Prudhomme’s Paintworthy Places Within 3 Hours of Redding: Castle Lake

Publisher's note: On this Veterans Day, we publish Chuck Prudhomme's regular feature, "Prudhomme’s Paintworthy Places Within 3 Hours of Redding".

Chuck Prudhomme, artist and Vietnam Veteran. Photo 1971- 1972

Chuck Prudhomme, artist and Vietnam veteran. Photo 1971- 1972

In addition to being a talented Redding artist and co-curator of O Street Gallery in Redding, Prudhomme is also a Vietnam veteran who was a door gunner and helicopter crew chief  from 1968- 1969 and a helicopter pilot from 1971 to 1972.

Chuck Prudhomme was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam from 1968-1969.

Chuck Prudhomme was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam from 1971-1972.

Please join me in thanking Chuck, and all veterans, for their service and sacrifice. - Doni


About one hour north of Redding near Mount Shasta City is an alpine jewel called Castle Lake. It is accessed via Interstate 5 north to the main Mt. Shasta exit.

After exiting turn left at the first stop sign and follow the signs to Lake Siskiyou, another beautiful lake in the area. After crossing the Lake Siskiyou Dam take the next left up the hill for 7 miles to beautiful Castle Lake. There you will find a paved parking area with restroom facilities and picnic tables. There is a camp ground ¼ mile before you reach the lake.

Castle Lake is a natural glacial lake called a cirque with towering granite cliffs on the south side, and mountains on the east and west sides. The waters are crystal clear reflecting the cobalt skies typical at the 5,400-foot elevation of the lake.

The lake is 110-feet deep and its waters are the focus of the UC Davis research station located in a cabin on the southwest side of the lake.

Castle Lake Creek flows from the North side of the lake into Lake Siskiyou, 7 miles below and eventually into the Sacramento River. There is a trail around the lake where you can get spectacular views of the lake and Mt. Shasta to the north. For the more adventurous one can take the east side trail up to Heart Lake with even more spectacular views.

Kayaking or canoeing are favorite activities at the lake during the summer months. Swimming during the summer is also enjoyable, even though the water can be very cold, but with the blistering temperatures of summer in Redding that may be just the ticket.

Fishing is also a popular activity. During winter the lake freezes over and ice fishing becomes the thing to do. Now, where else can one ice fish in this area of the north state, let alone in California?

Just enjoying the peaceful solitude of nature on a frozen alpine lake with a view of spectacular Mt. Shasta may be all you need to unplug. Many artists, including myself, have painted this jewel many times during different seasons.

The lake is easily accessible for the disabled where one can view this jewel from your car or the edge of the paved parking area.

Enjoy another one of many jewels of the north state!

Chuck Prudhomme
Chuck Prudhomme retired after 35 years of flying helicopters at a myriad of locations around the world to include Vietnam, Antarctica, Greenland, and South America. He also flew for the Coast Guard, various hospitals around the country and Cal Fire. After retiring in 2002 he took up art full time. He enjoys painting on location throughout the West. He is an oil painter who enjoys a representational impressionistic style of painting with a thick application of paint and tactile brush strokes. He is represented by 4 galleries throughout California to include the James Harold Gallery in Lake Tahoe. Chuck is also a featured artist, painting teacher at co-curator at O Street Gallery in Redding.
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5 Responses

  1. Cathy Allen says:

    What a great combination – two north state gems. Thank you for your service, Chuck.

  2. A. Jacoby says:

    Thank  you and all members of our military, past and present. Thank you every day!!

    You must have had  good eye to be  gunner on a ‘copter back in the day. And now you use that eye in service to all humanity through your art. We are blessed! Thank you.

  3. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Thank you for a great article Chuck.  I haven’t been to this lake, but will have to visit it.  Sounds like a beautiful place for a day trip from Redding.  You have an artist’s eye in your descriptions of the places you write about, and your directions are excellent.

  4. V Lamoureux says:

    What a wonderful place, not only to paint, but also to paddle! Thanks, Chuck, for your focus on the beauty and wonder of the North State!

  5. Northeastern CA is so beautifully diverse and unknown to the masses. I admire your ability to capture what you see an share.

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