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