OK, COVID-19 cost us some waterfall viewing time during their March/April peak flows, but the many waterfalls within an easy drive of where you are staying in Redding are still flowing.
For a quick taste, visit Hedge Creek Falls in Dunsmuir. It’s right off Interstate 5 via a short path, has a generous parking lot, a viewing platform for photo opps and a cave beneath the falls for sensory thrills (your dog may or may not want to go there, so be alert!)
Alas, the once popular (and dog-friendly) Waterfall Loop at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is not accessible this year. Massive damage from the Carr Fire has left just one path—the trail to Crystal Falls—open to hikers (check with the National Park Service for details). But there’s a great alternative: the McCloud River Falls. There are three levels—Lower, Upper and Middle—each with a different look and feel. The trio can be seen on a 3.8-mile round-trip hike. Or, if time is short, the hike from Middle to Upper Falls only takes about five minutes. In spring, the water is too cold for dipping (unless you’re a polar bear), but if you go in summer, bring a swimsuit as the river boasts some of the best swimming holes in California.
Tiny McCloud, a former lumber town on the southern slope of Mount Shasta, is not to be missed, even if just to walk down the main drag and scope out the historic and dog-friendly McCloud Hotel, dating from 1915 and lovingly restored. If you’re a camper, you’ll find lots of dog-friendly campgrounds in this neck of the of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.