North State Wonders to Check Off Your Bucket List
● By Patrick John
By Patrick John
WORKING IN THE MEDIA means you meet a lot of people. The cross-section of radio listeners, business people, politicians, officials, transplants and long-timers I’ve met make for an eclectic mix that makes this piece of Northern California our home, and defines our “local flavor.”
Through years of chats and conversations, I’m still amazed at the number of perceived hyper-local places and attractions that many long-time area residents have never experienced. More often than not, visitors take in the area wonders we locals have known about most of our lives, but haven’t actually checked off our to-do list. So, I’ve cobbled together a primer list we should complete to prove our true status as Northern California locals. Let’s see how many you’ve completed.
Whiskeytown Falls – Most area residents have been to Burney Falls. The very short walk from the parking lot to the upper viewing area makes it super simple, but have you done the hike to Whiskeytown Falls? You have to earn this one. The falls were re-discovered in 2004 after 40-plus years of being forgotten when loggers left the area. The round-trip is 3.4 miles, but you’ll be treated to a 220-foot-long waterfall and a deep sense of personal satisfaction.
Shasta Caverns – Discovered in 1878, Shasta Caverns has been open to the touring public since the 1960s. A ferry across the lake and a wild bus ride to the top add to the fun. With a constant cavern temperature of 58 degrees, this is a great activity for visiting friends and family, especially during the summer heat.
Shasta Dam – The history behind the building of the dam is truly amazing, and so is the tour of Shasta Dam. The tours are typically about one hour long, free, and include an elevator ride down through the dam to the actual powerhouse where hydroelectric energy is produced.
Castle Crags State Park – Have you made it to the top? Hike the 5.5-mile Castle Dome Trail, part of which doubles as a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. The panoramic views at the top include the Crags, Mt. Shasta and the cinder cone.
Coleman Fish Hatchery – Chinook salmon and steelhead are the primary types of fish produced and released to make their way to the Pacific Ocean. Visit in October for the Salmon Festival and some close-up views of fish jumping and spawning.
Lassen Peak – Many have been to Bumpass Hell, the Sulphur Works and Lake Helen, but what about the 10,457-foot summit of Lassen? One of the most prominent peaks in the country is calling you. If you really want to experience something one of a kind, do the hike to Lassen Peak under a full moon. This month’s full moon is August 15.
If you got four out of six, you can safely call yourself a true local! This list could go on and on – Potem Falls, One Mile Pool, the Ribbon Bridge, Joss House State Park and its Taoist Temple, and so many more. August is American Adventures Month, your reminder to make the most of what’s left before the end of summer, and a chance to start planning next year’s vacation. •