Things to do in Redding
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17 TOP Things To Do in Redding, CA

There are so many things to do in Redding—it’s a nature lover’s playground! Located in northern California, visitors have endless hikes, caves, waterfalls, meadows, and lakes to discover.

Redding may be the biggest city north of Sacramento in California, but as soon as you step outside city limits, the scenery is nothing short of incredible.

City person or not, visiting Redding is a great idea. There are so many things to do in the surrounding area, making it a great base for adventurers.

A map of things to do in Redding.
Click the image to view the clickable map of things to do in Redding.

1. Check Out Downtown Redding

Before you get whisked off on an adventure in the incredible natural areas that surround the city, make sure you spend some time exploring Redding itself!

The revitalized downtown area is a buzzing district that spans from the famous Sundial Bridge south a few blocks and encapsulates local restaurants, cool murals, museums, a theater, and more.

A view over downtown Redding and onward to a mountain range in the distance.
A view over Redding.

Downtown Redding is easily walkable, and you don’t have to plan too much—simply start at the bridge and make your way south, stopping wherever your heart desires along the way.

2. Admire Sundial Bridge

While you’re in the downtown area, don’t miss Sundial Bridge. This iconic pedestrian bridge is a modern marvel, with a cantilevered tower that both supports the weight of the bridge and acts as a giant sundial. Pretty cool, huh?

While it’s no doubt impressive, the bridge is good for more than just looking at. It connects several community attractions, including the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and part of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park.

A shot of a lit up Sundial Bridge on a cloudy Redding evening.
Sundial Bridge at night!

Sundial Bridge is also a part of the Sacramento River Trail, and unsurprisingly it offers great views of the river (especially around sunset).

3. Visit Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Visiting Turtle Bay Exploration Park is one of the most popular things to do in Redding. There’s simply just so much to see and do here, it would be a shame to miss it.

This massive educational center combines the museum with hands-on activities for visitors of all ages, including animal shows, parrot feedings, an outdoor playground, a river aquarium, and more.

4. Delve Below the Surface and Discover Lake Shasta Caverns

Nestled deep within the mountains lies the natural curiosity of Lake Shasta Caverns. The unique rock formations of the caverns can be found hundreds of feet inside the McCloud Limestone Mountain Range.

Getting there is half the fun, as they are accessed via a boat ride across the McCloud arm of the lake.

A metal railing lined pathway running through the inside of Lake Shasta Caverns.
Pathway through underground Lake Shasta Caverns.

From here, you will be guided through this subterranean wonderland made up of 38 different cave formations, Jurassic fossils, and incredible underground features.

The best way to experience the caverns and the lake is to take one of the guided tours. There are a few different options, some of which include added extras like a dinner cruise! It is, without a doubt, one of the more unique things to do in Redding.

5. Have Some Fun on Shasta Lake (Popular Things to Do in Redding!)

At 30,000 acres, Shasta Lake has plenty of room for everyone and plenty of ways to spend your day.

Expect the waters to be peppered with jet skis, innertubes, kayaks, rowing boats, fishing boats, and all sorts of small crafts, most of which can be rented from around the lake.

Aerial view of Shasta Lake nestled in between forests and orange cliffs.
Catching an aerial view of Shasta Lake!

With incredible views of Mount Shasta, it is a scenic spot to give water sports a go, or laze around the shore in the sun, drinking in the views and drinking up the beers!

Many trails to choose from allow you to see the lake and surrounding landscape, so check them out if you have the time, and definitely put Shasta Lake on your list of things to do in Redding.

6. Go For a Hike

Unsurprisingly, one of our favorite things to do in Redding is go for a hike.

The Shasta Lake and Mount Shasta areas have some awesome trails with epic views, so set some time aside to tackle a few hikes while you’re in the area.

Here are some of our favs:

  • Bailey Cove Loop: Follows the shoreline of Shasta Lake with great views of the peninsula.
  • Waters Gulch Loop: More great views of Shasta Lake and the surrounding foothills. Spur trail available to Vista Point with more fantastic views.
Overlooking boats moored on Shasta Lake from the Bailey Cove Trail with a backdrop of mountains.
View of Shasta Lake through wooded Bailey Cove Trail.
  • Chamise Peak: Lofty trail with impressive views over the entire Shasta area (including Shasta Lake, Shasta Dam, and Mount Shasta).
  • South Gate Meadows: Unique trail through alpine meadows and barren volcanic landscapes.
  • Gateway Trails: Epic trail system that starts from the top of the mountain (great rewards with little effort!).
Garrett at Heart Lake Trail with a lake below.
Garrett at Heart Lake Trail.
  • Castle Lake to Hart Lake: One of the best Mount Shasta hikes. This one has everything—mountains, lakes, and alpine forests, with incredible viewpoints along the trail.

