Surrounded by densely forested, snow-capped mountains, Redding CA is located in Northern California, roughly halfway between the capital city of Sacramento and the Oregon border. You may know this town as a great place to stop along I-5 when traveling anywhere between San Diego and Seattle, but do you know these 10 fun facts about Redding?
A special thanks to Visit Redding for inviting my daughter and me to experience Redding, CA. But you can count on me to always share my honest opinions, regardless of who foots the bill.
Have You Visited Redding CA?
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1. It’s the Biggest City of its Kind
In the nation’s most populous state, it’s hard to imagine a town of less than 100,000 residents as big, but Redding is the largest California city north of Sacramento.
How big is Redding CA?
The town has a population of about 95,000 and covers approximately 60 square miles.
2. A River Runs Through It
Speaking of size, nine miles of the Sacramento River – the Golden State’s largest – runs through Redding CA. One of the best things to do in Redding CA is to hike or bike the Sacramento River Trail. This 5.5-mile loop around the river is mostly flat and completely paved, making it ideal for strolling along the river, watching for wildlife, and admiring Redding’s natural beauty.
3. Redding is the Trail Capital of California
With more than 100 miles of trails within a 15-mile radius of the city, Redding offers hikers, bikers, and runners many options beyond the Sacramento River Trail. In fact, by following the Sacramento River Trail to the Sacramento River Rail Trail, you can hike or bike from the Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam.
4. It is Home to the World’s Largest Sundial
While several bridges span the Sacramento River in Redding, the Sundial Bridge is truly one of a kind. Designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava as part of an effort to increase tourism in the area, the bridge resembles a larger-than-life sundial.
With its $23 million price tag, the Sundial Bridge is more expensive than the swankiest Rolex. And much less reliable. The Sundial Bridge only tells time accurately one day a year – during the summer solstice on June 21st.
Since you’ll probably use your cell phone or Apple Watch as a timepiece, admire the Sundial Bridge for its architectural beauty and instead use it as a pedestrian crossing over the Sacramento River at Turtle Bay.
5. It’s One of the Sunniest Cities in the US
With 249 sunny days a year, Redding CA is one of the sunniest cities in the US. That’s 70% more sunshine than Portland and 20% more sunshine than Seattle. And Redding’s average possible sunshine (yeah, that’s a thing) is 88%, second in the US only to Yuma, Arizona.
6. But the Redding CA Weather is Hotter Than You Might Expect In the Summer
If you’re like me and automatically expect Northern California to have warm (but not too hot) summers with highs ranging from the mid 70s to mid 80s, then you’re in for a surprise when you visit Redding. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to regularly approach triple digits, especially in July and August.
To put those figures into perspective, consider this: Redding has the hottest summer temps anywhere in California north of the Mojave Desert.
Why is Redding so hot?
The beautiful mountains that encircle the city, providing scenic landscapes, also block Redding from the ocean and delta breezes that help keep other nearby cities cooler.
7. Redding CA is the Gateway to Three Shastas
What are the three Shastas? Mount Shasta, Shasta Lake, and Shasta Dam.
You’ll be treated to beautiful views of Mount Shasta throughout Redding. A short drive north of town, Mount Shasta is the highest California mountain in the Cascades, and only Washington’s Mount Rainier is taller in the entire mountain range. Mount Shasta is a stratovolcano with four overlapping volcanic cones and is considered an active volcano.
Immediately to the north of Redding, with 365 miles of shoreline, Shasta Lake is one of the largest lakes in the Western US. But with its long, narrow arms, I think Shasta Lake looks more like a handful of finger lakes than a traditional large pool of water like nearby Whiskeytown Lake.
And the last of the Three Shastas is Shasta Dam. When it was completed in 1945, the Shasta Dam spillway was the largest manmade waterfall in the world.
With the Sacramento River running through it and Shasta and Whiskeytown Lakes just to its north, it shouldn’t be too much of a suprise that Redding CA boasts some water-filled fun facts.
8. Redding is the Kayak Capital of the World
In an article about “weird obsessions,” Time named Redding the Unofficial Capital of Kayaking. While I think paddling through the clear water, breathing in mountain air, and listening to the sounds of nature, is more calming than “weird,” it sure beats being the Unofficial Capital of Badminton, an honor bestowed upon San Jose.
9. And the Houseboat Capital of the World
Recreational houseboating began in the late 1940s when Americans were seeking opportunities to stay on the water for longer periods of time. And with the Shasta Dam forming Shasta Lake around the same time, houseboats and Shasta Lake were a natural pairing.
Due to its massive size, the lake commonly accommodates as many as 450 houseboats at a time, more than any other body of water in the world. And that has earned Shasta Lake the nickname “Houseboat Capital of the World.”
10. Plus Redding Offers Fantastic Fishing Spots
If the biggest town north of Sacramento’s natural beauty, cool bridge, and scenic trails haven’t convinced you to visit, then how about the fishing? Whether you drop your line from a houseboat on Shasta Lake or the rocky bank near the Sundial Bridge, the stretch of the Sacramento River that runs from Shasta Dam through Redding CA is considered to be the world’s third-best tail water (water that flows from a dam) in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions About Redding CA
Is there an airport in Redding CA?
Although it’s small, Redding Municipal Airport is a full-service airport with nonstop flights to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Burbank through Alaska, United, and Avelo Airlines.
As an alternative, the Sacramento International Airport is about two and a half hours south of Redding on I-5.
How big is Redding CA?
Redding has a population of about 90,000 people, making it the largest California city north of Sacramento.
How far is Redding CA from Sacramento?
Redding is about 160 miles north of Sacramento. Allow about two and a half hours to make the drive using I-5.
What county is Redding CA in?
Redding is the largest city in Shasta County.
Does it snow in Redding CA?
With winters that rarely dip below freezing, it typically does not snow in Redding. While the city may see an occasional dusting, it averages one inch of snow per year compared to an average of 3.75 inches per year across the Golden State.
Have You Visited Redding CA?
What did you like most? Any additional tips and tricks to pass along? Share your experiences in the comments section below.