The Ultimate Northern California Summer Bucket List

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”The mountains are calling and I must go.”

– John Muir

It’s time to prepare for summer in Northern California, meaning we put away our rain coats and boots and switch them out for sunglasses and air conditioning. While we love all seasons in NorCal, summer gives you the chance to see some of the most beautiful outdoor destinations on the planet.

From camping to visiting the lake to chasing waterfalls, there’s something for everyone during the summer months. Here’s the ultimate summer bucket list that will keep your heart happy in Northern California:

Backpack the Trinity Alps Wilderness

The Trinity Alps Wilderness, located just northwest of Redding, is a gorgeous mountain range providing backpackers with stunning views, pristine high-alpine lakes and unmatched wilderness isolation. It’s the perfect place for an outdoor adventure in the summer months. Trinity Alps was even highlighted in Outside Magazine’s “Favorite Fall Backpacking Trips.” The Trinity Alps, lies between the Coast Range and the Cascades and is a haven for backpackers, thanks to its 525,000 acres of rugged wilderness and some 550 miles of trails, including a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s worth the trip, the hike, and the hype!

Summit Lassen Peak

It’s hard to beat the experience you get when you’re standing at the summit of a significant mountain, especially when it’s an active volcano. The hike to the top of Lassen Peak is not a strenuous as one might think and you will experience amazing views of Lassen Volcanic National Park and NorCal.

This hike is much easier than the hike to Shasta Bally and Mount Shasta. It can be fun hike for the family and can be a great hike at night during a full moon.

Learn about Climbing a Volcano: Hiking to the Summit of Lassen Peak

Kayak Under the Moon at Whiskeytown Lake

The kayak tours on Whiskeytown Lake are one of the most popular activities in the park. The kayak tours operate out of the Oak Bottom Marina and last 2-2.5 hours covering 2-4 miles with frequents rest stops. All equipment is provided and single paddlers may be partnered with another person in a tandem kayak.

Once a month, visitors can participate in the full-moon kayak tour, with rare views of the lake from the natural lunar light. it’s become one of the most popular tours in the park.

Explore the Lush Walls of Fern Canyon

Walking through Fern Canyon in Humboldt, hikers are greeted with 40-50 foot high walls covered in five fingered ferns, sword ferns, and delicate lady ferns. As you can tell, it was aptly named. During the summer months, small wooden footbridges cross the stream that meanders through the canyon. Still, occasionally hikers will be greeted with slick logs or bridges whose support has eroded away, and droop into the cold water. In other words, be prepared to potentially get your feet wet. It is like walking back in time, and indeed films set in the prehistoric age have been filmed here. Savvy film buffs (or probably casual cinephiles as well) know that The Lost World: Jurassic Park was filmed here, in addition to two dinosaur documentaries produced by the BBC and Imax.

Find a Whitewater Rafting Adventure

There seems to be no end of reputable rafting companies in NorCal and southern Oregon eager to get you in their boats, which is why we haven’t attempted to include a list here. There’s just too good a chance we might leave somebody out. A good way to get started shopping for the right trip with the right company is to surf the web. Many rafting companies have elaborate websites with tons of information, maps and splashy, whitewater photographs. Personally, when my life is hanging in the balance I like to go with professionals.

As the mercury climbs into triple-digits of the summer season, keep in mind there are stimulating, active things you can be doing to keep cool. A day spent whitewater rafting is a day of fun and enjoyment not soon forgotten.

Here are 5 Epic White Water Rafting Trips in Northern California

Spend a Summer Day in Bidwell Park

It’s not a far reach to say this is how many people in Northern California view Chico in the summer. If it wasn’t for Bidwell Park, I would be right there with them, but the 2500 acre park changed Chico from a place I was trying to get away from to somewhere I didn’t want to leave.

Bidwell Park starts on the outskirts downtown and sprawls into the mountains behind Chico, unravelling Big Chico Creek and creating a prime destination for outdoor junkies with a broad scope of interests. Whether you live in Chico or the surrounding NorCal area, Bidwell Park is worth a visit.

Camp in the Desolation Wilderness

The Desolation in Tahoe is a 64,000-acre playground crisscrossed by hiking trails, running water and a generous number of alpine lakes of all sizes bursting with wild brook trout. Some of the lakes also contain rainbows or brown trout, and even a few golden trout, our California state fish.

Access is easy even if the hiking isn’t necessarily. There are trail heads on all four sides of the Desolation so picking the best access might take some research depending on where you’d like to go. Once you’ve hiked up onto the plateau (which runs between 6,500 and almost 10,000 feet elevation), the landscape is vast as trails weave between dense ancient forests and huge expanses of granite sheets.

Visit One of NorCal’s Beautiful Waterfalls

Sorry TLC, we like chasing waterfalls.

In Northern California, we are rich with beautiful waterfalls from Yosemite all the way to the Oregon border. Hundreds of waterfalls call NorCal their home and we’ve been on a quest to find the best waterfalls the North State has to offer. Needless to say, the variety of waterfalls in our area is stunning.

Learn about the 20 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Northern California

Go on a Houseboat Trip on Shasta Lake

The sun is shining and the heat is beginning to roll into NorCal which means it’s almost time to spend our days cooling off and having some fun on the lake. 

Now, everyone knows the best way to spend a day on the lake is on a houseboat. You simply can’t argue otherwise. When I think of houseboats on the lake I think of family, friends, water-sports, BBQ’s, sun-tan lotion and waking up with the sunrise. So it’s time to get excited to spend your summer days on Shasta Lake.

Have a wonderful summer in Northern California!

and@frontporchreport.com
and@frontporchreport.com
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