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Your guide to Shasta Lake
All About Shasta Lake
Pine-covered hills surround the blue-green waters of Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir in the state. Just outside of Redding in Northern California, Shasta Lake is surrounded on all sides by protected forests, making this a great base for exploring the region. The lake is perfect for kayaking and boating, and anglers can try their hand at catching largemouth and smallmouth bass and catfish. Shasta Lake is in close proximity to several national parks, but the closest is Shasta Trinity National Forest. Here you’ll find hiking trails for trekkers of all skill levels, along with mountain bike paths and opportunities for rock climbing. If you wish to enjoy the pristine forest from the comfort of your car, there are a number of scenic drives you can take through the park.
Since there are very few roads nearby, you can escape the crowds in the secluded trails and hidden coves that surround the lake on even the busiest of days. In town, you’ll find a main boulevard with a handful of mom-and-pop restaurants, grocery stores, and family-owned shops, and if you want to learn more about the area, you can visit the Shasta Lake Heritage Museum.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Shasta Lake
Thanks to the moderate, albeit somewhat unpredictable, weather of Northern California, Shasta Lake is a great destination to visit during all seasons. During the warm summer days, you will find the lake full of people enjoying the sunshine, bringing an energetic vibe to the area.
During the fall and spring, things are much quieter, but this is a lovely time to book a cabin in Shasta Lake as the spring flowers and autumn leaves fill the surrounding forests with bursts of color. In the winter, the lake gets very quiet, but visitors flock to nearby Mount Shasta downhill and cross-country skiing. Winter also offers the perfect opportunity to visit the Shasta Lake Caverns without the crowds, as the network of caves remains the same temperature all year round. Around the holiday season, Redding hosts a Winterfest Spectacular with light displays, handmade goods for sale, and live music. Whenever you go, make sure to pack lots of layers as the weather can be changeable.
Top things to do in Shasta Lake
Shasta Lake Reservoir
Formed after the construction of the Shasta Dam, this reservoir, the largest in California, features nearly 370 miles of beautiful coastline. Thanks to its serene, crystal-clear waters, it has become a popular recreation spot, surrounded by rolling green hills covered with dense forest. During the summer, the lake is dotted with houseboats, sailboats, and swimmers.
Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark
Lying around 900 feet above Shasta Lake in the McCloud Limestone Mountain Range, this stunning 250 million-year-old cavern complex is considered one of the most beautiful limestone caves in the world. The caverns are reached via a scenic boat ride across Shasta Lake where you will hop on a short bus ride through pristine forests to the cave entrance. Inside, you’ll find a cave dripping with stalactites and featuring close to 40 otherworldly rock formations.
A feat of modern engineering, this 428-foot-tall arch-gravity dam — one of the largest in the US — stretches across the Sacramento River, where it meets Shasta Lake. An impressive sight to see, the dam helps form the Shasta Lake Reservoir while producing hydroelectric power. The dam is open for three-hour-long guided tours where you have the chance to ride an elevator down to the base of the dam and check out the powerhouse and inner workings.