The most thrilling ride is The Awesome Avalanche, where visitors plummet down an almost vertical side wall.

WaterWorksPark is a great way to cool down in Redding, Calif.

The water park has a wading pool with easy slides for toddlers and other kids up to 48 inches tall, along with a host of more adventurous water rides. Some require kids to be at least 42 inches tall, and others require kids to be at least 48 inches tall.

The most thrilling ride is The Awesome Avalanche, where visitors plummet down an almost vertical side wall. Riders must be at least 48 inches tall.

For an extra $8, you can rent a double tube, which allows a parent and child to ride together. It was a good buy for our family, since it allowed me to go on fun rides like the Raging River Tube Ride and The Cyclone with my 5-year-old. (I wouldn't have felt comfortable sending her down those rides alone on a single tube.) You get $2 back when you return the double tube.

A locker rental is $5, with $2 returned when you give back the key.

The cost for a person under 48 inches is $15, while the cost for a person over 48 inches is $19. The park is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until Sept. 7.

An on-site snack bar sells food like hotdogs, pizza and hamburgers. There's a shaded picnic area outside the water park for people who want to bring food or pick up sandwiches at Subway, a short drive away. For more information, visit www.waterworkspark.com.

If you want to enjoy a hike while driving to or from Redding, take Interstate 5 Exit 724 to Castle Crags State Park. Day use parking costs $6.

Hand-outs with trail descriptions are available at a little station near the entrance.

If you're short on time, drive up to Vista Point. The road is narrow and motorhomes are not allowed. Park at Vista Point, then walk uphill and follow a trail that leads about 200 yards and switches back on itself. You'll reach a vista point with views of the Castle Crags to the west and Mt. Shasta to the north. The area has picnic tables, benches and telescopes.

If you have more time, walk downhill from the parking area at Vista Point until you see a sign for the Crags Trail to Castle Dome. Round-trip, the trail is 5.5 miles. You could walk about 1.25 miles to see views of the crags and then turn back to shorten the hike. For more information, visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=454.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.