Redding is located along I-5 between the Central Valley and the mountainous region to the north into Oregon. Although the nearby mountain ranges and hilly terrain give a different physical appearance from other Valley towns, Redding shares many of the same concerns of the others – challenged economy, high cost of living and housing, and little to do. But there are some signs of an upswing.
The economy, traditionally based on declining forest products from the nearby mountains and some light manufacturing and food processing, had experienced some employment dislocations. Redding’s role as a center for a large region of tourism and some retirement destinations has brought some renewed economic strength, but the area is far from a career-building destination.
Outdoor recreational opportunities are abundant around Lake Shasta to the north, in Trinity Alps to the northwest, and in the Sierra/Cascades to the east. In summer, trapped valley air and abundant sunshine lead to extreme heat with 98 days above 90 degrees, and readings of 105 to 110 not uncommon. The weather is pleasant the rest of the year. The town itself is non-descript and somewhat lacking in intellectual stimulation. Living costs, following most of California, have risen substantially. Redding is a long 3-hour drive from Sacramento, source of the nearest major air service and other amenities.
Low mountains surround Redding in three directions with higher mountains in the distance. Terrain is slightly undulating with typical California valley vegetation—grasses and occasional trees. Summers are consistently hot and completely dry, while winters are cool and wet but with little to no snow except in surrounding mountains. The shape of the valley and latitude lead to more rainfall than most other valley locations.