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A bike ride across the Sundial Bridge in Redding, Ca
Two people hiking next to a lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Kayaking and paddleboarding at Shasta Lake
Middle McCloud Falls
Kyle Sheppard
A family at Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark in Redding, CA.

6 Places to Catch a Stunning Sunset in Redding, CA

By Redding CVB | 11/05/2020 | Family Friendly , Fun and Free, Great Outdoors, Rivers, Things to See and Do, Trails

COVID Update: Shasta County and Redding are currently in the Widespread (purple) tier of California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Most businesses are open with modifications and are following state guidelines to the best of their ability. See covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy for specifics.

Greater Redding’s spectacular setting—this Northern California crossroads of the Cascades, the Klamaths, the Coast Ranges, the Central Valley, and the Great Basin—looks mighty good in any light, but it’s hard to beat the painted splendor of sunset. Golden sheen over vast forests and glinting lakes, streaked crimson skies, alpenglow on high snow peaks holding the last of the day’s sun long into the gloaming—this is breathtaking stuff and served up on a daily schedule to boot.

Whether you’re enjoying the show from town, picnicking at a scenic overlook, or out exploring in the evergreen wildlands, front-row seats to first-rate sunsets aren’t hard to come by on a Redding getaway. Here’s a rundown of some of the very best places to be at the magic hour.

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1. Manzanita Lake


Sunset on Lassen Peak overlooking Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park. (@riggy_in_ig on Instagram)

A few centuries ago, rockslides off the Chaos Crags in what’s now Lassen Volcanic National Park blocked Manzanita Creek to form a naturally dammed lake. The resulting Manzanita Lake provides some of the most celebrated sightlines in UpStateCA and makes for a heck of a sunset vantage. That’s especially so given the iconic view of Lassen Peak, the snowfields and pumice shoulders of which downright smolder with alpenglow.

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2. Mount Harkness Lookout Tower

13172463715 aa8b2266e0 oThe lookout tower on Mount Harkness always has stunning views, but at sunset they are nothing short of spectacular. LassenNPS

Savor the sunset and the thrill of visiting one of the few actively staffed fire lookouts left in Northern California with a hike up Mount Harkness, another of the gold-medal vantages in Lassen Volcanic National Park. It’s a bit shy of four miles round-trip to reach the 1930-built stone-and-timber tower at 8,046 feet. The views from the tower, which span the Coast Ranges to the desert peaks of Nevada, and northward up the spine of the Cascades to the Three Sisters of Oregon—are spectacular at the close of the day. Just remember to bring a flashlight or a headlamp, water, and snacks for the trek down since Lassen is a Dark Sky Sanctuary.

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3. Whiskeytown Lake


Sunset over Whiskeytown Lake. (@jills.joyful.life on Instagram)

The centerpiece of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, Whiskeytown Lake turns into a 3,200-acre liquid stage for shimmery magic come sunset. While you can certainly appreciate the vibrant skies from the shoreline, there’s something extra-special about taking them in from the water at this regional boating hotspot. One excellent option is to take one of the recreation area’s ranger-led moonlight kayak tours out of Oak Bottom Marina. The paddle kicks off with a sunset show and then relishes the full seduction of nightfall.

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4. Sundial Bridge


You don’t even need to leave Redding to get one of the best views of the sunset in the area on Sundial Bridge. Dan Shepler.

You don’t need to seek out mountaintops and forest lakeshores for memorable sundown photo ops in the Redding area. The city itself wears its sunset colors beautifully. One awesome destination is the famous Sundial Bridge which stretches over the Sacramento River. You might consider it poetically appropriate, given this cantilever spar cable-stayed pedestrian bridge—designed by that style’s best-known architect, Santiago Calatrava—functions as a gigantic sundial. The warm simmer of sunset looks beautiful on the bridge’s 217-foot-tall tower and the rolling flow below, while the lit-up glass deck adds to the ambiance.

From the pleasant evening bustle of Sundial Bridge to the deep purple quiet up on the Trinity Divide, a Redding home base gives you ample opportunity to fall under the sunset spell in Shasta-Cascade country. Give yourself as many days as possible so you can tour the region’s twilight geography as thoroughly as possible!

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5. The Bluffs


Sunset from The Bluffs in Redding. (@kris bullington on Instagram)

The sight of a glinting Sundial Bridge above the riverside trees is a highlight of this in-town sunset perch. Accessed off Palisades Avenue, the high scarp of “the Bluffs” gives you a westward view over the Sacramento River’s easy bend and its wooded river peninsulas and islands. The icing on the cake: you can see the spire of Sundial Bridge in the distance and a skyline of Klamath peaks such as Shasta Bally and South Fork Mountain beyond. Watch the sun take its plunge into that rugged nest from one of the best vantages in the city—a full dose of blufftop beauty.

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6. Shasta Lake at Bridge Bay


Sunset over Bridge Bay at Shasta Lake. (Photo courtesy of Tony Hord)

Combine a world-class sunset with a crowd-pleasing meal and a toast-ready beverage at the Bridge Bay Marina on the shores of Shasta Lake, just minutes from Redding. At the marina’s CookHouse restaurant, you’ll get to tuck into some California-style cuisine right on the waterfront: just the place to be as the sky reddens and the waters of the Sacramento River reservoir turn molten. A perfect spectacle to raise a glass to.

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