he summer is hot in Redding and Shasta Cascade, perfect for outdoor water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, and fishing, or for just cooling off in the abundant rivers, lakes, streams and waterfalls. But some of the best fun comes during the warm summer nights.
Located just two hours north of Sacramento and three hours northeast of San Francisco and filled with mountain ranges, glaciated volcanoes and over 200 miles of trails from foothills to high-country granite slabs, Redding and Shasta Cascade offer spectacular nighttime journeys. Anywhere you get above the trees at night in Shasta Cascade, one of America’s most pristine regional destinations, you’ll find beautiful, almost haunting moonlit charm cast for miles.
10 top Moonlight Madness Activities
1) Full Moon Hikes
On a night when the moon is full, join in one of the popular organized hikes at Black Butte, a multi-peaked cluster of lava plug domes that tops out at an elevation of 6,334 feet. The adjacent 14,179-foot Mt. Shasta gets most of the glory, but for those who find their way to Black Butte, the journey can be transformational. Access to the trail is off Memorial Highway (from the town of Mount Shasta), then it’s a 1,845-foot treeless climb on a volcanic trail, 5 miles round trip. When the moon is high, the glow across giant Shasta’s slopes is awesome and ethereal. For more information, contact the Mount Shasta Ranger District, (530) 926-4511, www.fs.usda.gov/stnf.
2) Full Moon not Necessary: Additional Night Hikes at Black Butte
Hikers don’t have to wait for a full moon to enjoy a night hike at Black Butte. What appears as a dark, impossibly steep visage rising 2,400 feet right beside the freeway is actually a moderately graded trail that can take you to the summit of this young volcano, where spectacular views await, especially in the dark of night. The path travels through a forest of Douglas fir, white fir, incense cedar, and ponderosa pine, before a steady climb across talus slopes, where the first of several sweeping vistas opens up to the north. You’ll see Shasta Valley and the town of Weed directly below, and southern Oregon’s Mount McLoughlin, a Cascade sibling of Mount Shasta, but night or day, Mount Shasta will certainly demand most of your attention. This majestic, 14,162 foot tall peak is a stratovolcano formed by massive eruptions that began about one million years ago. Black Butte, a plug dome, was formed from thick pasty lava extruded in four different eruptions about ten thousand years ago, making it quite young by geological standards.
3) Night Hikes at Lassen Peak
100 years ago, an explosive eruption at Lassen Peak, the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles. This explosion was the most powerful in a 1914-17 series of eruptions that were the last to occur in the Cascades before the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Lassen Peak is the largest of a group of more than 30 volcanic domes that have erupted over the past 300,000 years in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The popular trail at Lassen Peak is 2.5 miles one-way to the summit, where hikers can marvel in the many fantastic vistas of the park and surrounding areas. The summit provides one of the most spectacular views of the Devastated Area, and the view from the top looking down is totally different – and unforgettable – at night. Time it right and you watch the sunrise from the peak, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. The lingering smell of hydrogen sulfide near the summit reminds visitors that Lassen is still considered an active, but dormant, volcano. A moonlit hike into an active volcano…sounds like a story worth telling!
4) Go Under the Lights
Spend the evening with the boys of summer under the lights of historic Tiger Field. The Colt 45s, Redding’s minor league style baseball club, showcases the best college ball players and professional baseball prospects as they take on teams from around the West coast. When the sun sets, the bats start swinging, and the Colt 45s are the best entertainment around. Grab some friends, some cold drinks, and yes, some peanuts and cracker jacks, and enjoy an evening or 4-game series of summer’s most classic pastime. The games end when the summer fades, so don’t miss your chance to catch a fly ball!
5) Moonlight Kayak Tours
In the summer, visitors can take advantage of moonlight kayak tours, part of the ranger-guided night activities at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. These very popular programs are definitely one-of-a-kind, memorable moments visitors can experience at the popular recreation area. Your surroundings change as the night sky takes over and the only light around you is that of the moon, making everything from the landscape to the water very surreal. Reservations required, call (530) 242-3462.
6) Lassen’s Dark Sky Festival, August 7-9, 2015
From animals to plants and water to volcanoes, Lassen Volcanic National Park protects many different natural phenomena. One of the most spectacular is frequently overlooked: the incredible, dark, night sky. Far from the light pollution of civilization, Lassen Park is one of the last sanctuaries of natural darkness, and is one of the best places to learn about and enjoy the splendor of the night sky. Whether you are a first time star gazer, or a dedicated amateur astronomer, Lassen’s dark skies offer unparalleled views of the celestial wonders. Join park rangers, astronomers, and planetary geologists in celebrating all that is out of this world during Lassen’s Dark Sky Festival including:
- Nightly constellation tours and stargazing
- Astronomy activities including guided hikes, solar scope viewing, Junior Ranger Astronomy, and hands-on activities
- Discussions and demonstrations by National Park Dark Sky rangers, NASA, International Dark Sky Association, Astronomical Society of Nevada, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
7) Moonlight Madness 2-Mile Run at Shasta Dam, August 22, 2015 at 8:15pm
Join the local running club, SWEAT, in its annual Moonlight Madness 2-mile run at Shasta Dam. Since 1975 SWEAT has been an integral part of the fitness community in Redding and Shasta Cascade, promoting health and fitness through running, walking, biking and swimming. For this event, participants will run by the light of the moon across Shasta Dam and back via the moon and stars, all while enjoying the cooler temperatures and the calming stillness of the lake and mountains surrounding the massive concrete dam. The race starts in the Shasta Dam’s visitor center parking lot and participants are invited to register that evening. Pre-registration is not required but you can sign up in advance here. Walkers are welcome, but will need to finish the 2-mile route in 30 minutes or less.
8) Star Parties by the Shasta Astronomy Club
The Shasta Astronomy Club promotes interest in astronomy and its related sciences, through education, fellowship among interested individuals, and through monthly meetings, free public star parties, and other events. Star Parties are great opportunities to ask questions, share discoveries, and see the sky in a new wat. All are welcome to join in the festivities, including children with a parent or guardian, tourists, amateur astronomers, educators and professional astronomers. There is no need to register or call ahead unless you bring a group larger than three people. The club provides the telescopes and the knowledge and you provide the curiosity. Please feel free to contact the Shasta Astronomy Club at [email protected]
9) Enjoy Movies in the Park
Movies in the Park are some of the North State’s most popular events of the summer. Join in the fun every Friday night from June to August in the area’s parks for a movie night under the stars. Remember to bring your blankets, lawn chairs or picnic baskets, or enjoy limited onsite food vendors. All movies start at dusk. This family friendly event features a new film each week and a chance for families to enjoy the beautiful warm summer nights in Redding.
10) After Dark Dining and Cultural Entertainment
Vacation is hard work. You have to see all the things, do all the things, sleep in all the mornings, and eat like you mean it. The good news is that there are many dining and cultural entertainment choices to enjoy during the summer nights. The beautifully restored 1930s Cascade Theatre is a fine example of Art Deco architecture. Listed on both the California and National Registries of Historic Places, this Downtown Redding landmark is home of the Northstate Symphony’s Redding performances and provides a state-of-the-art venue for a diverse array of arts and cultural events that celebrate the human spirit. There’s always a cultural opportunity to attend at the Civic Auditorium in Redding, where festivals, spectacles, and laughs delight crowds nightly. Then there’s Vintage, Redding’s premier wine bar and restaurant. Offering a diverse continental menu and a 32 bottle wine preservation system, Vintage is Redding’s destination for touring, live entertainment, art shows and wine events.
Discover more at www.visitredding.com.
SOURCE Visit Redding
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