Whiskeytown: Summer Outdoor Fun at its Best

Whiskeytown offers a variety of free, family friendly ranger-led activities throughout the summer. From kayaking to stargazing, there is something for everyone! Programs begin June 14 and run through Labor Day weekend. Reservations are required for the park kayak programs and can be made up to two weeks in advance by calling (530) 242-3462. The park will begin taking reservations for the season on Monday, June 9. While programs are free, visitors must display a valid day use pass or other park pass on all vehicles in the park. For the most current program information visit our website at www.nps.gov/whis, or call the park visitor center at 530-246-1225.

Kayak Program
Daily tours at 9:30 am and 5:30 pm are offered on Sunday through Saturday except Friday (2 ½ hours)
Hop on a tandem kayak with a friend and explore the quiet coves around Whiskeytown Lake while you learn more about the natural and cultural values of the park. Children must be at least six years old and must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations are up to two weeks in advance, call (530) 242-3462.

Moonlight Kayak Program
July 7-11 at 8:00 pm, August 5-9 at 7:30 pm, and September 3-7 at 7:00 pm (2 ½ hours)
Experience dramatic changes in the landscape as you explore Whiskeytown Lake under the light of the moon. Reservations slots fill up fast for this program, calling (530) 242-3462 in the morning two weeks in advance will give the best opportunity of securing a slot.

Special Access Kayak Program
Friday evenings during July and August (2 hours)
This program has been developed for individuals with special needs so they can enjoy a kayaking adventure. Visitors who have limited mobility, disabilities, developmental issues, or restrictions due to age or illness are encouraged to give kayaking a try. Visitors with special needs are paired with an experienced kayak volunteer. Please call (530) 242-3421 for more information.

Junior Ranger Kayak Program
Mondays and Thursdays at 1:30 pm (1.5 hours)
Join us for a special program that pairs parents and their children in kayaks so they can discover and share the joy of nature with each other as they paddle and play. The Monday program is geared for children three to six years of age and the Thursday program is geared toward children seven to twelve years of age. Please call (530) 242-3462 to make a reservation.

Junior Ranger
Saturdays at 10:00 am (1 hour)
Children along with their parents can learn about preserving and protecting park resources while making new friends during a special one-hour activity that explores the wonders of Whiskeytown. Meet at the Oak Bottom Amphitheater. Ask the ranger about earning your Whiskeytown Junior Ranger badge and patch.

Junior Firefighter
Saturdays at 11:00 am (1 hour)
Join Whiskeytown NPS firefighters to learn how they manage fire to promote forest health and protect lives and property. Children will learn about the important role that fire plays in the ecosystems of our national parks during this hands-on activity. Children who complete the program will earn a Junior Firefighter Badge. Meet at the Oak Bottom Amphitheater.

Walk In Time
Wednesdays and Saturdays at 3:00 pm (2 hours)
Discover how pioneers/prospectors Charles Camden and Levi Tower reshaped the landscape to create a home for their families and an “oasis” for many travelers during and after the California Gold Rush. Visit the historic orchard and find apple trees over 150 years old that still bear fruit! After a tour of the Camden house, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the area, then try your hand at finding gold the old-fashioned way—with a gold pan in the creek! Meet the ranger at the Tower House Historic District parking lot bulletin board.

Evening Astronomy Program
Friday evenings at 9 pm. During August and September, start time is at 8:30 pm (1 hour)
Spend the evening with a Sky Ranger and discover the stories of how ancient cultures used the sky to navigate and mark important seasonal changes. Learn about the challenges we face today as urban light pollution threatens the dark night sky and find out what you can do to help. After a 20 minute presentation, the Shasta Astronomy Club will share their powerful telescopes to assist visitors with their celestial gazing. Meet at the Oak Bottom Amphitheater for the first half of the program and the second half at the Oak Bottom Beach parking lot.
Contact Ranger Matt Switzer for more information about park astronomy programs at (530) 242-3454

Lake Shasta: It’s not what you think

Have you heard? California is in the midst of a drought!! Drying out, shriveling up, and blowing away. Ocean front casinos in Las Vegas before you know it! There are cacti where our lakes were, tumbleweeds rolling down the riverbeds, and the salmon all grew legs and walked away to Oregon. Not even the Sundial Bridge can tell time any more- it’s just. too. thirsty.

