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Cache Creek Dam

A 10-mile paddling trip down Cache Creek to the Dam. Rich in wildlife, beautiful oak back-country.
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 10 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  A serene paddling experience down Cache Creek to the dam and back, past the Anderson Flats tule reeds, a few older waterfront... more »

  • Rich wildlife viewing
  • Riffle and dam
  • Beautiful back country
  • Oxbows and canals
  • Waterfront neighborhoods

  • Launch from the North Flats parking lot at the northern portion of Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, carry your boat 500 feet to the soft launch at the end of the creek. Head south (to the left), and after 1/4 mile, you will reach a confluence (1). Take a left (east), turning onto the main Cache Creek waterway, which ultimately will lead you to the dam - five miles down.

    Clear Lake’s current form was created thousands of years ago by a series of earthquakes that elevated the northwestern lake basin, cutting off drainage into the Russian River. The water rose until it found a new outlet - Cache Creek - which drains eastward into the Sacramento River. The name Cache Creek comes from Hudson’s Bay Company trappers who cached their furs along the Sacramento River and smaller tributaries.

    Once reaching the dam, re "paddle" your steps to get back to the launch spot.

    This is Water Trail #3 - the third in a series created by the Konocti Regional Trails System in Lake County, California. less «

    Tips:  This loop is best taken during summer and fall, when water levels are lower and Cache Creek Dam is not releasing huge amounts of water... more »

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    Points of Interest

    1. Confluence by Garner Island

    Paddling along, you will pass first by Garner Island and then by Slater Island, among tule reeds and wooded areas. Spring is a great time to watch for Great Blue Heron rookeries, though you will see all types of waterfowl year-round. This also is a favored fishing spot.

    2. Oxbows

    About one mile into your trip, you will begin to see a series of “oxbows” (2), small side canals that are remnants of old channels where Cache Creek used to flow. The first oxbow comes to a dead end, but the next four actually loop around when the water level is high. Egrets, cormorants, herons, mallards, and an occasional osprey may be spotted.... More

    3. Shady Acres, alternate launch spot

    Kayaks also may launch for a nominal fee from Shaw’s Shady Acres, located at 7805 Cache Creek Way off Old Highway 53 (if no one is there, place the money under the front door of the residence).

    4. Grigsby Riffle

    At Mile 1.8, you will cross under the Highway 53 bridge and then paddle by the Grigsby Riffle, a rock ledge that crosses Cache Creek. Located at a narrow point near the confluence of Seigler Canyon Creek, the Riffle is a natural rock formation that limits the amount of water flowing past and thus controls outflow from Clear Lake. Prior to... More

    5. Redbank Gorge

    At two miles, you will cross under Lake Street bridge and begin to enter Redbank Gorge, which winds through a few more older waterfront neighborhoods.

    6. Wildlife viewing

    At about three miles, you start to leave the houses behind and enter the back hill country where you may see deer, wild turkeys, jumping fish, otters, and a myriad of waterfowl.

    7. Cache Creek Dam

    After five miles, you will approach the dam, which is currently owned and operated by Yolo County. Heed the danger signs that warn boaters to stay back.

    This is the site of the 1868 Cache Creek Dam Incident when locals tore down the original dam after waters backed up and flooded most of Lower Lake. The dam was rebuilt in 1914 and remains... More