October 24, 2022

TOP 10 HIKES NEAR REDDING, CALIFORNIA: SCENIC TRAILS FOR ALL SKILL LEVELS

Three friends on a hill on a hike near Redding, CA at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Interested in hiking? Well, Redding is “the trail capital of California” so you are in a good location to start your journey.

If you love the outdoors and you haven’t yet visited Redding, what are you waiting for?

A veritable playground for the active, it offers everything from fishing and kayaking to mountain biking and skiing.

Man Hiking in Lassen NP

Photo Credit – Avery Rosenthal

All of the below listed areas showcase the wonder and beauty of Northern California from Shasta County, Lassen County, Siskiyou County, and everything in between.

There’s plenty of beauty to be seen by hardcore hikers, trail runners, beginners, and families alike. 

With 225 miles of trail options, where do you start? It’s nearly impossible to narrow a list down to a few favorites. So we’ve started by curating a trail mix with something for everyone’s taste. 

Here’s our list of notable trails to start your journey. 

THE BEST 10 HIKING TRAILS AROUND REDDING, CA

Women walking on the River Trail

Photo Credit – Brent VanAuken

1) SACRAMENTO RIVER TRAIL

We’ll start with a nice, easy 5.5-mile loop, either side of the Sacramento River, beginning your journey in downtown Redding.

It’s pretty straight forward, but you’ll need plenty of water in the summer months as shade is scarce in some sections. 

Bring binoculars as you’ll find yourself birdwatching, people-watching, discovering wildlife, and wildflowers along the way.

An hour and 45 minutes should see you back where you began, on the south side of the Diestelhorst Bridge.

*Dogs are permitted on a leash and the trail is open all year long.

Check it out on Google Maps or AllTrails

 

aerial reddingPhoto Credit – Seth McGaha

2) SUNDIAL BRIDGE TO SHASTA DAM

Beginning in the heart of Redding, this 38-mile round trip curves northwest from the Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam.

Much of the trail follows the old rail route that once connected Oakland and Portland.

It is considered moderate in difficulty for its distance and due to its 460-foot rise at the dam.

You’ll need all day if you are planning to complete the trip there and back, with 13 hours the estimated time.

It’s open all year long with March-October ideal due to hotter temperatures.

Dogs are welcome and can be unleashed at various points on the trip.

It can be busy at times but it’s a great way to see the city.

*If you would rather bike this section we recommend Pedego Redding

Check it out the trail on AllTrails

 

Manzanita LakePhoto Credit – Adventure of A + K

3) MANZANITA LAKE LOOP

Time to hit the road and head an hour’s drive east of Redding to the picturesque Manzanita Lake and what better way to take it all in than on a 1.9-mile leisurely circuit?

Your biggest danger is probably colliding with one of the many photographers seeking to catch that perfect shot of Lassen Peak reflected in the lake’s surface.

You’ll also see plenty of sporting fishermen on the lake, which permits catch and release only.

Just a note for boating only non-motorized boats permitted, to keep the tranquility is preserved.

Around 35 minutes to complete this trek.  May to November is usually the only time to visit, unless you want to ski or snowshoe to the lake.

*The park charges a fee to enter and dogs are not allowed.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

Lassen Peak Hike

Photo Credit – Avery Rosenthal

4) LASSEN PEAK

Now you’ve warmed up, perhaps it is time to try a nice gentle 200-foot climb atop Lassen Peak.

Your mission should you choose to accept it – stand atop one of the world’s largest plug dome volcanoes! A plug or lava dome is a small but steep cone formed by thick molten lava.

Lassen Peak hasn’t erupted since 1921 but it is considered active.

The five-mile round trip should take around three and a half hours and offers awesome views of Mount Shasta and Lake Helen, although some find it harder than it looks.

It is popular so you are unlikely to be alone.

*June to September is the best period to tackle the peak and dogs are prohibited.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

Shasta Bally

Photo Credit – Ryan Thompson

5) SHASTA BALLY

Tracking west from Redding now and boy there is a view that awaits you at Shasta Bally!

Head for Sheep Camp, adjacent to Whiskeytown Lake, just 15 miles or half an hour out of town.

It’s part of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area so you’ll need to purchase a parking permit at the Visitors Center.

The 11-mile return trip will take you the best part of eight hours.

It is more challenging than Lassen Peak but a little easier to climb than Mount Shasta. The trail will have wide but steep sections. 

Before you know it you’ll be 6,200 feet in the sky with incredible views of the wilderness on the west side of Redding.

*May to October is the best time to take the trek. Dogs must be leashed.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

Summiting Mt. Shasta

Photo Credit – Erik Janiszewski

6) MOUNT SHASTA SUMMIT

Now to the beast.

