Redding: It’s Real, and It’s Sunny

Park ranger in Redding California. Anne Braly photos
Park ranger in Redding California. Anne Braly photos

In Redding, Northern California, it’s Giddyup and Go!

By Anne Braly
GoNOMAD Senior Writer

Fly fishing for rainbow trout on the Sacramento River is a favorite past time for anglers wanting a challenge.
Fly fishing for rainbow trout on the Sacramento River is a favorite past time for anglers wanting a challenge.

Simplicity comes naturally in the heart of Redding, Calif., where the sunniest city in the Golden State – boasting at least 300 days of sunshine annually – reflects everyday life’s rhythm.

It’s all about the outdoors, and little wonder as this Northern California state is surrounded by the Cascade, Coastal, and Klamath mountain ranges, making it a playground for adventure paired with excitement and fine dining, a trifecta of fun for a memorable vacation.

Take A Hike in Redding

With more than 200 miles of navigable trails – some flat and paved, others rocky and a little challenging – Redding city is known as the Trails Capital of California. Put on your walking shoes and set off just outside your hotel as many trails start at your doorstep. 

Food fest in downtown Redding, California.
Food fest in downtown Redding, California.

Downtown is an interesting place to walk and see a bit of history, such as the iconic Cascade Theatre with its majestic Art Deco ceiling or the brand new Public Market, slated to open in late 2024, with an expansive choice of eateries and shops. It’s a multi-million dollar investment set to bring the downtown area back to life.

“It’s a vibrant place that’s been revitalized,” says Erin Ross with K2 Development, one of the entities involved in the rebirth of downtown.

Biking is another way to hit the trails, with traditional and electric bikes available for rent from several outfits in town. 

Sunset over the lakes and mountains of Redding, California.
Sunset over the lakes and mountains of Redding, California.

Sacramento River Trail

The Sacramento River Trail is paved and perfect for walking and biking, just take your earbuds out to listen for bikers approaching. And who needs music when you can listen to Mother Nature’s symphony?

Walks and rides of a more challenging nature include those found around Whiskey Town Lake, such as the Davis Gulch Trail and Shasta Town Loop Trail.

Stop by the Visitor Center at 1321 Butte St. for a trail map and other information.

Angling For A Bite

Waterways abound throughout the Redding area. From pristine lakes to rivers and streams, it’s easy to cast a line and hook a salmon or trout on your hook. The Sacramento River flows through town and is popular for its population of rainbow trout – catch and release only 🙁

Professional guides, such as those from AC Fly Fishing, can be hired to take you down the river, give amateurs some pointers, and enjoy a successful day of fishing.

With more than 39,000 acres of recreation and a lake that’s “clean, clean, clean,” says Park Ranger Scott Einberger, anglers find Whiskey Town National Recreation Area and its Whiskeytown Lake a top place for hooking a Kokanee salmon or large-mouth bass. More than 97% of the park burned in the Carr fire of 2018, but, says Einberger, the vast majority of the park has been restored, and the lush green hues of the mountains are back.

Fishing the Trinity

Other waterways good for fishing include the Trinity River for its steelhead and king salmon, and Shasta Lake for several varieties of bass, plus catfish and crappie.

Redding Down Under

Spelunkers love exploring the caves around Redding, but if you’re new to the sport and want to see what lies beneath the ground beneath your feet, take a guided tour of Shasta Caverns, a National Natural Landmark within the Shasta-Trinity Forest.

To reach the cave, you hop on board a boat moored in Shasta Lake below the visitor’s center/gift shop. Once you’ve traversed the lake, board a bus that takes you up a mountainside to the cave entrance.

The path through the cave is well-worn and mostly paved with railings and numerous steps that give access to spectacular rooms alive with stalagmites and stalactites. Warning: This is not a cave for those with ambulatory disabilities due to numerous stairs and other obstacles.

Reservations are always a good idea. Log onto lakeshastacaverns.com for information.

Lake Shasta caverns.
Lake Shasta caverns.

Now You’re Hungry

With less than 100,000 residents, Redding has a surprising number of restaurants, with cuisines to please every palate.

Among the most notable:

Sit down for Sunday brunch at Moonstone Bistro, sip on a spicy Bloody Mary and dig into a stack of buckwheat pancakes or a luscious Moonstone Benedict. Dinner is on the menu, too, from 4- 9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Brunch begins at 10 a.m.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park offers an up-close experience with its resident beaver, Timber.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park offers an up-close experience with its resident beaver, Timber.

Redding’s airport is small – just one gate – but its onsite restaurant, Peter Chu’s Skyroom, takes flight with an Asian menu full of surprises. View the planes landing as you enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail, amazing hot-and-sour soup and Kung Pao chicken loaded with peanuts and flavor, one of dozens of choices on its mouthwatering menu. Unlike most airport eateries, you don’t have to go through security to eat here, so it’s a favorite for locals and flyers alike.

Mosaic is a hotel restaurant different from most other hotel eateries. It’s located next to Sheraton Redding Hotel, the city’s only four-star hotel, situated next to the popular Sundial Bridge and within easy walking distance of several important sites, such as Turtle Bay Exploration Park where visitors can have an up-close experience with its resident Beaver, Timber.

Grab a Mosiac craft pizza and beer or sip and enjoy a sumptuous repast on the outdoor patio overlooking the Sacramento River.

For more palate-pleasing suggestions, log onto visitredding.com.

Joh Adams, general manager at New Clairvaux Winery, watches as one of his favorite vintages is poured in the tasting room in downtown Redding.
John Adams, general manager at New Clairvaux Winery, watches as one of his favorite vintages is poured in the tasting room in downtown Redding.

Give Thanks For Wine

Downtown Redding is the site of New Clairvaux’s first satellite tasting room. The winery, located in Vina, California, in Tehama County about an hour south of Redding, is the result of a remarkable partnership between the Trappist-Ciserian Monks, whose history of winemaking goes back centuries, and the Sunseri family, now in its fifth generation of making award-winning wines. 

The most recent awards for winemaker Aimee Sunseri, a two-time Woman Winemaker of the Year, include being named the Golden State Winery of the Year.

“That was a big deal for us,” says John Adams, general manager of New Clairvaux.

Taste what it’s all about in the tasting room, then bring home a bottle of Poor Souls Block Petite Sirah or St. James Block Moschofilero. For more information on New Clairvaux and its innovative approach to winemaking, visit newclaivauxvineyard.com or visitredding.com.

Giddyup Redding Cowboy!

Rider in the Redding Rodeo.Bronco busting is one of many events during Rodeo Week in Redding.
Rider in the Redding Rodeo. Bronco busting is one of many events during Rodeo Week in Redding.

When the rodeo comes to town, almost every hotel is booked, so now’s the time to buy your reserved seats, and make hotel reservations for May 15-18, 2025.

There’s a different event each night, from barrel racing to steer wrestling, team roping and bull riding, each sanctioned event bring cheers and jeers from a crowd of more than 6,000.

The rodeo “means a lot to the people of Redding,” says Bennett Gooch, president of the Redding Rodeo Association. “The rodeo started in 1948, so this year was our 76th year. It’s a homecoming of sorts for many of the people. I’ve heard stories from grandparents, their children and grandchildren who’ve come to the rodeo for generations.”

To witness four days of rodeo fun in person, which includes the annual Asphalt Cowboys Pancake Breakfast, the largest outdoor breakfast in America, visit reddingrodeo.com.

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