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Redding: For Those Who Enjoy the Outdoors

Lakes, dams, rodeos, bridges, caverns, waterfalls, hiking and biking trails, and gold rush ruins – these can all be found in the Redding area. What?! You’ve never heard of the place? Once we share all there is to do, you’ll be packing your bags for this Northern California city.

Crystal Creek Falls

Crystal Creek Falls in Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area

Always on the lookout for affordable destinations that appeal to active Boomer women and their families, we were the sponsored guests of Visit Redding this past weekend. And boy, did we pack a lot into a few days, though we never felt rushed. Probably due to the proximity of everything. Really, it’s only a 20-minute drive from the Fairfield Inn & Suites to Whiskeytown Lake.

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Glory Hole at WhiskeyTown Lake

The Glory Hole in Whiskeytown Lake has a 260 foot pipe diverting overflow from the dam.

In this post we’ll share our adventures from the first day two days, then share the last two days in an upcoming post (stay tuned for kayaking and lorikeets). If you like travel adventures that combine nature, new activities, free and low-cost sightseeing and sight-doing, then tour with us through this post. Then book your own active adventure to the Redding area.

Whiskeytown Waterfalls in Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area
Park rangers first knew of these falls in 1967, but kept quiet, as they didn’t have the resources to protect them, even though President Kennedy had proclaimed the 42,000 acre park a national recreation area in 1963. In 2004, a park biologist was examining aerial photos and rediscovered the falls.

Bottom of Whiskeytown Falls

Does this waterfall make me look younger?

The trail to Whiskeytown Falls is 3.4 miles round trip. Steep in parts, it’s worth the hike. Be sure to take the stone trail to the left of the falls to get some extra special views. Pack water and a snack too, as you’ll get thirsty watching all that water. Fair warning that this hike will give you a serious glute and anaerobic workout.

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Kymberly at Whiskeytown waterfall/ Redding

Does this waterfall make me look stronger? Photo credit – Kymberly

Shasta State Historic Park & Museum

Shasta State Historic Park

About halfway between Redding and Whiskeytown Lake you’ll see these ruins from the gold rush days. Across the street is the former courthouse and jail, including the gallows. Don’t “hang around.” Or do. Only $3 to visit the museum.

Shasta Dam and Powerplant
Want to be impressed by the former generation and your fellow humans? Take the tour of Shasta Dam. It’s free. Regardless of your views on dams, you have to marvel at the human ingenuity and vision that engineered and created this structure. One of us (Kymberly) almost skipped the tour, professing a desire to bike ride along the Sacramento river trails instead. Given that we southern Californians seem to have brought the mist and rain on our last journeys, off we all went instead to Shasta Dam. And was it ever a highlight. Hot tip: When the brochures and guides tell you to leave everything but your cell phone and keys in the car, they mean it. Security is tighter than our lips about what happened when someone in our family (not Kymberly) tried to bring “security contraband” past the security checkpoint and guard.

 

View from atop Shasta Dam

Shasta Dam from the top, looking down at the Sacramento River. The tour is absolutely worth your time. If you get Jo as your guide, you’ll have an especially good time, as she is a delight.

 

Redding trip Shasta Dam

Damn, we loved that dam tour more than we expected. You will too. Photo credit: Kymberly

Lake Shasta Caverns: Three Adventures in One
We promised ourselves on frequent drives between Santa Barbara and Oregon that someday we’d stop and visit the caves. This trip was that someday. Like Whiskeytown National Park and Shasta Dam, the caverns are easily accessible — about 20 minutes north of Redding. You take a 10-minute boat ride across the lake (bring your camera for spectacular views), then a 10-minute shuttle ride up, up, up, then you are in the cave. As for coming out of the cave, well … that’s on you and those several hundred stairsteps. You want out? Keep climbing. That’s the beauty of living an active life. You’re able to see and do more when you travel.

Lake Shasta Caverns

These limestone stalactites hang high above visitors inside the cavern in a huge room. When you hear the word “cavernous,” it probably originated from a place like this.

 

transport vehicle at Shasta Caverns

This WWII transport is now used to bring the buses back and forth when they need repairs. Yes, the buses can actually fit.

Redding Rodeo
Alexandra: This got a strong thumbs-up from my 19-year-old son, so off we went to our first-ever rodeo. It was actually quite exciting, with guys getting thrown off broncs that buck, and calves getting roped and tied (trussed?) in under 10 seconds.

Redding Rodeo

Horse said “get off me,” so the cowboy obliged. After he stayed on for the full 8 seconds. Not sure where he left his spine.

My son wanted to stay for the entire event, but I was hungry, so talked him into leaving early. We looked on Yelp and found Cafe Paradisio, a classy, comfortable place that’s run by a husband and wife who just happened to have two of their children about to graduate from UCSB. Eat here for sure – excellent service and intentionally underpriced for items such as Honey Stung Shrimp, Baked Salmon and French Press Coffee.

view from Lake Shasta Caverns

The view as you ride the bus up to the entrance of Lake Shasta Caverns. Breathtaking, isn’t it?

 

Flying to Redding- cloud view from plane

How Day 1 to Redding started. Super early o’clock plane to catch. Photo credit: Kymberly

 

Redding trip Shasta Lake

How Day 1 ended. Super enriching for brain and body. Photo credit: Kymberly

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photo credits – Alexandra, using a Canon. Kymberly where noted.

by Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

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