Outdoor Paradise in Northern California
30 May, 2017By: Peter Francesconi
When it comes to outdoor activities and adventures, Redding, California, is a paradise with endless possibilities.
Located right on the Sacramento River, 160 miles north of Sacramento and about a three-hour drive north of San Francisco, Redding offers outdoor options for all ages. This beautiful location, cradled by Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, offers more than 300 days of sunshine a year, cementing the town’s claim to being the “sunniest city in California.”
“Recreation and outdoor adventure are the primary draw to our region,” says Sabrina Charlson, sports commissioner for the Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We have a lot to offer here in Redding — not only with our facilities and parks but the wide array of natural attractions and recreation.”
Playing in the Parks
The area has an abundance of state and national parks, suitable for many activities, including running and cycling events, along with all types of water sports. With over 225 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails surrounding Redding, it is no wonder the San Francisco Chronicle called the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail the “Gem of the U.S. Trail System.”
To help promote the trails around Redding, Mayor Brent Weaver created the Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge. “Redding is fortunate to have world-class trails with year-round access,” he says. “You’ll be amazed at the beauty and quality of our trails.” The inaugural Challenge is being held now through May 19, in which participants receive a “passport” and complete a series of rides (in either beginner, intermediate or advanced categories), then are entered into a raffle for various prizes.
The area hosts a variety of cycling events with trails that suit all types of cycling, both challenging and recreational. Along the way riders can take in some amazing sights, including crossing the internationally acclaimed Sundial Bridge (which is an actual, working sundial), right in the middle of town and considered the hub of Redding’s impressive trail system. Trails fan out from either end of the bridge with varying degrees of distance and difficulty.
The trails around Redding also host the annual Redding Marathon, a full 26.2-mile event that is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. “When you see what we offer for biking, running and of course water sports, what you have is a perfect environment for hosting triathlons,” Charlson says. “We could easily host top-quality triathlons — they’d not only be challenging events but would take place in an area with unparalleled beauty and variety.”
In fact, there is a huge potential for all sorts of water sports in Redding, from swimming, boating and kayaking, to regattas, fishing and much more.
“Our summers are beautiful, and the water is so inviting,” Charlson notes. “Not only do we have amazing lakes and streams throughout this region, but we have the beautiful Sacramento River running right through the heart of town.” In fact, Time.com called Redding the “Unofficial Capital of Kayaking.”
Redding also offers up some of the best fishing in Northern California, and is the center of some of the best fly-fishing in the region. With the temperate climate, fishing is year-round, and because the Sacramento River runs cold and swift, it creates one of the best fisheries in the country.
The area is home to famous trout-fishing waters in the Lower Sacramento River and Upper Sac, and Redding is the only West Coast town to be named to Forbes.com’s list of “North America’s Top 10 Trout Fishing Towns.”
Redding Soccer Park
Sports tournament and event owners can find a very inviting atmosphere in Redding, too. For instance, the Redding Soccer Park is a one-of-a kind, “state-of-the-sport” 22-acre facility that features four all-weather synthetic turf NCAA regulation-size lighted fields, providing an ideal location for year-round play.
Located at the top of the Sacramento Valley and the gateway to the mountains, the park was designed to offer an exceptional soccer experience, with unique features and amenities. Paved walkways weave throughout, and the seating around the fields is elevated. There’s also a full-service restaurant (serving healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner) with more than 2,000 square feet of covered seating, equipped with ceiling fans and misting stations. From the covered seating area, spectators can view the action on all four fields. There are also playgrounds and other equipment for younger attendees.
For players, each soccer field has permanent benches in the team area along with misting stations and drinking water provided. Among events at the Soccer Park are the Soccerkraze Invitational each March, drawing top teams from a number of states, the Wonderland Tournament in September with competitive and recreational divisions for U10 to U19, and the Smash Cup for boys and girls in U12 to U19 age groups in October. The park also hosts soccer camps and clinics, along with coach and referee clinics. In addition, the Soccer Park plays host to Ultimate events.
Baseball and Softball
Those who have dreamed of playing in a big-league ballpark will find Redding’s Big League Dreams Sports Park to be the right place. The 30-acre sports complex includes scaled-down replicas of three famous ballparks: Boston’s Fenway Park, New York’s Yankee Stadium and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. All the fields are designed to accommodate youth baseball, youth fast-pitch softball and adult slow-pitch softball.
The facilities at Big League Dreams include a field house, batting cages, playground and stadium seating. The Stadium Club restaurant offers views of all three replica stadiums. There’s also a 20,000-square-foot indoor pavilion that can accommodate leagues and tournaments for indoor soccer, inline hockey, basketball and more. For additional versatility, the complex has sand volleyball courts and a children’s play area.
Rodeos, Pools, Golf and Archery
For equine events, there’s the Redding Rodeo Grounds, with its outdoor arena that can seat more than 5,000, and up to 6,100 with added bleacher seating. The lighted venue joined a select group of rodeo sites in 2016 when it became an inductee into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. The Rodeo Grounds can hold all types of activities, including BMX biking and motorcycle racing.
The state-of-the-art Redding Aquatic Center features an Olympic-size, 50-meter by 25-yard competition-class swimming pool. There’s also a recreation pool with zero-depth entry, a children’s play feature and a 160-foot water slide.
The area also is home to several golf courses, which offer a variety of challenging play along with stunning views. Among the top courses are Gold Hills Golf Club, Palo Cedro Golf Course, Riverview Golf & Country Club, and Tierra Oaks Golf Club, along with a few nine-hole courses.
Redding also boasts the world’s largest marked 3-D archery competition, the Western Classic Trail Shoot, held May 5-7 on a 65-acre site owned by the Straight Arrow Bow Hunters.
Planning an Event
For athletes, families and visitors, when not competing, there are a ton of things to do, whether it’s taking advantage of the recreation and amazing natural beauty of the area, exploring the vibrant downtown scene, shopping, dining or just relaxing.
There are dozens of hotels and motels to stay at in Redding that can suit all budgets, along with a number of bed & breakfasts. The city is an easy — and pretty — drive from Sacramento and San Francisco. There is also the Redding Municipal Airport, which is served by United and Pen Air.
“For athletes of all ages, and their families, we have so much to offer here, and it’s such a unique and beautiful setting,” Charlson says. “For event owners, tournament directors and coaches, we’re here to help in every way we can, so teams, families and spectators have an amazing experience here in Redding, both on and off the field.” SDM