Northern California offers some amazing scenery and plenty of outdoor recreation. One particular route provides the best of the best, and that is a Northern California loop taking you up to the Oregon border and back. Start out in Red Bluff on Interstate 5, north of Sacramento. While you are there, be sure to visit some of the attractions, such as the famous clock tower in downtown Red Bluff and the Coleman National Fish Hatchery a short distance north of town.
Drive your RV along Interstate 5 to Redding, another California town offering some intriguing attractions. With exhibitions, an aquarium and beautiful botanical gardens, the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding will be a sure hit with the whole family. Shop the boutiques for gifts to take home.
Outdoor lovers will want to include Whiskeytown National Recreation Area on the itinerary. A huge lake surrounded by lovely mountains inspires you to get busy with some water recreation. You can also hike the trails and see at least four waterfalls. If visiting in the heat of summer, you’ll have to stop at Castle Crags State Park for a swim in the Sacramento River. Plenty of camping around here, and about 28 miles of hiking trails.
A short side trip east will bring you to McCloud, California, an old lumber town. Have you ever wanted to learn to square dance? Well, here’s the place to do it. You can stop in at the Heritage Junction Museum to see historical exhibits as well as photographs and artifacts on display.
Still traveling north on I-5, you will come at last to one of the most important stops on your RV journey, Mount Shasta! The second highest peak in the Cascades, Mount Shasta last erupted in 1786, and could go again at any time, although no one knows exactly when. You are in Siskiyou Country and are going to find so many outdoor activities available you won’t know what to do first. We suggest fishing the McCloud River for redband trout. You will find RV camping at the Mount Shasta City KOA.
Continuing north on I-5, you will finally come to Weed, a wonderful community where you can stop at the visitor center to ensure you aren’t missing an important event in town. When ready to move on, this is where you will now veer off onto Highway 97. At Klamath National Forest, you can enjoy the views and try your hand at rock climbing or simply fish or swim in the lake. Whitewater rafting is also a real adventure.
Before you reach the Oregon border with California, and a little way past Dorris, you’ll come to Highway 161 where you will cut across the top of California and come upon the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Reserve. It doesn’t matter if you love birding or not, you might just take it up as a hobby once you see the many species of birds throughout the marshes and grasslands. You will then head south on Highway 139 and see another place of refuge for migrating fowl, the Tule Lake National Wildlife Reserve. Take your RV on a ten-mile tour at any time of year for some amazing wildlife viewing.
The things to do on this RV adventure never seem to end. Now there is the Lava Beds National Monument, where you can explore caves, visit historical sites and take part in some informative summer events. Believe it or not, there are more than 700 caves that have been explored, with 22 of those that have been developed. Dress appropriately, with boots and gloves and long-sleeved shirt and pants.
Catch 139/299 south and take a side trip to Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park. This is a wilderness area with plenty of trails and aqua bays to explore. As you drive south on Highway 89 and it turns into 44/89, you will come to Lassen Volcanic National Park and a wide variety of recreational activities for the whole family, including horseback riding, swimming, hiking and fishing. One more stop at Lassen National Forest on Highway 36 west as you head for the end of your Northern California loop back at Red Bluff.
What an RV trip it has been! You have experienced some of the best Northern California has to offer and all in one big entertaining loop. It may be time to head home, but you can rest assured that Northern California will be here for a long time to come and will welcome you to return once again for a summer of fun.