March is perhaps the prettiest and most temperate month of the year in Redding, a Northern California city that can warm up in summer (although there are some fabulous lakes where you can always cool off). With hills in vibrant-green mode and orchards bursting with pink-and-white blossoms, you’ll enjoy some great scenery along with your dog hike.
If you haven’t been here in awhile, start with the obvious: the Sundial Bridge, an iconic pedestrian span across the Sacramento River designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It was completed in 2004 and immediately became the “symbol” of Redding. It’s great for photo opps, and the adjacent, dog-friendly Sheraton Redding Hotel at Sundial Bridge is great for dog-friendly dining and overnight stays.
Even better, perhaps, is that the river is edged on both sides by a paved bike-and-hike trail. Redding prides itself as “California’s Trail Capital,” and the Sacramento River Trail is the gem of the system. It’s mostly flat and leads in just over 11 miles to Shasta Dam, the second-largest concrete dam in the country and one of Northern California’s most impressive man-made sights. There are many access and exit points, along the way, and the hike over the dam is unforgettable.
For something short and educational, take the Arboretum Loop Trail just across the Sundial Bridge. It circles the McConnel Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, rolling gently through riparian forests and wetlands along the Sacramento River. For something more strenuous: the Chamise Peak Trail leads to the highest spot atop the mountainous spine separating Keswick Reservoir from Shasta Lake, affords expansive views of the upper Sacramento River and the western Cascades.
For more Redding-area hike suggestions, click here.