Gary Pearl/Courtesy of O.A.R.S.

Lower Klamath River

Lower Klamath River
Kid-friendly paddling with swimming holes, wildlife, and waterfalls

Turn your landlocked toddler into a happy river rat on this three-day, two-night camping and rafting trip on the warm waters of the Lower Klamath. The mellow Class II rapids are just splashy enough to be exciting for kids, yet not too nerve-wracking for Mom and Dad. Parents can kick back while river guides do all the work: set up camp, fix meals, explain the region’s fascinating mining history, and teach the kids how to look for Bigfoot. Children as young as four are welcome, and they don’t need to know how to swim; personal floatation devices keep everyone safe. The whimsical name of the trip’s toughest rapid—Dragon’s Tooth—says it all.

The days are so warm during the June to August rafting season that no one gets boat fever on this trip. You’re out of the boat more than you’re in it, enjoying the Klamath’s sandy beaches and warm water for splashing around. Don’t miss the hike through the rainforest of Ukonom Creek, where two side-by-side waterfalls cascade into a deep swimming hole. In the evening, paddle up to camp and savor the sunset while you dine, then sleep like the righteous under starry skies.

Wildlife watching is a big highlight on the Lower Klamath. Bald eagles and ospreys soar above the alder- and fir-lined canyon, and beavers and river otters glide through the water. Trips start in Happy Camp, an hour and a half drive west of Yreka, so it’s easy to combine this watery adventure with a visit to Redwood National and State Parks. Several companies, including O.A.R.S. and Tributary Whitewater Tours, offer guided overnight trips.

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Discover Shasta Cascade

74
September
Average (°F)
Sept - Nov
90°
High
41°
Low
Sept - Nov
90°
High
41°
Low
Mar - May
80°
High
43°
Low
June - Aug
98°
High
61°
Low

California’s northeast corner is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with safe-to-explore volcanoes, hushed forests, and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds, and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking.

"When I first caught sight of it I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”  --Author John Muir, upon seeing Mount Shasta in 1874.

All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester, and inviting rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Rachid Dahnoun

Whiskeytown Lake

Paddle, fish, or just relax atop Gold Rush history

Summer isn’t complete without a mountain-lake swim, so drive west from Redding and dip your toes in the warm, crystal-clear waters of...

Courtesy of Belcampo

Belcampo Meat Camp

Go glamping and grilling at this chef-worthy barbecue getaway

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Groveb/Getty Images
Lassen Volcanic National Park is the only place on Earth where all four types of volcano can be seen.
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Trip 4- 6 days 10 stops

Volcanoes to the Sea

Booming Waterfalls, Craft Breweries
Sacramento

Begin your trip in the center of the state, home to the capital city of Sacramento. Like many cities, California’s state capital is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this low-key city, with microbreweries, gastropubs, and trendy boutiques...

Eureka

After so much wildness for so much of your trip, Eureka is an inviting and lively switch. This once rough-and-tumble seaport town, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, has split-personality charm: a sense of history in the handsomely restored, Victorian-era Old...

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Burney Falls

Visit a booming cascade nicknamed the “eighth wonder of the world”

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state—if not the continent—this 129-foot-tall, fern-draped cascade seems to come out of nowhere....

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Shasta Lake

Rent a houseboat to explore the state’s largest reservoir

There’s plenty of room to move on this 30,000-acre/12,140-hectare reservoir, the largest in California. A typical summer day finds the crystal...

Shasta Dam contains enough concrete to build a 3-foot sidewalk around the world at the equator.
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Sundial Bridge

Stroll a futuristic bridge across the Sacramento River

A functional work of art, the remarkable bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled...

Redding's Sundial Bridge is the largest sundial in the world.
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Tehama Trail Farms & Ranches

Visit farms and farm stands along the Sacramento River

Established by local farmers, the Tehama Trail meanders through rural communities, linking together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and...

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Mount Shasta

Experience wildflower meadows, year-round snowfields, and a New-Age-y vibe

Soaring to 14,179 feet/4,322 meters high, this magnificent volcano scrapes the turquoise-blue sky, north of Redding, a totem from almost anywhere...

Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fly Fishing

Cast a fly in blue-ribbon waters

Between the volcanic summits of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen flow some of California’s most celebrated fly fishing rivers. Blue-ribbon waters lace...

Shasta Cascade's Craft Breweries
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Shasta Cascade's Craft Breweries

Hoist a mug to the Californian brewers who redefined the art of ale

Northern California was the wellspring of the craft beer movement, which can be loosely traced from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco to Sierra...

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Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

John/Flickr
Going to the mountains is going home.
John Muir
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Annual festivals liven up this quiet corner of California

The Shasta Cascade region is a year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts and local events celebrate its natural bounty, from crawdads to wild rice. An annual Tribute to the Trees at Dunsmuir...

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Oroville Temple

Oroville

Find a Far East gem in this Gold Rush era town

Located on the banks of the Feather River where it flows out of the Sierra Nevada into the Central Valley flatlands, this Gold Rush town...

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Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

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Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
Cyril Fluck/Flickr

Lava Beds National Monument

Descend into eerie and historic lava tube caves

A surreal landscape sculpted by molten earth, Lava Beds National Monument contains volcanic tablelands punctuated by cinder cones, pit craters,...

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Lava, geysers & naturally heated hot springs

From the snow-capped heights of Mount Shasta in California’s far north to Amboy Crater in the Mojave Desert, signs of California’s volcanic past—and present—dot the landscape. Explore these...

Grant Montgomery/Flickr
Lava Beds National Monument was a training ground for astronauts heading to the moon.