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, has adequate parking and a large restroom facility adjacent to the Frisbee-Golf field.
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.
• Easy to Locate?Yes • Pet Friendly? Yes. Dogs MUST be on a leash. • Easy to Walk?It depends. Some trails are easier to walk than others. • Is there a Fee? Yes. • Are there Restrooms? Yes, near the frisbee-golf field, but not on the trails themselves. • Is there Accessible Parking? Yes. • Other Notes: 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.
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 birdlife, 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, Indian Paintbrush, and yellow star grass among others; and there are also flowering manzanita trees, redbud trees and buck bush.
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 Lower Lake, 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.