The drive from Redding to Arcata on CA-299 is glorious. I traveled it yesterday on my way to Redwood National and State Parks and was struck by its colorful show. Oak, maple, sumac and other changing foliage provide a blend of bright yellow to irridescent orange, to incredible chartreuse tones amidst contrasting buff, brown, black and green. Right now, the Redding/Arcata drive is as good as it gets.
Begin with an overnight stay in Redding, in order to walk Sundial Bridge after dark (the bridge’s aqua blue glass deck is illuminated at night and a must see). The following morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, perhaps including a visit to Turtle Bay Exploration Park and its excellent museum, then take your time enjoying the drive to Arcata with stops at Whiskeytown Lake NRA and lunch in Weaverville with its quirky exterior spiral staircases and colorful Joss House. Between Whiskeytown and Weaverville, the forest literally was afire with shades of orange and yellow. Beyond Weaverville to Arcata, the color is as impressive, particularly along rivers and in drainages.