Try These Top 5 Spots To Take a Hike!
November 4, 2020
“Take a hike!” is not a very nice thing to say in most circumstances, but where we come from it’s actually terrific advice. With all of the scenic beauty and natural wonders in every direction, Lake County has plenty of places to stretch your legs, and your imagination.
How much? Well, not to brag, but Lake County boasts more than 600,000 acres of public land and 100-plus miles of hiking trails—and pardon the pun, but each one is Clearly Different from the other. You’ll experience some of California’s most stunning landscapes in Lake County, with a variety of views ranging from mountain vistas to endless vines, from open valleys to freshwater shorelines.
Now, you could try to traverse all 100-plus miles of hiking trails and while we’d certainly be impressed, we think there’s an easier way. Sure, we’re personally partial to all of our trails (and believe each one is worth a visit), but to make it easy on you we’ve gathered the top five spots that trekkers and locals alike say you have to check out. Remember to pack your hiking boots, because you’re going to need them!
You know your trail is pretty good when it’s literally the stuff of legend. Mt. Konocti is a 10,000-year old volcano and the site of Lake County’s largest park. While you can see Mt. Konocti from pretty much anywhere in Lake County, you’ll get the best views along the Wright Peak Summit trail. There’s walnut and apple orchards, the amazing Canyon Oak grove, the 117-year old Mary Downen cabin, and even the remains of a small plane which crashed tragically in 1962. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, there’s also access routes for side trips to Buckingham Peak and Howard Peak.
Difficulty: The Wright Peak trail can be kinda strenuous. You’ll gain 1,649-ft. elevation from the trailhead until the Wright Peak summit at 4,299-ft. elevation. It is more than 3 miles (about 3-5 hours, give or take), and there are very steep areas. Food, water, and rest are your friends.
Hop on a horse, or use your own two feet, whatever your preferred means of transportation, you’ll feel like a cowboy moseying along the 3,200-acre watershed of Highland Springs. While hikers and equestrians have officially enjoyed the area for more than 50 years, the trails were first developed by hunters on horseback more than 130 years ago. Highland Springs still features the same unspoiled, rugged landscape it has for thousands of years, so it’s an absolute must for hiking and horseback riding.
Difficulty: Mostly open range, but there are some steep hillsides here and there. The views are 100% worth it.
Hike through 1,065 acres of natural wonders and thousands of years of California history in the Anderson Marsh state historic park. With a nature reserve preserving a tule march, archaeological sites of the Pomo people, and ranch structures built by Lake County’s early Anglo settlers, Anderson Marsh is like visiting several sites in one. Pack your binoculars too, because Anderson March is also bird lover’s bliss, with 151 species of migratory and resident birds.
Difficulty: The two most popular trails (Cache Creek and McVicar Trail) are easy-peasy. Just make sure you have water. You know the drill.
Middle Creek Nature Area
Ever seen a great blue heron gulp down a bullfrog? Welp, you’re liable to when you hike the Middle Creek Nature Area, which is pretty much like visiting a National Geographic special. Birdwatchers travel from all over the world (even farther than the birds) to visit this major waterfowl migratory route, which is home to several osprey nests and great blue heron rookeries. We must say, these birds have great taste.
Difficulty: Piece of cake, though be sure to pack supplies for a 1-3 hour round trip.
Mendocino National Forest
Mendocino National Forest should be on any National Park fan’s bucket list, and half of its 450,000 acres is in Lake County. All of Mendocino is wonderful, but we’re mighty proud (and very blessed) with the parts of the forest we got. The top spot, literally and figuratively, is the 37,679-acre Snow Mountain Wilderness, which backpackers and horseback riders love for its numerous creeks and landscape covered with chaparral, grasslands, oak woodlands, and deep forests. Although access is remote, you will be rewarded with forty miles of hiking trails in the wilderness area, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is also a must-see, and while seeing its entire 330,780 acres is a bit ambitious, a portion extends into the Lake County area.
Difficulty: Not too bad, just be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water.
Picking the best places to hike in Lake County is like finding the best tree in Mendocino National Forest—they’re all pretty great. When you get right down to it, the best recommendation is your own. So plan your next trekking adventure to Lake County and we’ll see ya when ya get here.
P.S. Due to COVID-19 we strongly encourage you to take proper precautions and follow best practices recommended by public health experts. It’ll help keep you safe and help keep us safe too. Besides, it’s just the nice thing to do. We certainly appreciate it.
P.S.S. Stay safe and be sure to check conditions before heading out for your hike.