Experience UpState California
The Shasta Cascade region covers most of Northern California with its eight counties stretching across an area roughly the size of Ireland. In the heart of this vast frontier is Redding, the largest city in UpState California, which boasts over 300 sunny days a year, laying claim as the state’s sunniest city. Redding is surrounded by national and state parks, historical sites, mountains, volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls, caves, and much more, making it the ideal hub for endless group exploration. Offering outdoor adventure and attractions all year long for unforgettable fun, Redding is your travel destination to experience what UpState California has to offer.
Your first stop after arrival will be in the heart of Redding, at the Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay Exploration Park. As one of the world’s largest working sundials, it is an architectural and artistic marvel. This cable-stayed suspension bridge reaches 217 feet into the sky and spans 710 feet across. Silhouetted above the Sacramento River, the steel, granite and glass-decked pedestrian bridge appears weightless, as if floating over the river, so it does not disturb the spawning salmon habitat.
The Sundial Bridge links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park and its 300 acres of fun. Enjoy wandering through this regional treasure, with its natural history, science and art exhibits, wild animal shows, fresh water aquarium habitat, and an amazing arboretum and botanical gardens.
Want more? For added adventure, stroll along the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail, known as the crown jewel of Redding’s famous trail system. The trail winds its way along the scenic Sacramento River for more than 17 miles and is home to an abundance of wildlife and lush landscape.
After a peaceful night’s sleep at one of Redding’s many tour bus friendly hotels, you will be ready to start the day by traveling less than an hour from Redding to see beautiful Lassen Volcanic National Park, where you can explore the undiscovered. With just a fraction of the visitors, the park boasts incredible mountain scenery reminiscent of Yosemite as well as fascinating thermal wonders similar to Yellowstone. Lassen offers three of the four different types of geothermal features, including steam vents, mud pots, and hot springs, all types of natural occurring lakes, and it is the only place on the planet where all four types of volcanoes (shield, plug dome, cinder cone, and composite) are located in the same place. Near Lassen Peak, the road reaches 8,512 feet in elevation, making it the highest road in the Cascade Mountain range. The park is open year-round with snow limiting some access from December to May. However, excellent cross-country skiing is available, as well as free interpretive snowshoe tours led by park rangers. During the warm summer months in Redding, visit this spectacular park to experience spring all over again.
Next stop on this mountainous journey is McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. The centerpiece of this popular state park is the majestic 129-foot Burney Falls, which is not the highest or largest waterfall in the state, but possibly the most beautiful. Former President Teddy Roosevelt once called Burney Falls “The Eighth Wonder of the World” and Huffington Post Travel declared it the “most beautiful waterfall in North America.” This stunning wonder cycles through 100 million gallons of water per day from underground springs into a picture-perfect aquamarine pool. The waterfall can be enjoyed from surrounding trails, including the top at lookout point. For a more refreshing experience, take the trail to the pool at the base of the falls and along the stream and feel the mist of this wonder on your face. You can even walk along a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.
One of the best ways to experience authentic UpState California is at Shasta State Historic Park, which is the location of what was once the “Queen City” of California’s gold rush and mining district. Now, half-ruined brick buildings that once were crowded with merchandise and alive with the human sounds of business, trade, and social endeavor stand empty and quiet. The County Courthouse has been restored to its 1861 appearance and filled with historic California artwork and historical exhibits, such as the courtroom, jail, and gallows, where you will find many original items from the days of the gold rush. The Blumb Bakery, which operated in Shasta until 1918, has been restored to house a working business where weekend visitors can catch a glimpse of baking 1870s style in the faithfully recreated brick oven. Walk historic trails and roads that give hints of past occupants with cottage ruins, gardens, and orchards.
A few miles west is Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, which offers an outdoor playground for every personality in your group. Outdoor activities in the park are endless as the sparkling lake is inviting for swimming, kayaking, paddling, boating, and sailing. The sandy beaches make for a relaxing spot while the more adventurous members of your group can take advantage of the amenities around, such as hiking to any of the four waterfalls that reach up to 220 feet tall, miles of biking trails, or the morning or moonlit ranger-led kayaking tours in the summer.
A trip to UpState California is not complete without an all-day “Shasta” experience, which includes Shasta Lake, Lake Shasta Caverns, and Shasta Dam. The entire Lake Shasta Caverns experience is “Three Adventures in One.” To reach the caverns, you will board a catamaran for a scenic cruise across the emerald waters of Shasta Lake, which has more than 365 miles of shoreline and a surface area of 30,000 acres. From there, you will take a short and fun bus ride through the trees and up the mountain to the cavern entrance. Once inside, you will explore the massive limestone caverns, which are the largest in California and what some geologists consider one of the most beautiful in America. You will be in awe over the stalactites and stalagmites that connect roof and floor and reflect in sparkling pools. Follow your guide on the well-lit path while listening to an information filled tour about the geology and ecology of the caverns.
The next tour at Shasta Lake will take you up, down and through Shasta Dam. At 602 feet high, it is the ninth-tallest dam in the United States and holds back the largest reservoir of water in California, generating hydroelectric power in the process. The free tour takes you through the visitor’s center to learn the amazing history of the dam before taking a 428-foot elevator ride to the base of the dam to visit the powerhouse, inner galleries and other areas.
Additional Tour Attractions:
With a variety of adventures within a close proximity, Redding is the hub city for exploration in UpState California. There are attractions in every direction that can be included in your itinerary, either at the beginning or the end of the trip
South of Redding, Lucero Olive Oil will open your imagination by providing your group with different flavors, pairings, and tastings that are sure to give your taste buds something new to crave. Informative tours of varying lengths of the factory are also available, and you will not want to leave the gift shop without a bottle or two of the best olive oil around.
From the north, all three McCloud River Falls are a short distance from each other and can be seen from a lookout after a short hike from the parking lot. Lower Falls is a 12-foot broad plunge into a large pool with large rocks surrounding it for sunbathing. Middle Falls is the largest and most impressive with a 44-foot drop, stretching 120 feet wide as one of the widest waterfalls in California. Upper Falls is unique with the swift river escaping a narrow gorge to crash down onto small steps into a beautiful pool at its base.
From the west, the Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park is the oldest Chinese temple in California. On display are art objects, photos, mining tools, and weapons used in the 1854 Tong War. This Taoist temple is still a place of worship and a fascination look into the role played by Chinese immigrants in early California history.
UpState California is waiting to be explored.
Redding has plenty of restaurants to fit any appetite and lodging facilitates to accommodate any group. Let me know how I can customize this itinerary or another to fit your needs and ensure you have a great time experiencing that is truly UpState California.
Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau