Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.
Weekend in Northern California one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.
Trip tips: The sun shines in Shasta County (and bordering Tehama County) more than 300 days each year. It's an area of volcanoes, world-class fishing, hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails, alpine lakes, waterfalls and dramatic mountains. Go for the solitude of open spaces and fresh air or for a challenging adventure. Trip planning: http://visitmtshasta.com, http://visitredding.com.
Getting there: Redding is 162 miles north of Sacramento, or about a 2.5-hour drive. Mount Shasta is 60 miles north of Redding. Mineral is southeast of Redding by about 70 miles. Round-trip rates of $394 to Sacramento require a 21-day advance purchase; nonstop Delta.
Stay: The gate at Apples River House Bed & Breakfast opens onto the Sacramento River Trail system. The South Studio (one of three rooms) is $105 and includes breakfast, evening wine and snacks, use of bicycles, a private outdoor sitting area with ponds, a waterfall and fire pit. 201 Mora Court, Redding, 530-243-8440, www.applesriverhouse.com.
Eat: When in California, it's got to be the In-N-Out Burger. Combo meals, $5.35-$6.70. Splurge for a cool souvenir T-shirt, $10.95. 1275 Dana Drive, Redding, 1-800-786-1000, www.in-n-out.com.
Experience: Dense forests, wild rivers and streams surround Redding on three sides. Hit the 225 miles of trails within 15 miles of the city or head west to Whiskeytown, a ghost town with a sapphire blue lake and 70 miles of trails to several waterfalls and through old growth forests; www.nps.gov/whis. Take a tour of the Lake Shasta Caverns, an underground cave system of limestone formations, and take in the vistas of the lake on a 65-foot catamaran. The guided cave and lake tour is $24 for adults; $14 ages 3-15. 20359 Shasta Caverns Road, Lakehead, 530-238-2341, http://lakeshastacaverns.com.
Stay: Walk into Mount Shasta's charming downtown from the Best Western Plus Tree House for dining and shopping and for lovely views of the mountain. The hotel is a short drive to Mount Shasta, Lake Siskiyou and Mossbrae Falls. Rates from $170 include full breakfast buffet. 111 Morgan Way, Mount Shasta, 530-926-3101, www.bestwestern.com.
Eat: Lily's serves hearty and eclectic dishes from breakfast through dinner ($11-$30) in a quaint atmosphere. 1013 S. Mount Shasta Blvd., 530-926-3372, www.lilysrestaurant.com.
Experience: Shasta-Trinity National Forest offers exceptional mountain scenery for the backpacker, and there are 17 routes to the summit of the 14,162-foot volcano of Mount Shasta. Less strenuous activities include kayaking the narrow bays and coves of Shasta Lake, the largest human-made, recreational lake in California. Single touring kayak rentals: $30 for half-day; $50 for 24 hours. Guided tours also available. 930 Merchant St., Redding, 530-223-2411, www.headwatersadventure.com.
Stay: Highlands Ranch Resort offers walking trails along lavender fields with views of Mount Lassen and the Southern Cascades. Choose from seven recently built luxurious cottages, each uniquely decorated with private bath and gas fireplace; $229-$459 (cabin prices/sizes vary to accommodate two to 10). The resort is located at the southern gateway to Lassen Volcanic National Park. 41515 Calif. 36 E., Mill Creek, 530-595-3388, http://highlandsranchresort.com.
Eat: Dine alfresco on the deck to take in mountain and meadow views at the artisan-style restaurant at Highlands Ranch. The rustic-chic and full-service restaurant and bar is set to open any day (prices not available). 41515 Calif. 36 E., Mill Creek, 530-595-3388, www.facebook.com/highlandsranchresort.
Experience: The often-overlooked Lassen Volcanic National Park (150 square miles) is home to numerous volcanoes and an ideal summer spot for hiking, fly and stream fishing, biking, horse trail riding and wildlife exploration. For quick visits, drive the main park road of 29 miles. Stop to take a boardwalk over bubbling sulfur pots and thermals or take a dip in the cool lakes. Away from light pollution, nighttime stargazing is a rare treat. The Dark Sky Festival, Aug. 7-9, features solar scope viewing, guided hikes and constellation tours (free with park admission); $20 per vehicle (valid one-seven days). Mineral, 530-595-4480, www.nps.gov/lavo.
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