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Whiskeytown National Recreation Area - Shasta County California


national parks ranger at whiskeytown

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Whiskeytown got its name from the California Gold Rush of 1849.  Settled by gold miners, the town was first called Whiskey Creek for the stream on which it was located, but later the name was changed to Whiskeytown. A barrel of whiskey lost off a pack mule christened the stream with the popular drink of that day. Remnants of that era are actually still found in the former gold mining camp. Today the gold in the hills is the pristine forest filled with trails and a beautiful lake that's enjoyed by the public for a variety of recreational and sporting activities. 


Whiskeytown - Shasta - Trinity National Recreation Area comprise a region that's operated by several entities. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is the only entity administered by the National Park Service. Located eight miles west of Redding, the lake includes fabulous hiking trails, swimming, boating, water skiing, fishing and even scuba diving. Personal Watercraft are prohibited on Whiskeytown Lake, however.

Located in a region where it's common for the temperature to hover around 100 degrees during the summer months, the lake becomes a hub of activity and a place to cool down. Whiskeytown Lake features 36 miles of shoreline perfect for kayaking. Rangers offer lessons during the summer months in kayaking free of charge! When the weather cools down in the winter, picnics, hikes and mountain bikes are common sites in one of several recreational lakes that Redding residents enjoy.

Whiskeytown Lake was created by diverting water through tunnels and penstocks, from the Trinity River Basin to the Sacramento River Basin. The most prominent landmark within the Recreation Area is Shasta Bally (elevation 6,209 feet). The summit may be reached on foot and by 4-wheel drive vehicle, but is closed in the winter. Rain and snow from Mt. Shasta Bally creates a winter flow for the 220 foot waterfall tucked back in a box canyon surrounded by a towering old growth forest. The National Park Service is constructing  a new trail (James K. Carr Trail) to the falls and has installed a narrow ledge trail with safety railing to the middle chamber of the gorge through which the falls cascade. Visitors can now stand next to the rushing water and hear the roar of the stream and feel the cold mist.   Contact the park office for information on hiking tours or visit the website for announcements. Web:


To get to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, from Interstate 5, take the Highway 44 West exit toward Downtown Redding and Eureka. From Downtown Redding, follow Highway 299 west toward Eureka for approximately 8 miles to reach the Visitor Center.  Public transportation from Redding to Whiskeytown is not available, however rental cars are available at the airport and in town.


The park is open year round 24 hours a day. The Visitor Center is open daily Memorial Day - Labor Day 9 a.m. 6 p.m. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years).

Picturesque Shasta County, located at the northern end of California's Sacramento Valley, is known for its colorful history, abundant natural wonders and unlimited recreational opportunities.

Whiskeytown NRA
14412 Kennedy Memorial Drive
Whiskeytown, CA 96095
Headquarters: (530) 242-3400; Visitor Information call: (530) 246-1225