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Fall Family Outdoor Activities in Northern California’s Shasta Cascade

photo courtesy Shasta Sunset Dinner Train
photo courtesy Shasta Sunset Dinner Train

Local John Poimiroo shares some wonderful fall activities for families to enjoy in the the Cascade Mountain range including Shasta, Redding, and Lassen Volcanic Nat’l Park.

Hawes Farm in Anderson, Calif. opens to the public in October and offers a variety of activities for all ages. One of the most popular is a giant corn maze. The corn field is a 10-acre maze with 30 miles of trails surrounded by 10- to 12-foot-high stalks. The maze is separated into two parts so that if somebody tires out, they can exit early. Otherwise, count on two to three hours from start to finish. Most people tramp through in the day, but it is also open for nighttime strolls, which make it more difficult to maintain a sense of direction. Also available is Little Bug Land which is a children’s area designed for children from ages 2 to 7. Inside are such activities as a jungle gym, tricycles, a rope maze, a bounce house and a corn box (like a sand box, but with corn). Campfires are another popular attraction at the farm. Groups can reserve a site for a nominal fee on Fridays and Saturdays in October. The reservation includes wood and a campfire attendant. Packages are available that include hot dogs, drinks and s’mores for a small extra cost. Possibilities for fun are endless at Hawes Farm. Some of the other attractions include the corn cannon, cow trains, the pumpkin blaster and one of the scariest haunted houses in the north state. Visit their website for discount coupons.

The Shasta Sunset Dinner Train
The Pumpkin Train takes place every Saturday in October and winds through some of the most scenic country in the area. The cost is $18 per adult and $12 per child under 12 years of age. The train travels between McCloud and Signal Butte and stops to allow parents and children alike the opportunity to pick their own pumpkin. The cost of the pumpkin is included in the ticket price. The train features both open air cars and inside seating with hot drinks and finger foods available for purchase while aboard.

The Redding Aquatic Center Haunted House
Puts on the kind of haunted house only an aquatic center can—on the water. The nights of October 23rd and 24th from 6-9 P.M. the R.A.C. will be hosting a haunted house where participants can view the rooms while being pulled through in a raft. Opportunities will also be available to go trick or treating, participate in a costume parade, and enjoy the carnival games, food and snacks.

Fall Colors
The Shasta Cascade is home to some of the most breathtaking fall colors anywhere in the state. Load the family into the car and spend the day exploring different areas in the region. Whether you prefer to hike, bike or even just stay in the car, there are fall colors waiting to be seen. Many times these areas are not very crowded so you will have the opportunity to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature without being interrupted by the outside world. Some of the best places for viewing fall colors are:
Castle Crags State Park
Highway 299 West from Shasta State Historic Park to Weaverville
The Shasta Dam/Shasta Lake Scenic Byway
The Hyampom area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
The South Warner Loop drive beginning in Alturas
The Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail
The Ishi Wilderness Area
• Feather River Canyon
• Bidwell Park
Lake Siskiyou/Gumboot Lake area

 Lassen Volcanic National Park – Drakesbad Guest Ranch 

Kids love volcanos and what better way to see them than by staying at the exclusive (only 19 rooms) Drakesbad Guest Ranch in the Warner Valley of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Rates drop 25% on new reservations after Labor Day and lodging includes three hearty homecooked meals each day. Drakesbad is a short kid’s hike away from several geologic wonders: a boiling lake, bubbling mud pots, steaming fumeroles and spitting geysers. Or, take the kids on a walk and lead pony ride ($16) or if 7 and up, a horseback ride. The ranch’s geothermally heated swimming pool is a favorite, as are evening campfires and touring the National Park. For the discount, call 1-866-999-0914 and ask for Offer Code S09. Find more at www.drakesbad.com

Find more lodging options in Chester.  Or, stay in Redding, a central location with a variety of hotel styles.

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