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Visit Redding, California
Visit Redding, California
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.

Going Underground in Redding: An Insider's Guide

By Redding CVB | 02/19/2020 | Caves, Family Friendly , Great Outdoors, Lakes, State & National Parks, Things to See and Do, Top-Sights, Tours, Trails

Sitting at the southern edge of the Cascade Range, Redding, California, has long been a literal hotbed for volcanic activity. Mt. Shasta lords over the horizon, Lassen Volcanic National Park sits an hour’s drive east, and millions of years of lava flows and eruptions have left their mark all over the region. All that volcanic activity has created a large number of caves—many of which are open for underground exploration, offering another glimpse of the region’s explosive past. Here’s a look at where to go underground around Redding—whether you’re a first-time caver or a seasoned veteran—along with what to know before hitting the road.

Know Before You Go

The Lake Shasta Caverns tour has multiple cathedral rooms

All the following outings are accessible even to novice adventurers—but you’ll want to keep a few things in mind before heading underground. Here’s a quick rundown:

Cave climate: Temperatures don’t fluctuate much in caves, with averages generally between 45 degrees and 55 degrees all year long; bring a jacket, long-sleeve shirt, hat, and closed-toed shoes or boots to keep warm.

Lighting: Don’t bring lanterns, which can burn out and be tough to reignite; instead, bring a flashlight or headlamp—and pack along a back-up with fresh batteries, just in case.

Hands off: Take care not to touch rock formations, artifacts, or Native American artwork (especially in Lava Beds National Monument). Doing so can rub away the markings and degrade the quality of artifacts.

Leave no trace: Don’t eat, drink, dispose of trash, or use the bathroom while exploring caves.

Sound like fun? Here are three of your best bets for caving in the region:

Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark

One of the classic Shasta Lake experiences—regardless of season—is touring the Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark, a network of limestone caves that shows off millions of years of natural history. Each guided tour covers 32 varieties of cave formation, offers up-close views of rock formations, and discusses the cavern’s 250-million-year history; highlights include trips through the Crystal Room and sweeping Cathedral Room. And best of all: The tours don’t require any climbing or crawling.

There’s plenty to love above ground, too: Tours include a catamaran cruise across Shasta Lake, a bus ride to the cave entrance, and an informative overview of the caves. (Keep in mind that the full cave tour includes more than 600 stairs; visitors may opt to exit the caves at the halfway point and watch a narrated video in the visitor center.)

Lava Beds National Monument

Cave at Lava Beds National Monument.
Lava Beds National Monument is home to more than 700 caves. @Californiathroughmylens (Instagram)

Sitting just about 15 miles from the Oregon border, the Lava Beds National Monument is awash in history. The 47,000-acre preserve is home to more than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields, campsites, and high desert wilderness. It’s possible to head into some of those 700 caves—most of which were created by lava flows between 10,500 and 65,000 years ago. In all, roughly two dozen caves are open to exploration, some with easily accessible walk-ins and others with passages only 12 inches high.

Given the sheer volume of underground attractions, it’s tough to narrow down a list of favorites. Some of the monument’s most popular ones include the 770-foot Mushpot Cave—lined by a paved, well-lit path with interpretive panels showcasing the cave’s history—and the 1,635-foot Valentine Cave, home to high ceilings, wide trails, pillars, lava pools, and other fascinating natural features.

Other attractions throughout the monument include hiking trails, Native American pictograph viewing, and historical information on the Modoc War of 1872-1873 (which was fought in the area between the Native American Modoc people and the U.S. Army).

Subway Cave

The 1,300-foot-long Subway Cave is easily accessible to visitors.

Just over an hour east of Redding, in Lassen National Forest, sits one of the region’s largest, most accessible lava flows: Subway Cave—part of a perfect day-trip loop that includes Burney Falls and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Following a short walk from the parking lot, visitors arrive at a set of concrete stairs at the cave’s entrance, along with signs that explain the origins of the cave. Once inside, the 1,300-foot-long cave is completely dark with a dirt floor—but no crawling or hard hats are required.

