Redding is safe from fire danger but Lassen Volcanic National Park 48 miles east of Redding is temporary closed - READ MORE>>
Visit Redding, California
Visit Redding, California
Woman standing at the base of a waterfall at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.
Woman standing at the base of a waterfall at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.

The 11 Best Hikes in Northern California

By Redding CVB | 01/21/2019 | Family Friendly , Great Outdoors, State & National Parks, Things to See and Do, Trails, Waterfalls

It’s no secret that California is home to some of the best hiking in the country, especially in the northern part of the state. With a lifetime’s worth of hiking opportunities, the tough part can be zeroing in on one location to use as a base camp to explore all that Northern California has to offer. With a vast expanse of mountain ranges, wild rivers, and quiet forests just beyond downtown, Redding is the perfect spot to lay your head after a long day on the trails.

Here, we’ve rounded up the 11 best hikes to experience the unparalleled beauty of northern California, all within 90 minutes of Redding. Also, request a Redding Visitor Guide or Trails Map, which includes waterfall hikes.

Read More
1. Manzanita Lake Loop
Sunset over Manzanita Lake

The Manzanita Lake loop trail is one of the more popular and easily accessible hikes in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The scenic views of the iconic Lassen Peak are unmatched and you can see plenty of wildlife circling the tranquil lake that doesn't allow any motorized recreation. There is no elevation gain and you are lakeside for the entire hike - strollers and wheelchairs are not recommended as the trail is uneven with tree roots and exposed rocks in some places. Manzanita Lake is a popular habitat for songbirds, raptors, and waterbirds, black-tailed deer, Douglas squirrels, and golden-mantled ground squirrels. The Instagrammable spot is from the western shore looking east where hikers can enjoy the alpenglow cast by the setting sun on Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags.

Distance from Redding: 48 miles Mileage: 1.7 miles Difficulty: Easy 

2. Castle Lake
A hike to Castle Lake in the Castle Crags Wilderness is a challenging route with incredible views along the way. psyberartist

Distance from Redding: 70 miles Mileage: 10 miles Difficulty: Hard

Stunning alpine lakes, granite peaks, and pristine forests make this hike a true wilderness gem. This little-visited trail in Castle Crags Wilderness starts at Castle Lake and traverses the ridgeline to Mount Bradley, offering up sprawling views of Mt. Shasta and the surrounding Cascade Mountains along the way. A challenging out-and-back trek with several steep climbs totaling 2,300 feet in elevation gain, the Castle Lake Trail is ideal for seasoned hikers who prefer to explore this granite wonderland in solitude.

3. Cinder Cone Nature Trail

Distance from Redding: 80 miles Mileage: 5.2 miles Difficulty: Hard

The chance to hike up and into a cinder cone—a steep hill of debris created by volcanic lava flows—makes this trail a wholly unique experience near Redding. In addition to the cinder cone itself, this out-and-back trail introduces hikers to many of the beautifully bizarre wonders of Lassen Volcanic National Park: the impossibly colorful Painted Dunes, the rugged rock fields of Fantastic Lava Beds, and the foreboding Lassen Peak. From the top of the cinder cone, a swirling network of trails invites hikers to explore down into the blank crater.

4. Crags Trail to Castle Dome
Castle Crags State Park

Distance from Redding: 49 miles Mileage: 7 miles Difficulty: Moderate

The towering 6,000-foot granite domes and spires jutting out of the dense pine forest are undoubtedly the main attraction at Castle Crags State Park. The park offers 30 miles of trails, and the Crags Trail lives up to its reputation as the most sought-after adventure. The trail leads right up to the base of Castle Dome, one of the park’s most striking monoliths, with stunning views of Mt. Shasta in the distance. Access the Crags Trail from the Vista Point parking lot or via Bob’s Hat Trail near the main park entrance.

5. Flanagan Trail to Chamise Peak

Distance from Redding : 9 miles Mileage : 5 miles Difficulty : Moderate

Family-friendly, close to town and sprawling views of the Three Shastas—Shasta Lake, Mt. Shasta and Shasta Dam—make Chamise Peak a true Redding classic for locals and visitors alike. This out-and-back hike climbs gradually up a ridge on the Flanagan Trail before branching off onto the Chamise Peak Trail, which leads to the 1,600-foot summit. From the top, views of Mt. Shasta and the Cascade Range unfurl to the north with a clear look at the Sacramento River Valley below.

