The Lower Sacramento Ditch Trail is part of the system of trails that make up the Sacramento River Trail. The Lower Ditch Trail follows what once was a railroad used to transport quartz for use in copper smelting, and the evidence of rail use is evident, from old housing for rail and mine workers, to many cuts through bedrock to accommodate the steam trains of the day.
This peaceful, well-marked route meanders through mature tree canopies on a dirt surface, passing many rock formations along the way. Undulating hills, some steep but mostly gentle, carry you and your fur-pup south from the trailhead at the end of Walker Mine Road, skirting the base of low mountains and employing switchbacks on the steeper inclines. Many side paths lead away from the main trail and provide routes to the Sacramento for some rest, spectacular river views and maybe a cooling swim during Redding's hot summer. Shade and sun alternate as you ascend and descend, providing a variety of perspectives on the surrounding scenery.
When you arrive at Old Diggins Road, you have reached the Hornbeck Trail. From here you can return the way you came, or continue northeast on the Hornbeck to form a 7-mile loop back to Walker Mine Road. You can also park at the Hornbeck Trailhead about a mile up the road and do the out-and-back Lower Ditch in reverse. Neither trailhead features water or restrooms, and there are no waste receptacles available so plan to collect and carry out dog waste, and bring plenty of water for both of you.
While the Lower Sacramento Ditch Trail may not be the longest or most challenging in the Shasta County area, it's popular with locals who come back often for a hike, run or ride. Whether you and your doggo are residents or visiting, you'll find lots to like, too.
This area of Redding is known to harbor rattlesnakes.