We’re joking of course. Yes, there’s a drought, but there’s a difference between low water levels and a hole in the ground! Here are some facts to help you cut through the rumors and plan your best Lake Shasta summer yet:

  • Fishing is at its best in over a decade. But you didn’t need us to tell you that, right? That’s just science. Less water makes it easier to find the fish. Sturgeon fishing is expected to be phenomenal this year. Redding is home to The Fly Shop, a premier fly fishing outfitter, where the staff can walk you through the best options for taking advantage of different waterways.
  • Lake Shasta is huge. It could drop another 10 feet and still have more shoreline than any other man made lake in California, when those other lakes are FULL. It currently has about 260 miles of shoreline.
  • There are hundreds of coves and bays within the shoreline of Lake Shasta. Wooded flats, steep, rocky hillsides, secluded creeks, and thousands of acres of mountainous country surround the lake.
  • Interstate 5 runs right through it, so it’s one of the most accessible lakes around, and Redding has all the amenities you need to stock your boat and outfit your crew.
  • Facilities from the all-natural to the luxurious are available to host varied recreational opportunities. There are marinas, resorts, rental cabins, and RV parks, and they’re going to continue to run all summer and work harder to ensure you enjoy your visit.
  • Lake Shasta is still “The Houseboating Capital of the World.”
  • Lower levels have exposed areas of the lakes previously impossible to get to. Come explore before they’re underwater for another 20+ years!

So the next time someone says, “Redding? But the lake is low!” you can give them the real story. Or just throw them in the back of your boat head out on the water so they can see for themselves. Come on over- the water is fine!

CBS News Touts Redding As A Beautiful Summer Roadtrip Destination

“It’s usually overlooked, but what a beautiful place it is.” You wouldn’t believe how often we hear that!

CBS News Travel Editor (and all-around smart guy) Peter Greenberg told his cohosts on national TV that Redding was a great destination for affordable summer road trip. While that’s a glowing review already, he went on to describe Redding as beautiful, mentioned the wonderful hiking in June and July and said it was “a great place to live.” WE AGREE. There’s so much here that makes Redding a fantastic summer vacation destination- obviously the lakes and river offer countless fun ways to keep cool- but there are caves to explores, water slides to conquer, mountains to hike, waterfalls to discover, and trails, trails, trails. Redding is truly an all-ages getaway, which is great for family vacations. Interstate 5 runs right through Redding, making it very accessible, and ours is the last In-N-Out burger before the Pacific Northwest, so even if you’re headed to Canada you might as well stay a night or two in Redding! Thanks again, Peter Greenberg, for telling it like it is.

Celebrate 10, part 2

Start here if you’re new to Celebrate 10 details. 

If Celebrate 10 has caught your eye, it’s probably because you’ve seen pictures or videos of people hanging from and leaping off the 200+ foot gnomon of Redding’s world-famous Sundial Bridge. These aren’t just people who like to play with ropes: it’s BANDALOOP.  A pioneer in vertical dance performance, BANDALOOP seamlessly weaves dynamic physicality, intricate choreography and the art of climbing to turn the dance floor on its side. Founded by choreographer and artistic director Amelia Rudolph, BANDALOOP’s work has been presented in theaters and museums, on skyscrapers, bridges, billboards and historical sites, in atriums and convention halls, in nature on cliffs, and on screen. BANDALOOP honors nature, community and the human spirit by bringing dance to new audiences, activating public and natural spaces, and re-imagining what dance can be.

When BANDALOOP last came to Redding to rehearse for their Celebrate 10 performances (June 20 & 21), Amelia explained that she was a dancer and then a climber, and on the side of a mountain one day wished she could dance there, even if the only ones to see would be the mountain’s lizards and falcons. The idea for vertical dance was born, and BANDALOOP has been anxious to dance on Sundial Bridge since it was built in 2004.

It really is amazing to watch them climb up the bridge, jump off, and fly around in their rehearsals– and that’s without lighting, costumes and music! The costumes will involve 30 ft of fabric…on ONE dancer alone. Their performances at Celebrate 10 will honor bridge architect Santiago Calatrava’s inspiration for the design- a bird in flight- and will be accompanied by the music of the North State Symphony. Thousands will come watch from the plaza, banks of the river, and even the water itself (there are raft rental companies ready for your call!), and the two evening performances promise to have something for everyone.

