Redding is unusual for a city, in that a major natural area passes through its center. That natural area is the Sacramento River.
Preserved green space flanks each side of the river to provide some flood protection to the city, preserve the riparian environment and provide a corridor of recreation.
The Sacramento River Trail is this week’s Hike of the Week.
It is a National Recreation Trail with miles of biking, walking and running path, Turtle Bay Exploration Park with its children’s discovery museum, museum of art, history and nature, wildlife discovery museum, a riparian forest tree walk, the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens (that focuses on California native plants) and lots of natural fall color.
The trail travels from scenic Shasta Dam at Shasta Lake, 17.4 miles to Sundial Bridge in Redding.
Sundial Bridge is one of three scenic and historic bridges that cross the river. Designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, Sundial Bridge is an actual working sundial, casting its towering shadow across an arc from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is not accurate in winter, however, as its shadow is too far into the adjacent arboretum to be seen.
When the bridge’s shadow is visible, it moves at a rate of one foot per minute. The remarkable, steel, glass and granite structure evokes a sense of weightlessness, and its translucent glass deck glows blue green at night.
The bridge’s cable-stayed, 217-foot pylon supports the bridge, allowing spawning grounds for salmon beneath the bridge to remain untouched.
Other bridges along the trail include the 1915 Diestelhorst Bridge – first to cross the Sacramento River – and a 418-foot stress ribbon bridge, the first of its kind in America.
Snow has curtailed color spotter Shanda Ochs’ reporting from Lassen Volcanic National Park, but encouraged her to explore the Sacramento River Trail and return with this report.
Shanda notes that some remaining fall color can be seen at Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic, though the park is mostly past peak. Nevertheless, she found lots to enjoy along the Sacramento River Trail in Redding’s Caldwell Park.
Most of the trees there are non-native, though there are Fremont cottonwood, bigleaf maple, Oregon ash and willow among them. The color ranges from bold red-orange to splashes of yellow and gold. The river bank is inhabited mostly by native oak woodland and though we rate Redding as peaking, the color should continue develop for a week or two more.
Redding – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!