Shasta Cascade region

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September 5, 2014

Hiking, Biking and more in the Shasta Cascade

Ready for adventure? Then you’re in luck! Hundreds of miles of walking, hiking, biking, equestrian and off-road vehicle trails have been developed within a 15-mile radius of downtown Redding in the Shasta Cascade.

Northern California is rich in mining and railroad history. In fact, old mining and rail routes make the foundation of many trails you will experience in this area. Keep your eyes peeled for evidence of this rich history as you enjoy the trails, and you’ll see remnants of conveyor belts, old rail lines, the bones of old placer mines, and so much more.

The Sacramento River National Recreation Trail is the crown jewel of Redding’s trail system, spanning 17.4 miles from the Sundial Bridge to the Shasta Dam. The trail crosses the world-famous Sundial Bridge, which spans more than 700 feet across the river, providing a spectacular vantage point for viewing wildlife as well as enjoying great vistas of the surrounding mountains. Ranked seventh in California by Rails to Trails, the trail winds along the river, and is enjoyed by runners, walkers and cyclists of all ages. It also affords views of a lush landscape that is home to an abundance of wildlife including beaver, black-tail deer, river otter and nearly 200 species of migratory and resident birds. The Sacramento River National Recreation Trail, by its very designation, is one of the top trails in the U.S. and is the perfect place to start your flower and wildlife viewing experience.

The area surrounding Shasta Lake and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area offers abundant unpaved trails that are very popular with single track bicyclists. In the Swasey Recreation Area, the Mule Mountain Pass Trail is a favorite among mountain bikers for the variety of terrain, and the Wintu Loop provides a picnic area with fantastic views of Lassen Peak and Mount Shasta.

The mountains surrounding this growing river city — and home of the American Trails organization — also offer endless opportunities for great trail experiences. Castle Crags State Park offers unmatched views, and Lassen Volcanic National Park has numerous scenic trails that take visitors to bubbling mud pots, boiling lakes and majestic vistas.

Many Redding-area trails are dog friendly, but if your favorite trail buddy is more equine than canine, try the Cloverdale Loop or Piety Hill Loop, which is a horse-friendly trail through open grasslands and oak woodlands.

Trail adventures are available beyond Redding throughout the Shasta Cascade Region. In the Intermountain Area north east of Redding, 62 miles of the world famous Pacific Crest Trail wind through Hat Creek and past Burney Falls. This region also boasts miles of trails for mountain biking and road biking.

The mountains east of Redding offer equestrian, hiking and mountain bike trails like the Bizz Johnson Trail, winding 25.4 miles through the rugged Susan River Canyon. It features 12 bridges, two tunnels and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Day hikes are popular and can be started from many of the trailheads.

Directly south of Redding, Anderson River Park offers several 1-3 mile trails, and to the southeast, the many features of Lassen Volcanic National Park include hiking trails up to the Lassen Peak and the horse-friendly Yana Trail. Farther south, the river bend area around Red Bluff is a great jumping off point for exploring the backcountry and viewing wildlife.

Fans of off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation can benefit from the several areas maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, such as Chappie-Shasta, just west of Redding; Rice Canyon, near Susanville; and Fort Sage, along the CA-Nevada border. If you’re planning to visit the Chappie-Shasta area, know that Redding doesn’t currently offer OHV rentals.

Not sure where to begin? Narrow things down with our EveryTrail app, available on your smartphone or tablet. See you on the trail!

Photo by Eric Leslie / CC BY

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