Corbitt's National Parks
               National Recreation Area


1965: National Recreation Area

Size: 42,503 acres

2008 visitors: 676,281

Stamp: ?

Rating (1-5): Unrated

About the Site

Snug in the rugged Klamath Mountains watershed, Whiskeytown preserves the colorful history of the California gold rush, and also offers a wealth of water-oriented and bckcountry opportunities. There are three lakes in the NRA, with Whiskeytown Lake being smaller than Shasta or Trinity, but its clear blue water attracts many recreationists to its shores.

Only the Whiskeytown unit is managed by the National Parks Service. Shasta and Trinity are operated under the auspices of the Forest Service.

What You're Going to See

Manmade Whiskeytown Lake is part of the Central Valley Water Project that provides water and electricity to the Central Valley of California. The recreation area correspondingly provides visitors with many activities, including fishing and backcountry fun, and is a host to a variety of wildlife, including kokanee salmon and bald eagles. Water activities include sailing, boating, kayaking, swimming, and scuba diving.

The surrounding recreation area offers elevations from 800 to 6,200 feet, eight year-round creeks with waterfalls and pools, old-growth forests, and extensive mountains and canyons. Historic buildings, mines, and water ditches dating to the 1850s allow visitors to step back in time.

Bears and mountain lions inhabit the park. If you stumble across one, don't run; stand and make noise and wave your arms, and whatever you do, don't look edible. Also beware of Western diamondback rattlesnakes and abandoned mine shafts.

Personal Observations

I haven't been here yet. But on my much-delayed trip to Oregon, I plan on stopping by Whiskeytown to dangle my feet in the water.

Getting There

To get to Whiskeytown from Redding, California, go 8 miles west on Route 299. Bingo.

To get to Shasta Lake from Redding, go north on I-5 for about ten miles. Bingo.

To get to Trinity Lake from Redding, go west on Route 299 past Whiskeytown, and take highway 3 north for about ten miles. The lake is on your right. Bingo.

Nearby Attractions

To the east, about 50 miles away, you'll find Lassen Volcanic National Park. About 90 miles away to the west, on the coast, you'll find Redwood National Park, and of course California Coastal National Monument. About 85 miles northeast you'll run across Lava Beds National Monument.