Highland Springs Recreation Area

Easy to Locate?

Dog-Friendly?

Easy to Walk?

FREE?

Adequate Parking?

Restroom Facilities?

Yes

Yes

 Yes

Yes

Usually

Yes

This is a gallery of photos I took at the Highland Springs Recreational Area while participating in a picnic get-together with members of Tuleyome, the Lake County Horse Council and the Highland Springs Trails Volunteer group.

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The recreational area surrounds rolling foothills and the Highland Springs Reservoir, so you get green views and water views all in the same day.  The place is relatively easy to find (I’ll give more directions and maps later), has adequate parking and a large restroom facility adjacent to the Frisbee-Golf field.  Thanks to the work of the Trails Volunteers, a large number of the trails are well-marked.  They’re made for various fitness levels, from gentle inclines to steep inclines, so you can walk the ones you like best.  It’s also dog-friendly there, but make sure you keep your dog on a leash (for your dog’s safety as well as the safety of others).  There’s a lot of poison oak in the area, so learn how to identify it and take something with you to wash your skin after your walk.

The reservoir is large but not so large that you can’t see from one shore to the next.  It’s surrounded by cattails and tule, and hosts a variety of bird-life, especially red-winged blackbirds.  The best time to see it is in the spring and fall.  In the summer the heat turns everything brown, and in the rainy winter months some of the trails are closed to traffic in the hopes of better maintaining them.  ((Despite signage that forbids it, some people still think they can ride over the wet trails — and end up leaving a dangerous mess of potholes and ripped up trails in their wake, which the volunteers have to struggle to correct in the spring.  It’s costly, time-consuming, dangerous work… so please be mindful of “Closed” signs when they’re posted.))

For wildflower viewing the area can’t be beat between the months of March and May (depending on the weather).  Even the drive to and from the reservoir can give you lots of chances to see fields of gorgeous blue and yellow lupine and other wildflowers.  At the reservoir itself we came across fairy lanterns, money wart, hounds tongue, ground irises, Indian Warrior paintbrush, and yellow star grass among others; and there are also flowering manzanita trees, redbud trees and buck bush.  Invasive species like yellow star thistle and teasel also abound there.  Although they are “pretty” to look at they push out native plants and deprive native animal species of the food they need to survive.  Contact the Highland Springs Trails Volunteer group if you’d like to help with their trail building/maintenance projects.

More information is also available at the Lake County website.

How to Get to the Reservoir:

The Highland Spring Recreational area is located at 3600 East Highland Springs Road, Lakeport, CA  95453.

  • Take the I-5 to Williams and exit on Highway 20 West (CA 20 W, Clearlake/Colusa)
  • Take Highway 20 West to Highway 53 South (California 53)
  • Turn LEFT onto Highway 53 South
  • When you reach Lowerlake, turn RIGHT from Highway 53 South onto Highway 29 North (CA-29 N)
  • Take Highway 29 North to County Road 412 / Highland Springs Road
  • Continue on down Highland Springs Road to the fork in the road
  • Take the LEFT fork, onto Highland Springs Road East and follow it to the reservoir.

The map below on the left shows you the “long version” of the route from Williams to the reservoir, and the map on the right shows you how the road forks right at the head of the reservoir.

Thank you to Google Maps for these images
Thank you to Google Maps for these images.

From Williams up to the reservoir you’re going to experience a good deal of elevation changes so bring something to chew on or drink to help “pop” your ears.  We stopped at the Tower Mart in Lower Lake, CA (right where Highway 53 meets Highway 29) and took a potty break there and got some snacks.  They also have a phalanx of gas pumps there if your vehicle needs a fill up.

The recreation area is generally open form 6:00 am until 9:00 pm.  Because there isn’t a lot of lighting in the area, and because of the abundance of wildlife around there (including deer and bobcats) it’s advisable not to stay after dark if you can help it.