Mt Shasta is synonymous with Redding and the trek to the top is the holy grail.

There are a number of routes you can take but Avalanche Gulch is the easiest and most popular.

It’s a challenging 10-mile return trip to the peak, where you’ll proudly stand 14,000 feet up yonder.

More comfortably done over two days, you can begin from Bunny Flats and stay overnight at Lake Helen.

It can be done in one day but you’ll need the best part of 14 hours.

May through August is the best time to climb due to the snow melt. Unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed.

An ice axe and crampons are necessary and know that only a third of the 15,000 yearly attempts to reach the summit are successful.

For more information on this hike and rental information please contact: Sports LTD, Hermits Hut, The Fifth Season, or Sportsman’s Den.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

Bumpass Hell

Photo Credit – Avery Rosenthal

7) BUMPASS HELL

Bumpass Hell lies inside Lassen Volcanic National Park.

If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure, Bumpass Hell is your go-to option.

It is named after Kendal Bumpass who discovered this geothermal wonder, and lost a leg in 1865 after it crashed through the crust and into a steaming hot mud pot.

Hence, it’s unwise to wander off the trail.

A visit is like exploring an uncharted planet, as sulfur vents burp and the ground bubbles and regurgitates around you.

The trek itself is an easy 3-mile round trip offering views of Lassen Peak, Lake Helen, Mt Diller and Brokeoff Mountain. 

Can you say you’ve been to hell and back?

*May to October is the best time to take this trip depending on snowfall.  Heads up that dogs are not allowed.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

Middle McCloud Falls

Photo Credit – Ryan Thompson

8) McCLOUD FALLS LOOP

If hiking to waterfalls is your thing, the McCloud Falls Loop gives you three times the fun and has something for everyone.

 

The quite spectacular 5-mile round trip takes in a trio of cascades, Lower McCloud Falls, Middle McCloud Falls and Upper McCloud Falls.

 

It’s a relatively easy to moderate journey, offering an opportunity to cool off in the water from a cliff jump if you wish, or even fish for a trout dinner.

 

It’s all accessible just 15 minutes off the I-5 near Mount Shasta.

 

Water shoes are an advantage if you are thinking of taking a dip. The trail is open all year long and dogs must be on a leash.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

Castle Crags Sunset

Photo Credit – Ryan Thompson

9) CASTLE DOME TRAIL

One of the most striking rock formations in NorCal, Castle Crags doesn’t always get the love it deserves among the local attractions.

But the 5.5-mile round trip of the Castle Dome trail will put this monolith squarely back on stage.

The vista point at the trailhead offers views of Castle Crags, Castle Dome, Grey Rocks and Mt. Shasta.

The last mile to the peak is steep, rocky and particularly strenuous.

But by the time you have ascended Castle Dome, you’ll be left with a breathtaking perspective of the region.

There is some fresh, cold water at Indian Springs if you wish to take a nice little side trip.

April to October is peak season.

*Dogs are not permitted on the trails.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

10) WHISKEYTOWN FALLS

One of California’s great secrets is no longer a secret.

The 3.4-mile James K. Carr trail will take you to an oasis that was first discovered by park rangers in 1967.

But a lack of money to protect the beautiful Whiskeytown Falls or construct a trail saw it remain undiscovered until park biologist Russ Weatherbee spotted it while looking at aerial photographs in 2004.

It is now there for all to enjoy but you’ll need to be up for the moderately challenging climb.

Running water accompanies your trek all the way to your destination.

The falls are adorned by a unique natural staircase alongside the 220-feet drop, giving visitors a unique perspective of their splendor.

Try this between May and October. Dogs must be on a leash.

Check it out on AllTrails

 

Bonus: MOUNT EDDY VIA PCT AT PARKS CREEK

If you’re looking for a slightly more challenging trail and more time with your thoughts, the less traveled Mount Eddy is the trek for you.

This round trip of a little more than 10 miles will take around five and a half hours and is a favorite among serious hikers.

It is steep in parts but well maintained, decorated with beautiful flowers and panoramic views of Mt Shasta, Lassen Peak and Castle Crags.

You may find snow on the trail depending on the season.

It can also be tackled from Deadfall trailhead which is a little longer and steeper from the valley.

July to October are the most popular months and dogs must be leashed.

Check it out on AllTrails

Of course, this is just the beginning. Hiking in Redding is an endless adventure with almost limitless options for everyone. 

Summiting Mt Shasta

Photo Credit- Ryan Thompson

There is plenty more information here if you’re keen to enjoy everything that hiking in and around Redding has to offer.

 

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