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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.

A Northern California Fall

The east coast of the USA gets a lot of credit for beautiful fall colors, but who has the time to change, well… times? West coasters deserve autumn splendor, too, and you don’t have to fly across the country and change your zone and sleep habits just to enjoy some. Northern California has a fantastic fall season, and it's already blazing. Did you know the Shasta Cascade region is 25% of California's area but with only 3% of California’s population? Don’t think too hard about the math, just realize that means there’s a ton of non-people, not-city space for trees, trees, and more trees. Plus, up here in far NorCal, those trees are artfully arranged around wild and scenic rivers, mountain lakes, actual mountains, and even a handful of volcanos.

Make it easy: start in Redding, where there are 225+ miles of trails within 15 miles of the city. You can compare the turning colors along the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail to the splendorous hillsides of the hike to Whiskeytown Falls. If you have one of those dogs who loves to rolls around in leaves, bring Captain Baconface to Redding, build a leaf mountain in our off-leash dog area, and get your camera ready, because your pup’s joy is about to go viral and then bought by Purina for its next ad and your trip to Redding was just paid for 24x over. You’re welcome.

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Sure, there may be a few other scenic spots in California, but are those destinations sunny this time of year? Not likely. Their pumpkins are probably moldy, already. Redding is the second sunniest city in the United States, with 300 glowing days per year. Don’t think too hard about that math, either: just know that all 300 can’t fit in a single summer, so they’re gonna happen in the fall, too. Sunny fall days are fantastic for sailing or kayaking on Whiskeytown Lake, watching the osprey dive while the hills around you turn golden. We don’t care if that sounds cheesy, it’s true.

Fall is also the beginning of peak dirt bike season, and the Shasta-Chappie OHV area is one in a million. Cruise through the oak trees, which canopy and blanket the trail before opening up to offer incredible views of Mt. Shasta, Lassen Peak, and the Trinity Alps. 

Of course, fall isn’t complete without rainbows. Not the sky kind (but those are nice, too): the slippery, fly-eating kind that our river is stocked with! Redding is one of the top 10 trout-fishing towns in North America (so says Forbes), and home to premiere outfitter, The Fly Shop, and more amazing guide services than we can keep up with. Spend one glorious, tree-lined autumn afternoon on the Sacramento River, and you’ll forget every worry you had when you climbed in that boat or strapped on those waders.

Finally, enjoying fall in Redding beats the east coast because unlike over there, you won’t be one of thousands of ‘leaf chasers’ driving around, jostling for the best shot. Redding’s fall offerings… fallferings?... are plentiful, spread out, and uncrowded. And when the sun goes down (even the 2nd sunniest city has its share darkness, y’know), Redding’s light-up bridge, taphouses, stages, and galleries ensure you’re still awed by our autumn. Grab one of the daily flights from San Francisco, Portland, or Arcata, or just hop on Interstate 5. Just get here before the last leaf falls.

For more information about scenic fall color driving tours in the Redding and Shasta Cascade areas, see our brochure:

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