Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam is a 38.6 mile out and back trail located near Redding, California that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
The trail starts at the Sundial Bridge, and makes it way through central Redding, and finally to the top of Shasta Dam. The majority of the trail follows the historic railroad bed that once connected Oakland, CA to Portland, OR (1885-1942). Chinese workers (primarily) used hand picks and shovels to create the railroad bed in the 1880s. This part of the railroad was abandoned as the primary railroad line to Oregon when Shasta Dam was completed, but it continued to be a branch line until 1980. The views and scenery are incredible along the entire trail. The paved trail system is navigable by any bicycle, but to ride the entire trail you would do best with a mountain bike, or better yet, a road bike with multiple gears. Some sections are steep and require low gears, and excellent brakes. Be sure to take water and food if you plan on heading to Shasta Dam. The last available water until you reach Shasta Dam is a mile past the ribbon foot bridge, so be sure to fill up your water bottles. There is a water fountain near the visitor's center on the top of Shasta Dam. There is also fairly well hidden water source just below the Dam at the OHV area in the parking area east of the trail. It is hard to find. Please ride slowly when you are in the city limits of Redding. There are many children on bikes, tourists taking pictures, and people generally enjoying all the natural beauty on the trail system. These people are completely unaware that cyclists are coming their way, so it is up to you to keep everyone safe. Be sure to announce your presence when overtaking joggers, walkers, and other cyclists by calling, "On your left," as you pass. Once you pass the ribbon foot bridge, it is safe to increase speed. Weather in the winter can be very cold, and it can snow, although this is rare. It rains heavily all winter, so be prepared. Fall and spring can vary in temperature from the 70's to the low 90's, and it is the preferred time to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. In the summer expect it to be over 100 degrees by 12:00 noon. It is highly recommended to take this trail in the early morning during the summer season, and early fall.