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Escape the Crowds with a Road Trip in UpState California

California is a simply astounding place. It stretches for 900 miles along the west coast of the United States and encompasses world-famous gems such as Yosemite National Park, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and many more. But along with such well known destinations come tons of tourists. Escape the crowds with a road trip to the Shasta Cascade region of UpState California. Here, there are just as many outdoor adventures to experience with a fraction of the traffic!

This story was created in partnership with Visit USA Parks.

Find Out Why Redding is UpState CA's Adventure Hub

Redding is the perfect jumping-off point for your adventures in UpState CA. Fly into the local airport or Sacramento (two hours away). Then, drop your bags off at the Sheraton Redding Hotel, located conveniently downtown at the iconic Sundial Bridge. That afternoon, the kids will love checking out neighboring Turtle Bay Exploration Park where they can learn about local indigenous history and culture, interact with animals such as Timber the beaver, feed lorikeets by hand, let loose on a number of playgrounds, and more.

The next morning, head to Pedego Redding where a fleet of e-bikes from cruisers to mountain bikes awaits. We recommend heading directly down the Sacramento River Trail to explore sights like the arboretum and Sundial Bridge. More ambitious cyclists can pack a picnic and go 17.4 miles all the way to Shasta Dam. No matter how far you ride you will be thrilled with the power of electricity in your wheels!

Go On a Trail Ride at the Wild Horse Sanctuary

That afternoon, journey towards the mountains to the Wild Horse Sanctuary. This wonderful operation is a true labor of love and home to 300 wild mustangs. You’ll have the chance to go for a picnic trail ride (Saturdays only) on the property and see the wild horses, learn about local flora and fauna, and soak in expansive views. Not visiting on a Saturday? You can still visit the wild horses on Wednesdays, too!

That evening, celebrate a surreal first day in UpState CA with a cocktail and indulgent meal from Mosaic, the Sheraton’s mouth-watering partner restaurant. We also recommend taking a peek at the Sundial Bridge after sunset!

Explore Shasta Lake and Shasta Caverns

The next morning, road trip north to Shasta Lake. This beautiful body of water is a favorite spot for boating, but our favorite thing to do is check out Shasta Caverns. This natural labyrinth of caves was formed 250 million years ago. Today, Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark is a must on any road trip in UpState California. Ask for “Cave Dave” as your guide and enjoy a wonder-filled tour through a series of mesmerizing natural passageways. You'll also get to experience a short trip across the lake on both the beginning and end of the tour.

Road Trip Through Scenic Northern California

Get lunch in the town of Mt. Shasta, where weather-permitting the mountain is a sight to behold! Stretch your legs with a meander through town before continuing to your next stop, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. The central feature of the park is the stunning 129-foot Burney Falls. Walk the short one-mile Falls Loop Trail to take in the waterfall from all angles, then it’s back on the road! You’ll enjoy miles of scenic roadway that culminates with a drive through Lassen Volcanic National Park. (Note: please fuel up your car at the northern entrance to the park, as services are limited on the southern side.)

Enjoy sunset views of Manzanita Lake and Lassen Peak along the 30-mile park road before arriving at your home for the night—the Village at Childs Meadow. Chances are you’ll be ready for a hearty dinner! We recommend nearly anything on the menu paired with a locally brewed Khaki Hat lager from Lassen Ale Works at the Highlands Ranch Resort.

Go Hiking in Lassen Volcanic National Park

On your final day, rise as the sun crests the mountain into Childs Meadow. Bacon and coffee are served hot at the restaurant and are great fuel for a day of hiking! The two most iconic hikes in Lassen Volcanic National Park are Lassen Peak and Bumpass Hell. With over 150 miles of trails to explore, you’ll find something perfect for the whole family. Keep in mind that this region is at altitude (much of it over 7,000 feet), so temperatures will be significantly lower than in Redding. It also might be a little harder to catch your breath during your hike and it's that much more important to stay hydrated!

Getting back in the car that afternoon for your next destination or flight. You’ll be amazed at how much you experienced in just three days in UpState California!