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A bike ride across the Sundial Bridge in Redding, Ca

10 Awesome National & State Park Day Trips Worth Taking from Redding

By Redding CVB | 03/26/2019 | Biking, Boating, Fishing, Great Outdoors, Lakes, Paddling, State & National Parks, Trails, Waterfalls

Wild, uncrowded, and memorable—these are the defining features of the far Northern California outdoors. The expanse of public lands around the town of Redding features an endless lineup of outdoor adventures, from fly fishing to summit bagging to scenic driving. It serves as an excellent base camp for exploring it all, with much to do within an hour’s drive from downtown. Here are 10 of best state parks, national parks, and national forests to visit on a day trip from Redding.

1. Lassen Volcanic National Park

View from the top of Bumpass Hell in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

The active volcano of Lassen Peak, which shook the region with eruptions of lava and ash for years during the 1910s, forms the centerpiece of this 106,00-acre national park. Located 45 miles east of Redding, Lassen Volcanic is a land of bubbling sulphuric mud pools, quiet lakes, eruption-wrecked forests, and multicolored cinder cones. Experienced hikers will set their sights on summiting Lassen Peak, while dozens of other hikes and ranger-led programs can introduce visitors to the park’s unique places.

2. Lava Beds National Monument

Carve out time to drive roughly 150 miles northeast of Redding near the California-Oregon border to explore the otherworldly lava-tube caves and barren cinder cones of this volcanic park. Unparalleled caving opportunities and 13 hiking trails allow visitors to fully experience this bizarre environment. On your return to Redding, take the scenic—albeit slightly slower—route through the heart of Shasta-Trinity National Forest along Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.

3. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Kayaking in Whiskeytown before the Carr Fire.

Despite damage from the Carr Fire, vigorous cleanup efforts have since allowed portions of the park to reopen for visitors. The park centers around the clear-blue waters of Whiskeytown Lake, which is expected to be open for swimming, kayaking and other water activities by late spring 2019 (as of this writing). With continued restoration work underway, more and more of the park’s 70 miles of hiking, equestrian, and mountain biking trails in the tranquil mountains surrounding the lake will be reopened. Save time to visit Shasta State Historic Park on the way back to Redding.

4. Shasta-Trinity National Forest

The expansive Shasta-Trinity National Forest is filled with natural beauty to explore. Pacific Southwest Region 5/Brittany Burnett

Stunning mountains and dozens of lakes fill the 2.1 million acres of Shasta-Trinity, California’s largest national forest. Several areas within the forest hold the nation’s highest regard for natural beauty and environmental protection as designated wilderness: Trinity Alps Wilderness, Castle Crags Wilderness, Mount Shasta Wilderness, Chanchelulla Wilderness, and Wild & Scenic portions of the Trinity River are all accessible within 80 miles of Redding. Recommended day trips from Redding include hiking and boating at Trinity Lake or casting a line at the world-class fisheries on the Trinity and McCloud Rivers.

5. Lassen National Forest

Lassen National Forest.

Surrounding Lassen Volcanic National Park east of Redding, this 1-million-acre national forest encompasses volcanic peaks and pristine lakes and streams. Some of the forest’s best attractions near Redding include hiking through the Subway Cave lava tube, exploring the volcano- and glacier-formed landscapes of Thousand Lake Wilderness, and boating on Lake Almanor.

6. Castle Crags State Park

Hiking in Castle Crags with views of Castle Dome.

A dramatic setting of granite spires and domes reminiscent of Yosemite makes Castle Crags State Park a real hidden gem of far Northern California. Situated 50 miles north of Redding, the park features hiking, fishing, and rock climbing opportunities. Hikes along the Sacramento River venture deep into evergreen forests, while tackling the trails up to the crags offers uninterrupted views of Mt. Shasta and the surrounding peaks. As you head back down I-5, check out the scenic vistas along Shasta Lake shortly before Redding.

7. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

The majestic Burney Falls is a must-see destination in the region. Steven Bratman

Home to one of California’s most recognizable waterfalls, this park lies 65 miles northeast of Redding. To take in the impressive beauty of the 129-foot Burney Falls, choose from one of the park’s several vista point trails. Aside from the namesake falls, the park features hiking in the dense forest along Burney Creek and the tranquil waters of Lake Britton. On the way back to Redding, make a quick detour to the town of Cassel for Packway Sculptures, the delightfully offbeat roadside attraction of giant art made from upcycled materials.

8. Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

A few miles northeast from McArthur-Burney Falls (80 miles from Redding), Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park enthralls visitors with its jagged volcanic setting. Getting to Ahjumawi, though, requires taking a boat across Big Lake from the public boat launch. Once in the park, adventurers can hike 20 miles of trails through the black basalt landscape, which was created from recent lava flows. Combining a trip to Ahjumawi with a stop at Burney Falls on the way back to Redding is highly recommended to make the most of a day trip.

9. Shasta State Historic Park

Just six miles west of downtown Redding on the way to Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta State Historic Park preserves the legacy of the fervent California gold rush activity in Shasta County. Abandoned brick buildings, wooden storefronts, a blacksmith, and barns sit alongside the 1860s restored County Courthouse, which now houses historic exhibits and a diverse collection of Californian art. As you head back to downtown Redding, relax with a drink and some live music at the Vintage Public House.

10. Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park

Weaverville Joss House. Photo by Jeri Rangel

Fifty miles west of Redding in the quaint town of Weaverville, you’ll find the oldest continuously used Chinese temple in California. The brilliantly preserved Taoist temple—located in the Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park—attests to the influence of Chinese immigrants on early California history, particularly in the mining and railroad industries. It also showcases authentic Chinese art and artifacts from this era. Enjoy the Joss House’s symbolic architecture, then check out Weaverville’s Main Street Gallery and antique shop before returning to Redding.

Written by Jenna Herzog for Matcha in partnership with Redding CVB.

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