California: Whiskeytown Lake
January 1, 1970
by Jackie-Lee Bam
Imagine a hammock, a slight breeze and a view to die for. Trees, water creeks and the hot Californian summer air. Yes, dear friends, this is Whiskeytown Lake.
The past 10 months I lived California, I breathed California and I smelled California wherever I went. I eventually settled in, finding myself in a small town called Redding which can be found in the Northern Part of California, in The United States of America. You can literally drive through this town in 15 minuets, which I probably did quite a few times. What’s nice about this approach is if you are a walker, it’s helpful. Walking and cycling is one of the major ways people choose to get from place to place in this beautiful city.
Although this sounds pretty boring I can assure you, it’s everything but.
The beautiful city is surrounded by mountains in every direction. If you drive up North you have Mount Shasta, which is a great place for proper skiing during the winter. If you drive East you drive into a long stroke of Mount Lassen, which you’ve guessed, it is perfect for Sledding and Christmas tree chopping. Down South you’re in for a treat, because depending how far you drive you can go to Old Town Sacramento or Chick-fil-A, get Krispy Kreme donuts in Chico or drive all the way down to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Lastly, but probably my favorite, driving West. Driving West will provide you with a beautiful forest like pass. You’re driving to the coast baby, but not just any coast, the West coast. After a small 3 hour drive you have the beauty of The Redwoods as well as the coast going North and South for miles and miles. The best of both worlds.
This is just surrounding Whiskeytown Lake. Now imagine what I’ve just told you. Multiply it by 3 to get the density right and you’ve got yourself the perfect picture of Redding. That’s right! Mountains, trees, rivers, lakes(which is different from rivers) and beautiful sunsets wherever you go. Caves and creeks for the kids to explore and a pool-like Lake to hangout next to. Trails and more trails, this is a picture of Redding you won’t forget.
How does hitting a golfball into the Sacramento river, on purpose, sound? What about driving to Heavenly donuts at two in the morning? These are just two of the many unique aspects that I’ve enjoyed.
What to do at Whiskeytown Lake:
Try to smell a barbecue fragrance if you would. Now take that perfect smell and add creeks and trees and paddle boarding to it. Next add friends, children, deer, volleyball and tubes. Lastly add the hot summer air, a cold beer and some delicious snacks. There may also be some rope swings up, it could be hard to find since rangers take them down, but it sounds like a party. This is one of the funnest activities to do in the hot summers in Redding, which by the way, is the second sunniest city in the State.
Whiskeytown Lake is pretty humungous. There’s days and days of exploring to do, so naturally hiking and camping is pretty big. You may want to be aware of some black bears and mountain lions living in this district when approaching these activities. It may be best to never attempt these two specifically alone. But for the brave at heart, exploring the creeks, caves and camp grounds, I can assure you, you will have the time of your life. There’s quite a range of waterfalls if you know where to look and hike. It may be smart to befriend some locals, which is a super easy task. Since Redding is home to Bethel Church, there’s also an incredible amount of students at the ministry school. This means that you will probably find help easily when you have a flat tyre or need someone to show you around.
Going on hikes can be really fun. The chance that you will get lost is a possibility, but it’s not likely if you stay on marked trails. Now if you go exploring and wandering off on your own, well. Make sure to recognize landmarks that can help you find your way. Further just go have fun. This is the best area to just go and have fun.
Another great activity that you can do from any of Whiskeytown Lake’s beaches is star gazing. The stars are incredibly beautiful and majestically clear since it’s pitch black out there. Again, please don’t do this alone.
I do want to add some tips on safety and approaching Whiskeytown Lake:
- Don’t do dangerous activities on your own. I can’t stress this enough! The cell service is bad to almost nothing and it may be fatal in doing so.
- You need to purchase either a day pass ($10) or a year pass ($40), this is only for cars. They give hefty fines if you don’t. You can purchase at the entrance to the area.
- Don’t create bonfires if you don’t have a fire permit, which is free and easily obtainable at Free California Fire Permit. This permit is valid all over California.
- Make sure your hammock has long enough ropes, because strong trees may be far apart.
- Not all of the beaches have grills, so do some research about the beach you want to visit beforehand, especially if you want to cook food.
- Be aware of other people since this area is one of the only really fun places to go to in the summer, so there will be loads of people trying to escape the heat. Be nice!
- Lastly pinecones are perfect to help you start a fire, and hot chocolate and marshmallows may be a great idea.
Whiskeytown Lake is definitely one of my treasure, my all time favorites if you would. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you go to have fun and see something incredible, you will be amazed every single time. Even those with low expectations may be utterly surprised. Be ready, and go on the adventures of Whiskeytown Lake.