Written by Matt Wastradowski for Matcha in partnership with Redding CVB.

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Showing results 1 to 25 of 114

Local shop located behind The Makery - Is an intentionally stocked with home goods to curate a lifestyle of gathering and community. We also have a Dry Floral Bar! Everlasting florals will bring unique beauty to your home. More Information
1943 Pine St.,
Redding, CA
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park
Ahjumawi Lava Spring State Park is an outdoor area with an abundance lava rock. The park features over twenty miles of park trails by which to explore the area.The park is located in remote northeastern Shasta County and can only be reached by boat.Visitors can launch into Big Lake at… More Information
Air Shasta Rotor & Wing
Offering flights from 15 minutes to an hour. See snow covered granite peaks, high mountain lakes, and beautiful waterfalls. Flexible hours and departure from several possible airports. More Information
3770 Flight Avenue,
Redding, CA
Behrens-Eaton House Museum
The Behrens-Eaton House, a Victorian style turn of the century home, is located at 1520 West Street, Redding, California. It was built by John Scott in 1895 and purchased by Charles Behrens, Sheriff of Shasta County and grandfather of Judge Richard Behrens Eaton, in 1898.The Behrens-Eaton family lived in the… More Information
1520 West St,
Redding, CA
Benton Air Center
Have an amazing bird’s eye view of Mt. Lassen, Mt. Shasta, Shasta Lake and Dam. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and the railroad bridges/trestles during a 30 minute aerial plane tour from the Downtown Benton Airpark. A ten minute drive from most hotels. More Information
2600 Gold Street,
Redding, CA
Big Nasty Trail
The Big Nasty Trail is a fantastic loop trail that is named after a brush-covered formation of rough lava rock. Sweeping views of Lava Beds and the Modoc National Forest can be seen from here, and the trail is a fantastic spot to view the sunset. From the Mammoth Crater/Hidden… More Information
1 Indian Well HQ,
Tulelake, CA
Bigfoot Rafting
Since 1984 Bigfoot Rafting has been the go-to company for tourists and locals alike. Thanks to the support of our community and loyal customers we have grown to be the largest and most experienced rafting company in Northern California. Not only do we offer daily trips on the beautiful emerald… More Information
Willow Creek, CA
Blue Gravel Mine Trail
This trail travels through a canyon near a seasonal creek, and the old Blue Gravel Mine, once a gold mine in the area operated by the City. Relics from this era are still visible from the trail. Much of the trail offers trees and shade. More Information
Redding, CA
Board & Brush
Are you looking for a night out with friends? Is your inner DIY itching for a fun new project without having to buy all your own supplies and make a mess at your house? Then BOOK A WORKSHOP at Board & Brush Creative Studio in Redding! More Information
1419a Yuba St.,
Redding, CA
We buy, sell, and trade all forms of media and meet all of your entertainment needs! Looking for Vinyl, CD's, Cassettes, DVD's, Blu-ray, VHS, old school games and accessories, older and newer game releases for a myriad of systems, rare and retro gaming consoles, new consoles, turntables, DVD & Blu-ray… More Information
1740 California St.,
Redding, CA
Boiling Springs Lake
A number of steam vents are located under Boiling Springs Lake, keeping the temperature of the lake around 125 degrees. The mud pots on the southeast shore are among the best in the park. The trail crosses a meadow and then goes through forest to the lake and around it. Trees… More Information
21820 Lassen National Park Hwy,
Mineral, CA
Bridge Bay Resort
Bridge Bay Resort features dining, groceries, tackle and bait, and a full-service marina. It's one of the most beautiful lakeside resorts in the state, and centrally located to make any arm of the lake accessible. We offer a large rental fleet of ski boats, fishing boats and patio boats. Our… More Information
10300 Bridge Bay Rd.,
Redding, CA
Brokeoff Mountain
