Head­quar­ters for out­door ad­ven­tures

Travel Guide to California - - REDDING - BY DAVID ARM­STRONG

CRE­ATED BY MIN­ING and the rail­roads in the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies, this city of 90,000 in the far north­ern reaches of Cal­i­for­nia has di­ver­si­fied its econ­omy and cul­ture in re­cent years to emerge as an en­gag­ing travel des­ti­na­tion.

Lo­cated three-hours’ drive north­east of San Fran­cisco on In­ter­state 5 be­side the Sacra­mento River, Red­ding takes full ad­van­tage of its many nearby nat­u­ral won­ders. It’s an ideal base for ex­plor­ing Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, Mount Lassen Vol­canic Na­tional Park and Trin­ity-shasta Na­tional Park. These prime at­trac­tions of­fer cycling, hik­ing, climb­ing, fish­ing and camp­ing. The 11-mile Sacra­mento River Na­tional Recre­ation Trail, an as­phalt path for walk­ers and cy­clists, fol­lows the river.

Tur­tle Bay Ex­plo­ration Park, lo­cated near down­town, is an­chored by one of Cal­i­for­nia’s best ex­am­ples of contemporary ar­chi­tec­ture and en­gi­neer­ing: Sundial Bridge, de­signed by the renowned Span­ish ar­chi­tect San­ti­ago Cala­trava. A strik­ing, can­tilevered beauty for walk­ers and cy­clists, with a translu­cent, hard­ened glass walk­way, it pre­miered in 2004 and be­came an in­stant icon of Red­ding. At one end of the white, 700-foot-long bridge is the span’s name­sake: a sundial, one of the largest in the world. Tur­tle Bay Ex­plo­ration Park also in­cludes the Red­ding Vis­i­tor Cen­ter at 844 Sundial Drive.

With more than 300 days of sun­shine a year, Red­ding is first and fore­most an out­door recre­ation hub. The Sacra­mento River and nearby lakes help lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike to beat the area’s sum­mer heat with am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for swim­ming, kayak­ing and other wa­ter­sports; 30,000acre Shasta Lake is an es­pe­cially pop­u­lar place to chill. Tak­ing free guided tours and walk­ing across 602-foot-high Shasta Dam are pop­u­lar, too.

Views of 14,179-foot Mount Shasta are am­ply avail­able in city and coun­try­side. Be­hold­ing the snow­capped vol­canic peak in 1874, nat­u­ral­ist John Muir ex­claimed, “When I first caught sight of it, I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.’’

Red­ding does not ne­glect in­door fun. Per­for­mances are staged year-round in the beau­ti­fully re­stored Cascade The­atre, a 997seat city land­mark built in Art Deco style and opened in 1934.

SUNDIAL BRIDGE top; Shasta Lake Dam, be­low.

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