Sundial Bridge, Redding CA

The Sundial Bridge in Redding is an awesome sight. The white pylon is 218 feet tall and free spans 500 feet across the Sacramento River.

Sundial Bridge in Redding and the Sacramento River

At the base of the bridge tower is the northern shore line and an access point to dip your feet in the water or visit the McConnell Arboretum. The Sundial itself is functional at the northern shoreline. Accurate on the the longest day of the year (summer solstice) it has markings that indicates the time of day.


The Sundial Bridge crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding California. Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava was the creative thinker who came up with it's unusual design. The bridge officially opened on July 4, 2004. It is a part of the Redding Sacramento River Trail system and Turtle Bay Exploration Park. This includes the museum and arboretum .


The Sundial Bridge has many unique features including the surface, it's actually a translucent glass. The tall pylon and cable stays allow the bridge to avoid the nearby salmon-spawning habitat.  To do this there are no supports in the water which also encourage public use of the river. Plazas are situated at both ends; the north-side plaza stretches to the river's edge and beyond as a part of the extensive Redding Sacramento River Trail System.


Sundial Bridge & Spawning Salmon

With the low water temperature one must be careful because the Sacramento River is very cold.  The water exits from Shasta Dam just a couple miles up river and well below its surface behind thermal curtains.  This helps maintain this low water temperature for multiple annual Salmon spawning runs.

Redding, cA

I find the best time to visit is in the twilight hours of the day when the lighting becomes a bit dim yet you are still being able to enjoy the entire experience in the waning light by being able to see the mountains, river, trees and natural beauty of the river. At the twilight time of day you also get to see how the bridge glows from the lighting below the glass deck.