Learn more about the dancers of BANDALOOP, based in the Bay Area, and watch videos of their stunning performances. Check out the complete schedule of Celebrate 10 festivities, and of course: book your stay now before all the rooms are taken!


Make Your Memorial Day Count in Redding

Memorial Day is a magical thing: an extra long weekend, a paid holiday, and the best weather you’ve seen in months. We know you take your Memorial Day fun very seriously, and we respect that, so we’ve lined up a few banner ideas for you to maximize what would already be a great weekend in the beautiful outdoors around Redding, CA.

Redding loves its veterans, and offers a Memorial Day Remembrance for those wishing to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The Shasta County Veterans Affiliated Council invites all veterans, family, friends and the public to join in honored remembrance of our veterans at the Veterans Memorial Grove near the Redding Civic Auditorium. A complimentary lunch will be served after the ceremony. This free event will be May 30th. If you’d like to visit the beautiful Northern California Veterans Cemetery, it’s just southwest of Redding: 11800 Gas Point Rd, Igo, CA, 96047.

If you feel like just going with the flow, consider the California 100! It’s a different kind of marathon- one with oak woodlands, leaping trout, and sunlight on rushing water.  This 100-mile one-day paddling race on the Sacramento River begins under the Sundial Bridge in Redding and finishes near Chico on May 25th.  Open to all paddle sport enthusiasts in sea kayaks, marathon canoes, surfskis, stand up paddleboards, outriggers, prone paddleboards and anything else you can paddle, the Cal 100 shows off the best of northern California’s riverfront scenery. The race is presented by Rivers For Change, a 501c3 not-for-profit, founded in the Fall of 2011 to connect individuals, communities, and organizations to rivers through collaborative events and campaigns like the Cal 100 and Community Conservation Paddles, among others. RFC marries adventure and conservation within a Source to Sea holistic view of river systems. They host river clean ups at several rivers throughout the year to promote appreciation and conservation of our beautiful waterways. Many California 100 racers will make the Redding-to-Chico trek in canoes, but there will also be sea kayaks and outriggers and even some (crazy?) racers stand-up-paddling the entire 100 miles. Interested, but not ready to make the 100 mile commitment? It’s a great weekend for having your own paddling adventure on Redding’s many waterways, and connecting with the hundred+ other paddle enthusiasts who will be in town for the race. Redding’s lakes and river outlets are excellent SUP areas and we even host regular SUP yoga sessions! The official California 100 page has all the pertinent race info, or learn more about Redding paddling.

Maybe you like your water vessels a little bigger and a little more windborne. Good thing the Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta will be racing on Memorial Day weekend! President Kennedy dedicated the Whiskeytown Dam in 1963, and a year later the Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta set sail. Now, hundreds of boats later, new, returning, and even third generation sailors will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that first race. The Whiskeytown Regatta offers all the excitement of a classic sailing race with the beautiful backdrop of Whiskeytown Lake’s crystal clear waters and surrounding mountains. Between races, enjoy Redding’s favorite hiking trails around the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Whether you want to raise a sail or just enjoy the view, you can learn more about the race at our Events page.

We didn’t forget about the flatlanders and aquaphobics! It wouldn’t be Memorial Day Weekend without the quintessential American pastime, would it? We mean BBQ, of course. When it comes to Redding grilling, the secret’s in the sauce, so Viva Downtown Redding presents it’s annual Pros and Joes BBQ Grilldown. Come taste for yourself whether the best BBQ in northern California comes from the grills of the pros or the renegade upstart average Joes. This open air event in downtown Redding is a great kickoff for summer BBQ season, includes a judged blind tasting and people’s choice award, and live music by The Billies while you sample. Pros and joes wishing to enter the contest need to register by May 10, the grilldown is Saturday, May 24th. 

No matter what events are happening, Redding is a great place to spend your Memorial Day. Our trout fishing is second to none, we have 225 miles of walking, running, and biking trails within 15 miles of town, and May is a beautiful time of year for wildflowers, bird watching, photography, and general vitamin D intake.