Redding, CA: 10 Facts That Prove It’s Uniquely Special

A mural that reads "Greetings from Redding" on a brick walled background.

Surrounded by densely forested, snow-capped mountains, Redding, CA, is located in Northern California, roughly halfway between the capital city of Sacramento and the Oregon border. You may know this town as a great place to stop along Interstate 5 when traveling anywhere between San Diego and Seattle, but do you know these fun facts about Redding?

Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of Northern California, Redding, CA, is a treasure trove of natural wonders and sun-soaked adventures. It’s a place where the grandeur of densely forested, snow-capped mountains meets the relaxed charm of one of America’s sunniest cities.

Thanks to a kind invitation from Visit Redding, I had the delightful opportunity to explore this gem of a Northern California town. From its sprawling landscapes to its unique landmarks, join me as we uncover fun facts highlighting why Redding is a truly special destination.


Have You Visited Redding, CA?

Share your favorite photo with me by tagging @sagescott.kc on Instagram and using the hashtag #everydaywanderer

1. It’s the Biggest City of its Kind

In the nation’s most populous state, it’s hard to imagine a town of less than 100,000 residents as big, but Redding is the largest California city north of Sacramento. 

How big is Redding, CA?

The town has a population of about 95,000 and covers approximately 60 square miles.

A Redding CA bridge over a river.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

2. A River Runs Through It

Speaking of size, nine miles of the Sacramento River – the Golden State’s largest  – runs through Redding, CA. One of the best things to do in Redding, CA, is to hike or bike the Sacramento River Trail. This 5.5-mile loop around the river is mostly flat and completely paved, making it ideal for strolling along the river, watching for wildlife, and admiring Redding’s natural beauty.

A deer standing in the grass next to a wooden fence.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

3. Redding is the Trail Capital of California

With more than 100 miles of trails within a 15-mile radius of the city, Redding offers hikers, bikers, and runners many options beyond the Sacramento River Trail. In fact, by following the Sacramento River Trail to the Sacramento River Rail Trail, you can hike or bike from the Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam.

A bridge lit up at night with colorful lights.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

4. It is Home to the World’s Largest Sundial

While several bridges span the Sacramento River in Redding, the Sundial Bridge is truly one of a kind. Designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to increase tourism in the area, the cable-stayed, glass-bottom pedestrian bridge resembles a larger-than-life sundial. 

With its $23 million price tag, the Sundial Bridge is more expensive than the swankiest Rolex. And much less reliable. The glass-decked suspension bridge only tells time accurately one day a year – during the summer solstice on June 21st. 

Since you’ll probably use your cell phone or Apple Watch as a timepiece, admire the Sundial Bridge’s architectural beauty and instead use it as a pedestrian crossing over the Sacramento River at Turtle Bay.

A field of daisies with the sun shining on them.
Photo Credit: Canva.

5. It’s One of the Sunniest Cities in the US

With 249 days of sunshine a year, Redding, CA, is one of the sunniest cities in the US. That’s 70% more sunshine than Portland and 20% more sunshine than Seattle. And Redding’s average possible sunshine (yeah, that’s a thing) is 88%, second in the US only to Yuma, Arizona.

6. But the Redding Weather is Hotter Than You Might Expect In the Summer

If you’re like me and automatically expect Northern California to have warm (but not too hot) summers with highs ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s, then you’re in for a surprise when you visit Redding. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to regularly approach triple digits, especially in July and August. 

To put those figures into perspective, consider this: Redding has the hottest summer temps anywhere in California north of the Mojave Desert.

Why is Redding so hot?

The beautiful mountains that encircle the city, providing scenic landscapes, also block Redding from the ocean and delta breezes that help keep other nearby cities cooler.

An aerial view of a dam with mountains in the background.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

7. Redding is the Gateway to Three Shastas

What are the three Shastas? Mount Shasta, Shasta Lake, and Shasta Dam. 

Throughout Redding, beautiful views of Mount Shasta greet you. A short drive north of town, Mount Shasta is the highest California mountain in the Cascades, and only Washington’s Mount Rainier is taller in the entire mountain range. Mount Shasta is a stratovolcano with four overlapping volcanic cones and is considered an active volcano. 

