Whether you go all out for a strenuous hike or prefer a walk on the mild side, there’s no shortage of DogTrekking options in a region blanketed by national forests and other public lands. For an overview of all things Shasta, from lake to mountain to dam, tackle the Chamise Peak Trail just outside Redding. It climbs from the Flanagan Trail to the top of the highest spine in the region, offering 360-degree views at the apex of a 5-mile, out-and-back route.
The climb will give you a taste of the more than 200 miles of trails through private and public partnerships in and around Redding, the self-proclaimed Trail Capital of California. Fall is an exceptional time to enjoy the views from the Upper Sacramento Ditch Trail, which traces the route of historic waterworks that once supplied miners’ sluice boxes. Three bridges along the northern section of the path span gorges that gush with waterfalls in springtime and offer arresting views of Shasta Lake and Keswick Reservoir at any time of year. Numerous trails branch off for strenuous hikes into the hills.
For another walk on the mild side, check out the Great Shasta Rail Trail, which opened last fall and will eventually stretch 80 miles from McCloud (Siskiyou County to Burney (Shasta County), both about an hour from Redding. The segments open so far include a 13-mile stretch from Pilgrim Creek Road to Bartle, a 13-mile branch trail from Bartle to Hambone and an 11-mile section from Burney to the Lake Britton “Stand By Me” railroad trestle. The Great Shasta Rail Trail Association and Shasta Land Trust have been instrumental in making this long-term project a reality.
The Bizz Johnson Rail Trail is another long-distance conversion from railroad to footpath; it runs 25 miles from Susanville to Mason Station.
Also close to Redding, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is one of few swaths of National Park Service land that welcomes dogs outside of campgrounds. Your four-legged buddy is welcome to accompany you on almost all the park’s 70 miles of trails and everywhere else except four designated swimming beaches. No worries if your pup’s a water hound: Although you may have to scramble down a bank, you’ll find miles of shoreline where your pup can swim and fetch sticks to her heart’s content.