Lake Berryessa, Clear Lake, and Blue lakes can be combined into one trip up north from the SF Bay area.
You may engage in typical lake activities – like camping, boating, fishing and kayaking. Unfortunately the water in the Clear Lake and Lake Baryessa is suboptimal for swimming. Especially with the last two decades of drought in California the water levels in the lakes are low. Aquatic flora overgrowth makes it less than ideal to enjoy those two lakes.
Lake Berryessa is exceptionally pleasant for the day use with lots of hiking path and secluded shores. The whole coast line is convoluted and wraps around surrounding rolling hills. It is a very private park and is a bit scary since there are not that many people in the area. It is very quiet here, I mean to the point where you can hear people on the other bank talk.
The lake is known for the Lake Berryessa sinkhole or Lake Berryessa gloryhole – a weird engineering marvel – water suction for the dam. We passed by it, however didn’t really have a chance to take a photo since parking isn’t very convenient despite close proximity. It was like “ahhh, there it was” type of moment.
Here’s a cool areal footage of the Lake Berryessa sinkhole
Pretty laid back, uneventful area You can go kayaking from the town of Lake Port. Disney’s Boat Rental is a convenient location to grub your gear including kayaks.
There are several wineries in the area along the road 29. It’s hard to call this pavement strech a highway though.
While kayaking on the Clear lake we enjoyed the scenery and a mountain in the back ground – Mt Konocti .
Here’s a footage of Mt Konocti
Apparently this mountain is actually a volcano. But we didn’t find that until couple of years after the trip. Mt Konocti volcano is part of 8 active volcanoes in California – see the post on the Lava Tube in Lassen national Park.
8 active volcanoes in California
Extending from North to South include:
- Medicine Lake volcano
- Shasta volcano
- Lassen Volcano
- Clear Lake volcano
- Long Valley caldera
- Ubehebe craters volcano
- Coso volcanic field
- Salton Buttes
A few people have condos or Timeshares around the Clear lake that are easily rentable through Air BnB or other platforms.
We had a good time staying at one of those apartments for the first time ever and it wasn’t all that bad. The whole trip was not that spectacular until our friends fond the Blue Lakes. That place was far welcoming than lake Beryessa or Clear Lake.
That was the highlight of the trip. The lakes sit somewhat in between two small mountain ranges and have exceptionally clean “blue” water. We saw many people fishing for trout and simply enjoying the water.
There’s a small park that you have to pay a bit to park at by the Pine Acers Resort. Although it’s a nice place to BBQ and enjoy clean water. Thus far the only lake that we actually dipped in in the whole of California.
Clean Lakes in California are probably non-existent and anywhere you’d go. The mountain lakes are too cold to even dip your toes in. Lake Tahoe is freezing for the most part of the year as well. Big Bear Lake is super cold as well. You have to drive forever to Southern California lakes – lake Pyramid & Castic (even from LA it’s a long drive). Furthermore, most of the lakes (Like Cachuma) are significantly depleted by the drought and simply unpleasant to go into.
Imagine our surprise once we found the Blue Lake! The water was exceptionally clean and refreshing. That’s why this place is unlike any other in all of California and made it onto our California Perspective blog.
Many of the photos in this post were taken by our partners in crime. Many thanks to you guys for letting me use them!