Immediately north of Redding, with 365 miles of shoreline, Shasta Lake is one of the largest lakes in the Western US. But with its long, narrow arms, Shasta Lake looks more like a handful of finger lakes than a traditional large pool of water like nearby Whiskeytown Lake.

And the last of the Three Shastas is Shasta Dam. Upon its completion in 1945, the Shasta Dam spillway became the world’s largest manmade waterfall

With the Sacramento River running through it and Shasta and Whiskeytown Lakes just to its north, it shouldn’t be too much of a suprise that Redding boasts some water-filled fun facts.

A man is paddling a red kayak in the water.
Photo Credit: Canva.

8. Redding is the Kayak Capital of the World

In an article about “weird obsessions,” Time named Redding the Unofficial Capital of Kayaking. While I think paddling through the clear water, breathing in mountain air, and listening to the sounds of nature is more calming than “weird,” it sure beats being the Unofficial Capital of Badminton, an honor bestowed upon San Jose.

Sage Advice: Use this helpful guide to find the perfect inflatable kayak for your outdoor adventures in Redding.

A group of rv's docked on a lake.
Photo Credit: Canva.

9. And the Houseboat Capital of the World

Recreational houseboating began in the late 1940s when Americans were seeking opportunities to stay on the water for longer periods of time. And with the Shasta Dam forming Shasta Lake around the same time, houseboats and Shasta Lake were a natural pairing. 

Due to its massive size, the lake commonly accommodates as many as 450 houseboats at a time, more than any other body of water in the world. And that has earned Shasta Lake the nickname “Houseboat Capital of the World.”

A rainbow trout swimming in an aquarium.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

10. Redding Offers Fantastic Fishing

If the biggest town north of Sacramento’s natural beauty, cool bridge, and scenic trails haven’t convinced you to visit, then how about the fishing? Whether you drop your line from a houseboat on Shasta Lake or the rocky bank near the Sundial Bridge, the stretch of the Sacramento River that runs from Shasta Dam through Redding, CA, is considered to be the world’s third-best tail water (water that flows from a dam) in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions About Redding, CA

Got questions about Redding, CA? You’re not alone! Here are answers to frequently asked questions about this delightful Northern California city.

Is there an airport in Redding, CA?

Although small, Redding Regional Airport (RDD) is a full-service airport with nonstop flights to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Burbank through Alaska, United, and Avelo Airlines.

Alternatively, the Sacramento International Airport is about two and a half hours south of Redding on I-5.

How big is Redding, CA?

Redding has about 90,000 people, making it the largest Californian city north of Sacramento.

How far is Redding from Sacramento?

Redding is about 160 miles north of Sacramento. Allow about two and a half hours to make the drive using I-5.

What county is Redding, CA, in?

Redding is the largest city in Shasta County.

Does it snow in Redding, CA?

With winter temperatures rarely dipping below freezing, it typically does not snow in Redding. While the city may see an occasional dusting, it averages one inch of snow per year compared to an average of 3.75 inches across the Golden State.

Have You Visited Redding, CA?

What did you like most? Any additional tips and tricks to pass along? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

A view of the rugged California coast


Ready to Go?
Use These Helpful Links to Book Your Trip!

Thank you for sharing!

10 thoughts on “Redding, CA: 10 Facts That Prove It’s Uniquely Special”

  1. I’ve only been to LA, but I’m planning on making a trip to Sacramento sometime in the future. Hopefully, I could make a stop here and experience the beauty of Redding!

  2. Loved reading your article about Redding California! My family is planning a fishing trip there. We are also planning on visiting the worlds largest sundial and doing some kayaking.

  3. I loved learning some facts about Redding, CA from the article. I didn’t know it was home to the largest sundial in the world – that’s really cool.

  4. I am currently stuck inside as I am recovering from an operation and I spending my time reading interesting things online, well that and watching movies and reading cookbooks.
    I found this fascinating, I have never been to anywhere in California but your article makes me want to.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top