I hadn’t spent much time on the Westside Trails in Redding, mainly because they seemed – in my limited time running them with the dogs – intended for and most tread by – mountain bikers. The trails are accessible, really close to Redding, and quite beautiful, particularly when you get to the ridge and can look west. And very friendly and challenging for trail runners and their dogs, too, as it turns out.
But after Nate Knudsen with the Redding Trail Alliance told me about the work being done on those trails, and reminded me that you can chase a sunset on them, I figured it was a great idea late in the day. They have a map of trail status after the Carr Fire here.
This swath of foothills was devastated – and I do NOT use that word lightly. I am no geologist or fire expert, but I do know from my coverage of the fire as a journalist that in places – such as this – it burned so hot and so powerful that silica and other rocks were being baked into glasslike material. These hills on the westside, near Mary Lake, were crushed by fire. But those working on the trails, and living in the area, quickly began to rebuild. And while mother nature will need years to reforest and vegetate the area, the trails and the people on them are back. You can find an All Trails link here.
I don’t know much about the competitive mountain biking world, and am a trail runner and hiker, period, at this stage in my life. I go with my dogs and it’s not negotiable. But someone (if not already) should be holding a world class BMX event here. So many fast, challenging, well groomed trails in one place. And it would remind everyone what we have to offer out on the horizon as well.
Here’s my Strava Relive video from the short and inspiring trail jog with Murphy and Billy.