Red Bluff Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

[Photograph]:  Lake Red Bluff shoreline.

The sparkling Sacramento River bisects 488 acres of riparian forest, flowering grasslands, wetlands, and oak woodlands providing very diverse Naturewatch experiences. Birds literally flock to this variety of habitats over the course of the year, with over 125 species observed to date.

Fishing opportunities attract otter, herons, egrets, ospreys and bald eagles.

Other visitor facilities include day use areas, one campground, four miles of trails, one boat ramps, and the Sacramento River Discovery Center. The trails provide great views of Mount Shasta, Mount Lassen, and the Yolla Bolly Mountains, which are especially scenic in the winter and spring when they are capped with snow.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Boat ramp,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Open Season: Janruary - December
Closest Towns: Red Bluff, CA - all services.
Water: Potable
Restroom: Vault
Passes: Annual Boat Launch Pass - $30.00, daily launch fee - $6.00 Available at Mendocino National Forest Office in Willows or Red Bluff Recreation Office.
Operated By: US Forest Service
Information Center: Sacramento Discovery Center - open Tuesday thru Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM - (530) 527-1196 Red Bluff Recreation Area Office - open Wednesday thru Saturday 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM - (530) 527-2813 

General Information

General Notes:

From May 15 through September 15, you can see migrating fish passing through the fish ladder and find out the various species migrating and numbers on a daily basis at the fish viewing plaza operated by US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Thousands of salmon and steelhead can be seen here every year. The fish are examined and released by biologists each morning. Peak viewing opportunities are between about 8 and 10 a.m. from late July to September 15. After September 15, the gates are in the up position allowing fish free passage upstream and downstream.

Below the Dam: Try the river bank above the boat launch at the Sycamore Grove day-use area. Early evening is the best time to see salmon roll and splash in August and mid-September. Ospreys, herons, kingfishers, and otters may be seen watching for a fish dinner as well.


The Recreation Area is located adjoining the Sacramento River, just two miles from Red Bluff, CA.

Arriving from the South, take the Lassen, Highway 36 exit at Red Bluff or coming from the Redding area heading South on I-5 take the Antelope Blvd - Lassen Highway 36 exit, there will be a Forest Service sign on right. Take the first road to the right which is Sale Lane (at the lights).

Coming from the Chico area heading North on 99E. 99E turns into Antelope Boulevard. At the second light turn left onto Sale Lane. There will be apartments on right and a residential area on left, keep going (about a 2 miles) to the Red Bluff Recreation Area. Mendocino National Forest sign will be on the right at the entrance. The Red Bluff Recreation Area is open year round unless flooding or high winds occur.

Recreation Map

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Camping & Cabins

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Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Water Activities

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Boat ramp $6 per day.
Camping trailer Up to 40 ft
Toilets Comfort Stations with Showers, vault toilets
Accessible Accessible trails, restrooms, and campgrounds.
Picnic tables All Sites
Fee charged for some activities Yes
Parking Parking Available
Tent camping Sycamore Grove Campground
Interpretive Site Sacramento River Discovery Center
Drinking water Potable