READ MORE: 15 Must-Do Mount Shasta Hikes!


7. Get Great Views From Shasta Lake Dam

For some great views of Shasta Lake without the leg burn, you can simply head to the dam and skip the workout. At 620 feet, it’s one of the tallest dams in the country, and the views across the lake are breathtaking.

A tree-framed view of the huge, concrete Shasta Dam from the overlook nearby.
Seen from the Shasta Dam overlook!

After you snap some pics, you can take a tour of the dam and pop into the visitor center for an insight into how the lake and dam were created.

8. Visit the Town of Mount Shasta

Like Redding, Mount Shasta is made for adventurers. You can delve into lava caves, paddle on lakes, or spend your days at a ski resort, to list just a bit of what the area offers to nature lovers.

A main road of Mount Shasta with a couple of historic looking buildings and a mountain in the distance.
Amazing views in Mount Shasta!

The town itself is also brimming with activity, with plenty of places to grab a bite or spend the night.

There are too many things to list here, but luckily, we have a whole post on things to do in the Mt. Shasta area, so check it out.


READ MORE: 13 Legendary Things To Do in Mount Shasta for Adventure Lovers


9. Take a Ride on the MT Bike Trail

Plenty of trails allow you to get out and about on a bike in the area, but one of the best has to be the Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam Trail. It is a long one, but nothing says you have to do it all in one go.

A man on a mountain bike riding along the MT bike trail underneath Sundial Bridge in Redding.
Mountain biker riding under Sundial Bridge.

The path takes you through the center of Redding from the bridge before taking you up to the top of the dam, where you can take in the expansive views of Shasta Lake and snow-topped Mt Shasta.

The views along the whole trail are incredible, and you’ll follow along the path of a historic railroad. As the trail is paved, taking your bike and covering more distance is easy, although some parts can be steep.

10. Have a Picnic at Lake Redding Park

Located along a scenic stretch of the Sacramento River, Lake Redding Park offers a lot for a small city park.

Take a picnic and enjoy a leisurely lunch on one of the scattered picnic tables, have a game of horseshoes or basketball, or simply let the children loose on the playground.

A view of Lake Redding Park Bridge from the shoreline of a river.
A clear day over Lake Redding Park Bridge.

It’s conveniently located close to downtown Redding, yet with the Sacramento River views and winding river trails, you could be a million miles away.

11. Visit the Ghost Town of Shasta State Historic Park

You can visit a ghost town just 5 miles from Redding. How cool is that? The ghost town remains what was once one of the state’s busiest towns during the gold rush.

Ruins of an old brick house with informations signs in Shasta State Historic Park.
Remnants of a bygone time at Shasta State Historic Park.

You can now visit the town and inspect the buildings, imagine what it would have been like back in the day, with plenty of informative signs to tell you more about what they once were.

From blacksmiths to a brewery, you’ll get a sense of how this important town used to operate. With easy, free access right off the highway, it is well worth a visit and one of the best things to do in Redding.

Golden hour sunlight shining over the old brick building of the Courthouse Museum in Shasta State Historic Park.
Golden hour over the historic courthouse!

TIP: If you are interested in the history of the area, be sure to take the Ruins Trail, which heads behind the building and allows you to witness some of the destruction of the 2018 Carr Fire.

12. Relax at Anderson River Park

Sitting beside the Sacramento River lies the beautiful Anderson River Park.

Spend your day cooking a delicious BBQ at one of the outdoor grills, play basketball or tennis, or spend some time on the river.

Three people on a green rowing boat heading down Anderson River between bushes and foliage.
Rowboat going down Anderson River.

The park boasts a pretty epic disc golf course and scenic trails that wind their way through the woods and river banks.

TIP: Check the calendar of events before you visit, as the park often hosts festivals and other community events, which can be great fun.

13. Go For a Swim at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

You haven’t done summer right if you haven’t fit in a wild swim somewhere.

