Hike

HIKING TRAILS

Photo of kids and adults hiking at Highland Springs Recreation Area

Hiking at Highland Springs Recreation Area

Easiest hikes

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park – Easy hikes on level ground. Great area for wildlife viewing and interpretive activities. Docent tours of trails and historic ranch house every second Saturday of each month except for January, September and December. Hiking only, and sorry, no pets allowed.

Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest – Easy-to-moderate hikes from the main parking lot would be the Interpretive Trail, Gail’s Trail, and Mac’s Trail. The areas around Calso and Ridge campgrounds are also fine for tooling around on a bike for beginner mountain bikers. View this trail map for difficulty levels.

Boggs Lake Ecological Reserve – A fascinating vernal pool with a mostly-level trail built under a forest canopy on Mt Hannah, off Harrington Flat Rd. The trail is maintained by the Lake County Land Trust on behalf of The Nature Conservancy. Boggs Lake Reserve features some of the most unique native plants in the state of California.

Clark’s Island – A darling little island with its own covered bridge in Clearlake Oaks, complete with a “floating island” and “living dock”. Gorgeous willow trees and flowering plants make this a special gem in the spring, and a favorite for waterfowl enthusiasts!

Clear Lake State Park – The Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association holds guided hikes near the Clear Lake shoreline on the third Saturday of each month. There are three short trails – the Kelsey Creek Trail (boardwalk trail), Dorn Trail (hillier, 2.5 miles), and the Indian Nature Trail (moderate half-mile, self-guided nature trail). Bikes are allowed on pavement.

Highland Springs Recreation Area – Broad meadows along Adobe Reservoir and a Lakeside trail around Highland Springs Reservoir make this destination a favorite in the cooler months, or a great swimming destination (at the Highland Springs Reservoir) in the summer.

Middletown Trailside Park – Meadows and woodland trails on 107 level acres just outside of Middletown. A good area to learn how to ride a mountain bike as the trails are mostly level. Lots of picnic tables with very cool outdoor art exhibits, too!

Rabbit Hill – Though moderately strenuous, this short trail quickly leads little feet up to a great vista point of the Mayacamas. The Lake County Land Trust manages this 10-acre property, and plans to  gather an oral history of the property.

Redbud Trail – This trailhead into the Cache Creek Wilderness Area offers an open meadow in the first mile for easy strolls. It then continues a moderate ascent into oak woodlands, so use your best judgement to determine a suitable distance for your kids. Make sure to bring lots of water! This wilderness area is closed to bikes.

Rodman Slough County Park – A 40-acre park along beautiful Rodman Slough. The trails are short and hilly in some spots, but it’s a great area to explore shoreline wildlife (river otters, turtles, ducks and other waterfowl).

Rodman Preserve Nature Education Center – Operated by the Lake County Land Trust, the preserve is open every Saturday morning at 9am (May-September) and 8am (June-August) for guided walks on mostly level trails.  This area is especially ideal for birding. The Center holds quarterly events presented by experts on topics ranging from the oak trees of Lake County, to migrating and resident birds, to the insects and other fauna that occupy the wetlands on the property.

More challenging

Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest – Easy-to-moderate hikes from the main parking lot would be the Interpretive Trail, Gail’s Trail, and Mac’s Trail. The areas around Calso and Ridge campgrounds are also fine for tooling around on a bike for beginner mountain bikers. View this trail map for difficulty levels.

Glen Eden Trail – Rather steep in the first mile, and then undulating with steep short segments. This trail can take you all the way to Talmage Rd in Ukiah for a challenging loop of 20+ miles, depending on the final destination. It makes for a good 2-day backpacking trip, but preferably in the winter and early spring. Gorgeous views of Mt Konocti.

Highland Springs Recreation Area – The upland trails bring you to open chaparral habitat with lovely views of Mt Konocti and surrounding hills. Watch your step on steeper areas with loose gravel. Highland Springs Reservoir is a great swimming, fishing and paddling destination.

Judge Davis Trail – Just short of the Yolo County line, the Judge Davis trail crosses over from Lake to Yolo County into the Cache Creek Natural Area (CCNA, which in Yolo County does not include the wilderness designation; thus, mountain bikes are allowed).

Mt Konocti Wright Peak Summit Trail: This moderately strenuous hike has ~1,600 ft elevation gain over 3 miles from the Upper Parking Lot near the access gate on Konocti Rd. The trail takes hikers along the main access road, past walnut and apple orchards, through an amazing Canyon oak grove to the Mary Downen cabin, built in 1903. It then continues up to Wright Peak and the CDF Tower, with possible side trips to Buckingham Peak and Howard Peak.

Redbud and Perkins Creek Ridge Trail – This trailhead into the Cache Creek Wilderness Area offers an open meadow in the first half mile or so for easy strolls. It then continues a moderate ascent into oak woodlands, comes up to a ridge where you have the option to turn left or right. Turning left leads to Wilson Valley, and turning right will lead you to the Perkins Creek Ridge Trail with undulating hills of open chaparral. Make sure to bring lots of water! This wilderness area is closed to bikes.

Various trails in the Mendocino National Forest – The Lake Pillsbury basin has lovely areas in the immediate surroundings of the lake. Further east and south, one enters the Snow Mountain Wilderness, which can be accessed from the Colusa side (via Stonyford), or from the Lake Pillsbury side through the Bloody Rock trailhead.

Photo of Snow Mountain from West Peak, Lake County, CA

Ascending the east and west peaks of Snow Mountain can be difficult, but the views are magnificent