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Lower Sacramento River Recreation Sites
Just off I-5 between Redding and Red Bluff

Bureau of Land Management
Management Unit:
Redding Field Office
355 Hemsted Drive
Redding CA 96002
(530) 224-2100

  • Boat Launch
  • Tent Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Group Camping
  • Hunting
  • Picnic Area
  • Wildlife Area
The Sacramento River is California's longest river. Flowing 375 miles, from the shadow of Mount Shasta in the north through the Central Valley and the Delta to San Francisco Bay, this river constitutes an irreplaceable resource to Northern California's Ecology.

Boating, fishing, camping and swimming on the Sacramento and its reservoirs attract more than 8 million visitors a year. The river's salmon fishery alone generates over $100 million annually, and more than 70% of the salmon caught off California's cost spawn in the Sacramento River, its tributaries, and its hatcheries.

The 54-mile stretch of the river from Redding to Red Bluff winds its way through a variety of landscapes. Sheer canyon walls, gentle river terraces, lush riparian vegetation, and rolling oak woodlands are all trademarks for this 40,000-acre region. BLM administers the lion's share of public land along a 26-mile, meandering river corridor and cooperatively manages several recreation sites. BLM operates one full service-campground with a boat ramp, two primitive river access sites, hiking trails and wildlife viewing areas. Float boating and rafting are popular during the hot summer months, while most hunting, horseback riding, and sight-seeing occur during the cooler months of the year. Fishing is popular year-round, with most anglers on the river during salmon and steelhead runs.

The riparian (riverside) forests ribboning the river and the adjacent oak woodlands provide a diverse habitat for wildlife.

Mammals: Beaver, black-tail deer, river otter, grey squirrel and ring-tail cat are not uncommon. Observant visitors may spy coyote, grey fox, bobcat, or mountain lion south of Balls Ferry.

Amphibians: Evening serenity is underscored by the sounds of the pacific chorus frog and the bullfrog. Daytime travelers are likely to see western pond turtles, fence lizards, and spadefoot toads.

Fish: The river supports four runs of Chinook salmon, including the endangered winter-run. More abundant species are the Pacific lamprey, steelhead and rainbow trout, striped bass, green sunfish, bluegill, largemouth and smallmouth bass, Sacramento sucker, shad, and various catfish, minnows, herrings and sturgeon.

Birds: Counting both migratory and resident birds, nearly 200 different species have been observed along the river. Avian wildlife include the belted kingfisher, spotted sandpiper, egret, great blue heron, valley quail, turkey, osprey, Nutall's woodpecker and scrub jay. The river sustains various waterfowl including mallard duck, Canadian geese, cinnamon teal and merganser. The best months to see migratory waterfowl are between September and January. The most fortunate visitors may spot bank swallows, bald eagles and golden eagles.

Reading Island

Boat Ramp, Swimming Access, Camping, Picnicing P Location: Five miles east of Cottonwood, midway between Redding and Red Bluff on the Sacramento River. Take Interstate 5 to Balls Ferry exit east to Adobe Road. Elevation: 400 feet. Facilities: Eight tent/trailer campsites with charcoal grills, potable water, vault toilets; day-use picnic area, concrete boat ramp with dock, group site. Oiled roads and parking. Sacramento River access. Permits are required for use of the group site and can be obtained from the BLM office in Redding. Camping available for groups at $75 per night. Use Season: year-round. Fires: Only in grills or portable stoves. Vegetation: Oak, willow, cottonwood, blackberries, elderberry. Nearest Services: Anderson, Cottonwood.

Jellys Ferry

Day-Use; Fishing

Location: Seven miles south of Balls Ferry on Jellys Ferry Road (Gover Road), or Interstate 5 to Jellys Ferry exit.

Paynes Creek

Primitive Camping, Day-Use, Fishing Access

Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association
1699 HWY 273, Anderson, CA 96007 | (P) 530-365-7500 | (F) 530-365-1258