I recently took a trip to Redding, in Northern California since its a lesser known destination with tons of cool, nearby nature activities. I did a lot of research beforehand to ensure everything would be safe and built an itinerary to optimize my 3-day/2-night trip. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park since it was one of the coolest national parks I’ve been to in California. It’s also not as widely known yet so was empty when I went. Below is an overview of my itinerary.
DAY 1: LEAVE SAN FRANCISCO, TO BURNEY FALLS & REDDING
- 10AM: leave San Francisco to Burney Falls.
- Burney Falls is a 4-5 hour drive from the Bay Area. Since Airbnb check-in’s don’t happen until 4PM, we decided to head here first then check-in after.
- 2:30PM: arrive at Burney Falls.
- There’s a $10 car entrance fee. I went on Labor Day so Burney Falls was pretty crowded, (the majority of people were also not wearing a mask). So I recommend coming on a weekday if you want to avoid crowds of people. The walk to Burney Falls is VERY easy, there’s a short pathway to the waterfall from the parking lot which is about a 5-minute walk. There’s also a short loop hike (past the waterfall), which I recommend since it’s easy, 1.3 miles round trip, and has beautiful views of the lake. The hike ends back at the parking lot.
- 3:30PM: leave Burney Falls to Redding, where our Airbnb is
- I booked this entire home on Airbnb and it was extremely clean, spacious, and had a beautiful backyard with a pool that was connected to the Sacramento River. Highly recommend staying here. I loved how peaceful it was.
- 5PM: arrive in Redding at our Airbnb
- We did a lot of driving this day but it was worth it. Once we got to the Airbnb we relaxed, took a dip in the pool, and enjoyed our peaceful view of the Sacramento River.
DAY 2: EXPLORING LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK
- 9AM: leave Redding and drive to Lassen Volcanic National Park
- it’s a very easy drive, with little traffic. There were a few 1-way roads, so hopefully you don’t get stuck behind a slow car (unless you are the slow car, haha).
- 10AM: arrive in Lassen Volcanic National Park
- there’s a $30 car entrance fee and they give you a map that highlights all the scenic spots. I’ll highlight the ones I went to and recommend:
- Manzanita Lake: huge beautiful lake with various view points. Easily accessible from the parking lot.
- Summit Lake: lake with clean, mirror like water and a designated parking lot.
- Lake Helen: this was the prettiest lake I saw at Lassen. The waters were so blue and the mountains including Lassen Peak were perfectly placed in the background.
- Bumpass Hell: this was my favorite thing at Lassen Volcanic National Park, and the most strenuous (although not difficult). It’s a 3-mile/2-hour round trip hike with beautiful views and a majestic ending. I’ve never seen anything like Bumpass Hell before and it felt like you were in another world.
- Sulphur Works: there’s a parking lot next door, so this is very easy to get to. I loved seeing all the different colors of the rocks from the natural gases across Sulphur Works.
- 3PM: leave Lassen Volcanic National Park
- 4:30PM: arrive in Redding. The drive back took 1.5 hours since we left the park via the Southwest entrance which was further away. Overall the drive was really easy with no traffic.
DAY 3: VISIT SUNDIAL BRIDGE AND DRIVE BACK TO THE BAY
- 10AM: visit Sundial Bridge
- This bridge is the largest working sundial in the world and crosses the Sacramento River. A must-see if you’re in the area since it’s a quick stop, unique, and the views are beautiful.
- 11AM: Drive back to the Bay Area
- 3PM: arrive in San Francisco
I had other things on my list that I didn’t get to do. So if you’re in the area longer and want more ideas, here are other things I wish I had time for: Lake Shasta, Mossbrae Falls, McCloud Falls, Cinder cone. Enjoy and safe travels!