Lake County’s Tiny Jewel: Blue Lakes

Blue Lakes are actually two lakes along Highway 20 in beautiful Upper Lake. Tiny in proportion to Clear Lake, Upper Blue Lake and its sister, Lower Blue Lake add another dimension to Lake County’s natural beauty. As you pull off of the highway along Cold Creek Canyon the beauty of this steep and wooded mountain landscape shows off its 2 miles of lakes that attain a width of 650 feet. The twin lakes differ from Clear Lake in more than size. Since they are not nutrient-rich, they do not contain the varied plant life that thrives in shallow, eutrophic Clear Lake. Here is where quiet prevails in the unspoiled environment since no motorboats are allowed. You may, instead, opt for paddle boats, kayaks or electric pontoon boats.

Kayakers may circumnavigate a two-hour paddle around each lake, while heeding the 5 m.p.h. boat speed limit. Families love to bring inflatable rafts and tubes and spend the day here, while others prefer to book a room in one of several lodges or resorts that sit upon the waters. Fishermen love Blue Lakes as another Lake County fishing spot, citing the cool spring months as the prime time for fishing. Then, the Department of Fish and Wildlife stock the waters with 10-12 inch rainbow trout. Others fish for the catfish, crappie, largemouth bass and bluegill that are found here.
A breeze stirs the blue waters of Blue Lakes reflecting like impressionistic art scenes, and beckon you to relax in the serenity of these expanses of water that reach out to the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains.

Discussing the formation of Blue Lakes, local archaeologist Dr. John Parker learned via his research into 1930s geology publications that, “It was indicated that there was a landslide at the north end of Blue Lakes which blocked and backed up the Clear Lake outlet channel causing the shift to the Cache Creek outlet. Yes, there is a landslide there; however, it is not old enough to have caused the shift in Clear Lake’s outflow. The USGS has determined that the landslide is several hundred years (or thousand years) more recent than the change in outflow (which occurred approximately 12,000 years ago). It is likely that Clear Lake flowed out the Blue Lake canyon to the Russian River several times during its 500,000 plus years lifetime. It is also likely that its outlet channel that direction flowed through the Scott’s Creek Canyon a few times (rather than Tule Lake). In addition to the current Cache Creek outlet (which also was probably used many times over the millennia), geologic evidence suggests that the lake flowed past Lower Lake down the canyon by Hidden Valley Lake and drained out Putah Creek a few times.”

The bestselling book, Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or underwater can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do, by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols cites evidence declaring that being in the vicinity of water can promote good health in more ways than one. This book, along with the beauty of our lakes and waterways gives us yet one more reason to get out and about and soak in the variety of shorelines for a natural way to recharge and rest.

Kathleen Scavone

Kathleen Scavone, MA., is a retired educator who has resided in beautiful Lake County for over 45 years. She freelances fiction, poetry, nature writing, curriculum ideas, and local history. She writes for The Press Democrat, Napa Valley Register, News From Native California, Green Prints, etc. She has published three books, a play and a poetry chapbook. The second edition of her locally set historical novella, People of the Water- a novella of the events leading to the Bloody Island Massacre of 1850 is available in local museums and stores, as well as on Amazon.com and IngramSpark in both paperback and e-book formats. She has written Anderson Marsh State Historic Park- A Walking History, