creeks.  I had forgotten what rushing water sounded like. Occasionally the views would open up with sweeping views of Mount Shasta and the Trinity Alps in the distance. Being able to view wide open spaces for 50-75 miles in the distance really broadens the senses.

Finally, in early afternoon, Tim and I found our way to the final climb of the day, Buzzard’s Roost. I don’t make this stuff up and it was aptly named! For some reason, the forest disappeared and we were exposed in the sun on the brutal 13% steeps. I did see buzzard’s there and thankfully I did not become their afternoon meal. The rest of the climbs were just as insanely hard, but nicely tucked into the forest. When we finally emerged out to Oak Run Road for the long descent back to Palo Cedro, my saddle felt that it was made of porcupine quills. I will never forget to take chamois cream again!

After high fives at the finish, 103 miles and 9,000 feet of climbing, it was time for the pool! If you are a complete fool and find enjoyment in suffering on the bike the way I do, here is the link for the ride.

– Bruce McConnell


Read the original post here.

Big Bike Weekend Rolls Into Redding

It’s getting to be a familiar sound to locals: the deep, rumbling purr of hundreds of motorcycles pouring into hotel parking lots across town, as their riders converge on Redding for its annual 3 day celebration of all kinds of big bikes and the culture that goes along with them. Big Bike Weekend, and all its sights and sounds, will be back in Redding October 10-12, 2014.


These leather-clad road warriors have impeccable timing- October in Redding is a gift straight from the gods. Caught somewhere between summer and fall, October offers all the delight of Redding’s famous perma-sunshine, sparkling on the river and flashing through trees as your bike zooms through scenic mountain roads, without the heat of summer. Long evenings offer opportunities to take the bike out through Redding’s beloved backcountry roads, and mild days make it easy to enjoy Big Bike Weekend’s many activities…or ditch the bikers and join some hikers at Whiskeytown Falls. Visitors can also trade the leather jacket for a life jacket and take one of Redding’s SUP tours or raft rides. Those interested in a different two-wheeled ride can try Segway tours across Sundial Bridge, and through it all, the city serves up its usual assortment of wining, dining, and live entertainment.

Besides the usual Redding recreation, Big Bike Weekend offers special activities including contests, vendors, competitions, tours, live music, and dancing. (And camaraderie, of course. BBW has that in spades.) There are 3 days, but all levels of bike interest and ownership are able to fill the schedule: a Remembrance Ride, training courses, a Strongman competition, performances by the Wicked Wahines, Raffle Runs, Show & Shines, Ladies Rides, an appearance by UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock, Bike Show competitions, fundraisers, and The Cal-Neva Competition Series (police motor riders).

If you have even the vaguest notion that you won’t want to miss a town full of big bike fun, book your hotel now. This growing event is already incredibly popular and rooms fill up fast. Plus- you wouldn’t want to miss Redding in October!

Get the full scoop on Big Bike Weekend at the Visit Redding events calendar.