Clear Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in California and one of the most ancient lakes on the North American continent — possibly the world — with lakes existing at the site of Clear Lake for approximately 2.5 million years. Pomo Indians, the region’s earliest inhabitants, called the lake “Lypoyomi,” which means “big water.” In the 1800s, the name was changed to reflect the region’s sweet fresh air and the lake’s influence on the Mediterranean-type climate. Lake County continues to boast the state’s cleanest air, as verified by the California Air Resources Board.
More than 100 miles of shoreline, an average depth of 28 feet, constant water renewal due to tectonic plate activity below the lake bottom, geothermal hot springs, and nutrient-rich waters all are credited with Clear Lake’s legacy of having more fish per acre than any other lake in the country.
Known as the “Bass Capital of the West,” Clear Lake is home to numerous fishing tournaments each year from a variety of bass clubs.
The 19th century brought a wave of European settlers to Lake County. Natural mineral springs, such as Bartlett Springs and Soda Bay Springs, became popular attractions for visitors in the area. Resorts were built to accommodate the influx of tourists. Because of the lack of roads around Clear Lake, steamships became a predominant method of connecting visitors to resorts around the lake. The steamers were used for both transportation and recreation, and then replaced by gas powered boats.
At the heart of Northern California’s rural, agricultural Lake County, Clear Lake has long attracted nature lovers, boating and watersports enthusiasts, campers, hikers, and birdwatchers. Beaches, parks, resorts, boat docks, grazing land, vineyards, gardens, and private homes line the lake’s peaceful shores.
The Indian Nature Trail is a self-guided trail where hikers can learn about how the Pomo people used the area’s natural resources. The Pomo people lived in the area for centuries, and visitors can access the site of an old Pomo village on the nature trail.
Entrance to Clear Lake State Park is 3.5 miles northeast of Kelseyville on Soda Bay Road, north of Calistoga in the wine country.
Clear Lake is ideal for summer recreation, spring and fall kayaking and birdwatching, as well as year-round fishing.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Clear Lake State Park has been upgraded, with a majority of campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, boat launch areas, swim beaches, and visitor center ADA accessible.
The Kelsey Creek Trail is 0.7 miles long and ADA accessible through the Kelsey Creek Campground. The trail contains 1,500 feet of boardwalk along Kelsey Slough.
The Dorn Nature Trail is 0.75 miles long and ADA accessible near site #116 of the Upper Bayview Campground. The trails offers 3 overlooks and views of the hills and Clear Lake.
For More Information, Contact:
Clear Lake State Park
Lake County Visitor Information Center
6100 East Highway 20, Lucerne, CA 95458
(707) 274-5652 · toll-free (800) 525-3743