Covering 20% of the Golden State and roughly the size of Ireland, Shasta Cascade has to be seen to be believed. High desert, lush river valleys, rolling foothills, and even volcanic wonders are all a short drive from one another in this natural wonderland. The picturesque city of Redding serves as Shasta Cascade’s hub and is home to the internationally-acclaimed Sundial Bridge. This stunning, glass-decked pedestrian bridge links the north and south sides of the Sacramento River and connects the extensive walking and biking trails that make Redding “the trails capital of California.” For those who’d prefer to be on the river instead of alongside it, the trout fishing in Redding is second to none in the western United States, according to Forbes magazine, and Redding is the second sunniest city in the country, with 300 sunshine days per year, making it easy to get outside and explore.
Located an hour northeast of Redding, Burney Falls is the center piece of California’s second oldest State Park, McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park. Once described by Teddy Roosevelt as “the eighth wonder of the world” the magnificent twin falls cascade from a staggering 129 feet and boast a daily flow of 100 million gallons of water. Burney Falls is supplied by underground springs that keep the falls flowing year-round and is most certainly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in California. The falls overlook is wheelchair accessible, and there’s an easy hike to the base of the waterfall. For even more hiking, Lassen Volcanic National Park is just an hour’s drive east of Redding, with incredible mountain scenery and fascinating thermal wonders. Children and avid back country adventurers alike enjoy the wide variety of trails, and the park is open year-round, offering opportunities for every nature lover, from bird-watching to snowshoeing. Lassen Park is also one of the few remaining sanctuaries of natural darkness, and its star-gazing opportunities are celebrated every August at the Dark Sky Festival.
If you’d prefer to stay indoors, Redding’s many cultural and dining opportunities will satiate and entertain you. Savor the seasonal, locally-sourced menu at Moonstone Bistro with a cocktail or two, or watch the sun set behind the Trinity Alps while the river flows below you from the deck of View 202. Or head to downtown Redding, a California Cultural District chock full of unique local dining opportunities. Downtown’s wine bars, pubs, and live music stages of all sizes are all within walking distance from one another, so you can take your pick. The Dip and Vintage Public House both regularly host touring bands and musicians, with the latter offering delicious food, craft beer, and a large selection of wine, while The Dip serves up craft beer and cocktails in a comfortable corner joint. No matter how you like your steak, Market Street Steakhouse or Jack’s Grill can serve it up perfectly. Market Street has a larger menu and bar seating, and is a favorite for date nights and nights out with good friends, while the legendary Jack’s Grill hasn’t changed a thing about its specialty menu or establishment in decades, making it a mouth-watering curiosity and a hidden gem the locals might not even want to tell you about.
Whether you go outdoors for tranquility or excitement, the unforgettable Shasta Cascade has an expansive, unspoiled stretch of nature just for you, and when you get hungry or need a reason to dance, Redding’s plates and stages always come through. For an unforgettable diversity of experiences, look toward the giant sundial in far northern California.
For more Outdoor Experiences visit FoodandTravelMagazine.com