Shasta Dam, the second-largest concrete dam in the United States (after Grand Coulee in Washington) is a wonder to behold, as is Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir in California. If it’s your first trip to Redding, put the pair of them high on your “must-see-and-do” list. The 602-foot-tall dam, begun during the Great Depression and completed during World War II, can be viewed from a vista point on Highway 151, the scenic road leading to the dam from Interstate 5 (exit No. 685).
But that’s just an appetizer. Park in the visitor center lot (next to a dog-friendly picnic area), leash up your pup and walk the dam’s 66-mile length for dramatic spillway views (be sure to choose a cool day so your pet’s paws won’t be burned). On the far side of the dam, the Sacramento River Rail Trail is a paved, multi-use path that follows a historic railroad alignment for almost 11 miles along turquoise-blue Keswick Reservoir, which captures icy water released from Shasta Lake.
The third “don’t miss” attraction in Redding: Sundial Bridge, an iconic pedestrian span over the Sacramento River that has been the tourism symbol of the city since its completion in 2004. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the stunning, 700-foot long bridge with a distinctive 217-foot pylon (which also serves as a sundial), is an object of beauty and grace. Stand at its center to watch anglers in boats below pulling up world-class trout. Cross to the far side and pick up plant identification skills as you explore a 1.4-mile trail winding through the McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. The bridge is also connected to the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail, crown jewel of Shasta County’s extensive trail system.
Photo Credit: Laurinda Willard