6. Kings Creek Falls Trail
Visitors can reach Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Volcanic National Park via a moderate 2.8-mile hike. John and Jean Strother

Distance from Redding: 64 miles Mileage: 2.8 miles Difficulty: Moderate

Seeing the 30-foot Kings Creek Falls cascade over tiers of black volcanic rock is the highlight of this hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Ferns and shrubs clinging to the rock amid the spray and lofty pines beside the creek only add to the spectacle. The trail starts along Lower Kings Creek Meadow before descending 700 feet to the Kings Creek Falls overlook. The return offers the option for a scenic loop by taking the uphill Cascades Foot section, which runs alongside the creek via a narrow, steep staircase made of stone.

7. McCloud River Falls Trail
A women hiking by Middle McCloud Falls.

Distance from Redding: 53 miles Mileage: 3 miles Difficulty: Easy

While plenty of hikes feature a waterfall, this gem showcases three waterfalls on one short trail. Traveling along the McCloud River, this hike explores the wildly unique volcanic environment near Mt. Shasta (think black basalt cliffs and canyons of cooled lava). With only 300 feet of elevation gain through the entire out-and-back, the trail welcomes hikers of all levels and even has a paved, ADA-accessible path to the Lower and Upper Falls viewpoints. The three waterfall lookouts can be reached easily by car as well, giving visitors the flexibility to drive to each cascade or hike the trail connecting all three.

8. Lassen Peak Trail
The trail to Lassen Peak takes visitors above 10,000 feet and features impressive views of the surrounding mountains. Ray Bouknight

Distance from Redding: 75 miles Mileage: 5 miles Difficulty: Hard

Summiting the tallest point in Lassen Volcanic National Park at nearly 10,500 feet, the Lassen Peak Trail deserves a spot on any California hiker’s tick list. Starting near Lake Helen, the route climbs about 2,000 feet of steep and occasionally rocky switchbacks to the top of this active, but currently dormant, volcano. Those who complete the tough ascent are rewarded with panoramic views of Lassen Volcanic National Park and its otherworldly landscapes, particularly the Devastated Area, which bears the effects of eruptions from Lassen Peak itself.

9. Root Creek Trail

Distance from Redding: 49 miles Mileage: 2.2 miles Difficulty: Easy; wheelchair accessible

Anyone looking for an easy and ADA-accessible way to explore the serene beauty of Castle Crags State Park (entrance fees apply) will enjoy the Root Creek Trail. This flat, out-and-back trail travels under towering pines before following Root Creek, where the crystal-clear water and moss-covered boulders set a mystical tone. The wheelchair-accessible route starts on the Crags Trail from the Vista Point parking lot, then meets with the Root Creek Trail at the first junction. For more of a challenge, hikers can continue past the boundary between the state park and Castle Crags Wilderness—though, the trail becomes steep and no longer ADA accessible—to a spectacular view of Root Creek Falls and the imposing Castle Dome beyond.

10. Paradise Meadows Trail

Distance from Redding: 60 miles Mileage: 1.4 miles Difficulty: Easy

If you’re looking for summer wildflowers, take a trip through Paradise Meadows in Lassen Volcanic National Park. This easy hike is accessible from the Hat Creek Parking Area, and the basin below Reading Peak is known for its impressive color throughout the summer. Those looking for more mileage can connect to a trail that will ascend 1,000 feet to Terrace Lake. But there’s nothing wrong with enjoying this trail on its own. You’ll find a nice mix of tree cover in addition to the meadows, and it’s rare you’ll find much of a crowd.

11. Lower Sacramento Ditch Trail

Distance from Redding: 15 miles Mileage: 2.9 miles one-way Difficulty: Moderate

This recently rediscovered trail just outside of Redding follows the path of what was once a mining railroad on the east side of the Sacramento River. The 2.9-mile (one-way) trail is connected to the Hornbeck Trail, which creates a scenic 5.5-mile loop. You’ll see lots of evidence of the mining past in the area, including the cuts through bedrock necessary for the narrow-gauge railroad to operate, plus there are signs of the residences that once housed the miners. It’s also a good option for viewing wildflowers in the summer.

Free Ranger-Led Hiking Programs

The Redding area, particularly in Lassen Volcanic National Park, hosts free ranger-led hiking programs to broaden visitors’ connection with and knowledge of the areas they explore. June through August, rangers in Lassen Park lead hikes and Junior programs that highlight the unique geology and ecology of the park. Come winter rangers guide groups on off-trail snowshoe hikes through the forest (weekends, January through March).

Written by Jenna Herzog for RootsRated Media in partnership with Redding CVB.

