Redding, at the far northern end of the Sacramento Valley, got its start as a station on the Central Pacific Railroad. Modern travelers find it a convenient place to quickly refuel as they zip up or down I-5. But the city is also worth a longer stay, to enjoy nearby natural wonders and admire the dramatic swoop of its world-famous bridge.
The oohs and aahs echo throughout Lake Shasta Caverns, where a succession of rooms drip with stalactites, “cave bacon” (wavy, translucent mineral deposits), and other fantastical formations. Reaching the entrance requires a cruise across Shasta Lake and a shuttled excursion up a forested hillside, with stunning vistas along the way.