Above and Below Whiskeytown Lake

Whiskeytown Lake is located only eight miles west of downtown Redding, California, and is a favorite destination for vacationing families. Camping spots can be reserved for as long as a year ahead of time.

Whiskeytown Lake is located only eight miles west of downtown Redding, California, and is a favorite destination for vacationing families. Camping spots can be reserved as long as a year ahead of time. These sites are along located along the shores of the lake as well as inland. Reserving a camp site ahead of time will assure you a premium location. There really is nothing like waking up to a view of the calm sapphire blue water and a pot of coffee on the grill.

There are several popular sandy beaches, some with picnic tables and shallow swimming holes for families with small children. Brandy Creek offers a large beautiful beach with picnic tables, as well as a concession stand and public restrooms.

The Redding locals are able to take advantage of the close proximity to town and many take their lunch break at the lake. It takes only ten minutes to get there so within one hour, they can call ahead and pick up a sandwich on their way at the Old Mill House Restaurant, have lunch, and return to work feeling like they’ve been on a mini vacation.

Often, during the weekdays the lake looks nearly empty, especially during the school year. So, a lunch hour might have you looking out over what appears to be deep blue-green glass that goes on for miles without a ripple. It really can be breathtaking.

Many locals have patio boats and ski boats moored at Oak Bottom Marina but you can rent a boat, a party barge, or a paddle-boat by just going to the Marina or contacting them ahead.

Whiskeytown Lake is actually a man-made reservoir that was developed partly by flooding an old mining town known as Whiskeytown. The lake was dedicated by John F. Kennedy in 1962. The old town still remains under the water, along with portions of the old highway and moss covered building foundations. It is now a popular scuba-diving spot.

When you visit Redding, California, be sure to go to Whiskeytown Lake and on your way, stop in the little town of Old Shasta, that was once a robust gold mining town. Some of the old buildings still remain, such as the old bakery and the original jail where an outlaw was tried, convicted, and hung all at the same location. The jail is open to the public. The Shasta State Historic Park offers tours of what remains of Shasta City.

Bring the family, bring your tent, your fishing poles, charcoal for the BBQ, coffee pot, and grub and get ready to build some great memories on the shores of beautiful Whiskeytown Lake, a California Historical Landmark just outside of Redding, California.

Image Source: Flickr/Ken Lund


Debbie is a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker/ C&C Properties in Redding, California where she is a consistent award winner in sales. Debbie has led her company in innovation by video creation and advertising ideas. Debbie works with her partner, Diane Sorgatz and together they are known as "The Home Girls".

Subscribe to Blue Matter and get the latest updates


  1. Russ Meyer
    May 12, 2015

    Whisky Town is a awesome area and a fantastic lake. I can only mainly speak about the fishing on Whisky town lake because that is what I love to do. My kids hunt and hike in the area and visit the water falls which I here are incredible hikes. But the fishing is fabulous. This lake is primarily known for its trout fishing However the Sockeye Salmon fishing is also fantastic , They are awesome eating as well. But the best kept secret is the Bass fishing . This lake due to the large trout population has some of the best trophy size Spotted bass and Small mouth bass in California. The primary food for trophy size bass is trout and lots of them. The water is crystal clear and at times you can see lots of huge Bass swimming around. These large bass however are tough to catch for the average angler. This is probably why they are so big. None the less a terrific lake to try your skills at Trophy bass fishing , they can range from 3 to 10 lbs. There are plenty of nice size to keeper size bass to be had for the everyday angler. If you do hook into a large Bass 3 lbs or better you should seriously consider catch and release ,as these larger bass are the very fish that produce huge amounts of baby bass also known as (fry) and keep the lake a incredible fishery. The smaller ones are far more abundant if you are having a craving for fresh fish. The trout are quite tasty as well as the salmon. Good fishing and tight lines to you.
    Russ Meyer

  2. Kathy Sorensen
    April 30, 2016

    Loved this article because I remember going to Whiskeytown lake when I was a kid. This brought up lots of great memories. One memory was meeting President Kennedy when he dedicated the lake. I was with the Shasta HS band and so had a front row seat for his speech.


Leave a Reply

Share on Facebook Share on Twiiter Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Telegram Share on Email