Read More
7 Reasons Redding is the Perfect Place for your Mini-moon
By the time wedding bells ring, you’ve spent months planning your big day—finding the right cake, figuring out invitations, hiring a photographer, and on it goes. Even if you can’t celebrate with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to some far-flung destination, you…
Why Redding is the Perfect Spot for Adventurous Couples
Redding’s the heart of Northern California and one of the Golden State’s premier launchpads for adventure. For outdoors-loving couples, there’s no better place for a getaway—especially given you can combine all that outdoor exploration and thrill-seeking with fantastic accommodations, great…
The Best 5 Fishing Spots Around Redding
Anglers from all over the world have long been drawn to the streams, creeks, and rivers around Redding—and for good reason; the fish bite all year long. It’s so popular, Forbes listed Redding as a “Top 10 Trout Fishing Town…
An Insider's Guide to Mt. Shasta Ski Park
Since 1985, Mt. Shasta Ski Park has distinguished itself with more of a local feel, bypassing the gaudy corporate features at nearby resorts for a more comfortable, down-home vibe that caters to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. In all,…
The Joys of Snowshoeing the Lassen Volcanoes
The roughly 106,000-acre Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of Northern California’s geological masterpieces and it’s also one of the great winter playgrounds in Redding’s big backyard. This gorgeous highland realm at the far south end of the Cascade Range—just…
How to Have a Perfect Girls Weekend in Redding, California
There are times in life when all you need is a quiet (or maybe rambunctious) weekend away with the girls. There’s no better place for these get-togethers than one that puts outdoor adventure, shopping, arts and culture, and wining and…
6 Places to Catch a Stunning Sunset in Redding, CA
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…
Best Waterfall Hikes in Redding, CA During the Shoulder Season
Every spring, snowmelt trickles off the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, flows through gorges and canyons formed by volcanic rock, and powers its way through towering forests. Where does it end up? In part, it makes up the nearly…
10 Reasons To Enjoy Redding, According to the Locals
When you want to explore the outdoor beauty of Northern California, Redding is the place to go. The town serves as the perfect base camp for adventure, as it’s surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. You’ll find state and…
5 Hiking Adventures With Rewarding Views In and Around Redding, CA
The entire state of California is covered in some of the best hiking in the world, though the northern part is particularly blessed with incredible hiking trails. Redding is a hot spot for adventurers all over the world, due to…
An Insider's Guide to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
This spot is perfect for anyone who loves to be on or in water: anglers, paddlers, swimmers, water skiers, and sailors.
Road Trips Worth Taking From Redding to Fit Any Schedule
Horizons are meant to be chased. Lucky for you, the UpStateCA wilderness offers a variety of sight lines to keep you entertained for that windshield time. Volcanoes, mountain peaks, crystal clear alpine lakes, multiple national forests, wildflowers and sweeping meadows…
9 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Redding This Spring
Redding is perfectly situated in the middle of a nature-enthusiast mecca. The largest city in the Shasta Cascade region – known as UpState CA – surrounded by mountains, natural wonders with majestic waterfalls, scenic lakes and rivers, volcanic activity and…
7 Ways to Discover the Fascinating History of Redding, CA
A trip to Redding, California, means that you’re going to be surrounded by forested mountains, gorgeous valleys, and scenic lakes. But in addition to the physical beauty of the region, you’ll also find a rich history of the people who’ve…
March 2020 Events In Redding You Can't Miss
Planning a trip to Redding and looking for events, festivals, concerts and things to do in March in 2020? The weather is turning nice, early spring blooms are beginning and there isn't a better time to visit Redding for a…
Going Underground in Redding: An Insider's Guide
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…
7 Accessible Hikes in Redding, CA That Can Be Enjoyed By All Levels
Redding sits in—and is surrounded by—no shortage of natural beauty. No matter your level of hiking ability, you can find accessible trails throughout the region that make it easy to see those sights without a demanding, heart-pumping trek.
9 Reasons Your Kids Will Love the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum
From animal shows and playgrounds to butterflies and birds this recreation area will keep your kids entertained for hours.
An Empty Nester Guide to a Great Weekend in Redding
Family vacations don’t have to end when the kids leave home. With pleasant weather all year long, a busy calendar full of arts and culture events, and no shortage of outdoor adventure, Redding, California, is a great spot for an…
A Fly Fishing Guide to Redding, CA
Situated along the Sacramento River and surrounded by mountains on three sides, Redding has fishing opportunities for multiple species in nearly every direction, and it has a fly-fishing and outdoor culture that makes the end of the day that much…

Contact Us Website Developed by Drozian Webworks