Whatever your plans, you’ll want to start with a lingering visit to the Sundial Bridge, a pedestrian span over the Sacramento River designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Its 214-foot, angled iron pylon serves as a gnomon, making it the world’s largest sundial. The bridge is a thing of grace and beauty that’s been pulling cars off the highway since it opened in 2004. Dog-friendly trails hug the river on both sides, and parking is free and plentiful.
Plus, the bridge sits smack in the middle of Turtle Bay Exploration Park, which includes a museum with indoor/outdoor natural history exhibits (admission charged; not dog-friendly) and, on the north side of the bridge, the 200-acre McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens (walk part of it for free and/or donate admission payable to the “iron ranger” at the east or west entrances). Check out guided walks for gardening fans as well as nursery plants to take home.
Another “must see” Redding attraction: Shasta Dam, a 602-foot-high marvel holding back Shasta Lake, largest reservoir in California. It’s the second-largest concrete dam in the country (after Grand Coulee in Washington), and it’s a marvel to behold. You and your leashed pet can walk the dam’s length (.66 miles) and connect with a vast network of dog-friendly trails.
For trailhead and parking information, go to DogTrekker’s Redding Trails page and/or refer to individual trail maps at healthyshasta.org. For an interpretive drive guide, check out the Shasta Dam/Shasta Lake Scenic Byway.
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Photo Credit: @heartbreaker_fluff