The clear waters of Whiskeytown Lake make an excellent choice. The lake is vast, with 36 miles of shoreline, meaning there is enough room for everyone to enjoy the serenity that the lake has to offer.

An aerial view over a huge lake in the middle of the hills of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
Aerial view of Whiskeytown Nation Recreation Lake.

There are plenty of other options for water-based exploration, such as windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, or trying your luck with a fishing rod.

Or, if all of that sounds like a lot of effort, pack up the BBQ gear and head to Brandy Cove for an incredible day relaxing on the beach. The area also offers spectacular hikes to Crystal Creek and Brandy Creek Falls!

A long exposure of Brandy Creek Falls cascading over a small cliff in the forests of Whiskeytown.
Brandy Creek Falls.

From the parking lot, you will easily be able to see the path that makes its way down to the falls, and after about a quarter of a mile of hiking, you will arrive at a picturesque rest area, complete with BBQ and picnic tables.

You can then continue on the main path to see the falls from the road or take the smaller path down to the falls themselves and get close enough to feel the spray on your face.

14. Chase Waterfalls

If you love a good waterfall hike (who doesn’t), there are some great options in the Mount Shasta area.

Some falls are fairly close to Mount Shasta and Redding (including Hedge Creek Falls and Faery Falls), while others require more of a drive (like McCloud Falls and Burney Falls).

Nina in a white top standing in front of the huge Burney Falls at blue hour.
Standing beside Burney Falls.

That said, these falls are relatively close to one another, so you could spend a whole day hopping from waterfall to waterfall.


READ MORE:
6 BEST Waterfalls Near Redding
4 Mount Shasta Waterfalls You Have to Visit


15. Rip Into It on The Dunes

Right near the Shasta Dam is an OHV area where you can rip all day along these rocky hills. Head to Chappie-Shasta ORV Staging Area with your wheels and have a day.

An aerial view over a large section of Chappie-Shasta OHV area in the mountains.
The Chappie-Shasta staging area!

Don’t have wheels of your own? Action Sports Rentals in Redding has some rentals you can take out for the day or the week.

16. Take a Day Trip to Lassen National Park (One of The Best Things to Do from Redding!)

Step into a world of volcanoes and geothermal magic at Lassen Volcanoes National Park.

You will almost feel like the land here is alive as it bubbles and fizzes around you. The park is home to 4 types of volcanoes, and although the steam and roaring earth could seem a little scary, it’s stunning!

Looking at a snow capped Lassen Peek framed by trees on a sunny day.
Lassen Peak towering above the tree line.

And luckily, you have the choice of solely witnessing the peaceful meadows and stunning lake that’s here instead if that’s more your thing (although we recommend it all!).

There are plenty of ways to spend the day in the park, which include taking a cruise out onto the shimmering waters, hiring a paddle board, or taking the Ridge Lakes Trail for epic views.

Most people only head to the area for one thing: to experience the sheer power of the earth beneath them.

Nina standing beside Kings Creek Falls in a small canyon in the forest.
Admiring King Creek Falls amongst the rocky stream.

Whether you take the Bumpass Hell Trail to get up close and personal with some boiling mud pots or head to Sulphur Works to witness the powerful steam vents, you can’t go wrong.

17. Explore Castle Crags State Park

Tucked neatly between Mount Shasta and the city of Redding sits the scenic gem of Castle Crags State Park.

The unique rock formations that helped the park get its name are the biggest draw, jutting dramatically out of the rich green trees.

The Castle Crags rock formations see over the trees from a distance on a sunny day.
Castle Crags on a sunny day!

It is an incredible sight, which is strange considering the park receives relatively few visitors year-round, mainly because it is only open for a short time in the summer due to snow.

If you only do one thing while on Castle Crags, visit Vista Point, which can be reached via car or hiking. It provides one of the best views of the crags in the park, complete with picnic tables.

An antique looking telescope pointed at Castle Crags rock formations through trees from Vista Point.
Look through the telescope at Vista Point near Castle Crags.

TIP: If exploring this lesser-known park seems like a good option, consider using the park’s campground so you can get an early start in the morning.


READ MORE: Your Guide to Castle Crags State Park


Check out one of these guides next:

We hope this helped you find some of the best things to do in Redding, enjoy your visit!

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