Not many of us think of heading north to Redding and the eight-county Shasta Cascade region in winter; it’s known to be a spring-summer-fall destination for the most part. But winter is a great time for you and your dog to enjoy gorgeous landscapes in uncrowded conditions. Snow? Every once in awhile, but white stuff can be found in every direction but south (and south is for the birds, anyway)!
No matter how many times you’ve visited Redding, there are some dog-friendly “musts,” including photo ops on the iconic Sundial Bridge, a stroll along the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail and a hike across massive Shasta Dam, which holds back the waters of the state’s largest reservoir. If you can swing it, stay at the pet-friendly Sheraton Redding Hotel at Sunrise Bridge. It’s an ideal location for DogTrekkers, with lots to see right outside the door and an excellent restaurant, Mosaic, offering covered outdoor patio dining.
Once settled, charge up your camera, put on your hiking boots and head for the falls–waterfalls, that is. Hedge Creek Falls in Dunsmuir, an hour north of Redding in the shadow of 14,180-foot Mount Shasta.
The falls are right off Interstate 5 via a short path. There’s a generous parking lot, a viewing platform and a cave beneath the falls that your dog may or may not want to enter!
If you have more time, gear up for a 3.8-mile round-trip hike to gawk at Lower, Upper and Middle falls on the gorgeous McCloud River. The hike from Middle to Upper takes only about five minutes, and this month and next they’ll be gushing.