For sheer beauty and rugged mountain scenery the Brokeoff trail is one of the best in Lassen. The trail climbs steadily through open meadows and forest for two miles and then through scattered hemlocks and finally above timberline to the top. At the west end of the mountain just before… More Information
21820 Lassen National Park Hwy,
Mineral, CA
Buenaventura Trail
This is a great, short, intermediate ride that could be turned into a longer ride by connecting on to the River Trail. More Information
Redding, CA
Bumpass Hell
Rocky trail with grand vistas descends to a boardwalk through Lassen's largest hydrothermal area. Trailhead at Bumpass Hell Parking area. More Information
21820 Lassen National Park Hwy,
Mineral, CA
Caldwell Park
Located on the banks of the Sacramento River, Caldwell and Lake Redding Parks offer “Jump River,” a play area for children under 5 years old; Redding Skate Park, a 20,500 square foot outdoor concrete skate and BMX structure featuring 3 large bowls, 1 low rail, 1 high rail, 1 half… More Information
58 Quartz Hill Road,
Redding, CA
Cascade Theatre
When the Cascade Theatre threw open its doors in 1935, it was proclaimed as the finest cinema house in northern California, featuring “an interior rich in beauty and fitted with all the latest discoveries of science designed to offer the most comfort and the greatest pleasure to theater goers.” It… More Information
1731 Market Street,
Redding, CA
Casino Club
Open 24 hours and conveniently located on Hilltop Drive in Redding just minutes from I-5. Features Omaha, Poker, and Texas Hold ‘em. More Information
1885 Hilltop Drive,
Redding, CA
Castle Crags State Park
Castle Crags State Park will be closed to vehicular access until further notice to allow for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle Crags State Park is named for 6,000-feet tall glacier-polished crags and offers fishing in the Sacramento River, hiking in the back country, and spectacular views of Mt.… More Information
Castle Crags Road,
Castella, CA
Chamise Peak Trail
If you want a 360 degree view of all things Shasta (Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, Mount Shasta and City of Shasta Lake), look no further. This highest spot atop the mountainous spine separating Keswick Reservoir from the City of Shasta Lake, affords expansive views of the upper Sacramento Valley, the… More Information
Redding, CA
Chaos Crags
Climbs gently through forest before opening to the thinly forested edge of Chaos Jumbles. The trail continues down a steep path to the lake which is often dry in the summer. Trailhead 0.1 miles after turnoff to Manzanita Lake Campground. More Information
21820 Lassen National Park Hwy,
Mineral, CA
Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area
Visitors to the rolling, brushy hills near Shasta Lake in northern California will find off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding challenges for all abilities. The Chappie-Shasta OHV Area has more than 250 miles of roads and trails for motorcyclists, all-terrain vehicle drivers and four-wheelers. The area is near massive Shasta Dam and… More Information
Churn Creek Trails
The Churn Creek trails take walkers through a classic blue oak woodland, with manzanita and gray pine. Sections of the trail meander by Churn Creek where the terrain is riparian with willows, valley oak, western redbud, and cottonwoods. More Information
Redding, CA
Cinder Cone
Exposed path of loose cinders skirts the Fantastic Lava Beds and the Painted Dunes before climbing steeply to the summit. Trail continues into the crater and offers spectacular views of Lassen and the eastern park. Trailhead on southwest side of Butte Lake boat ramp. More Information
21820 Lassen National Park Hwy,
Mineral, CA
Clear Creek Greenway Trail
“There’s gold in the hills of California!” Very soon after the discovery of gold in 1848 near Sutter’s Mill, Major Pierson B. Reading discovered gold on Clear Creek. The result was a creek turned upside down. Due to the wildly successful efforts to restore its salmon runs, Clear Creek… More Information
Redding, CA

Showing results 1 to 25 of 114

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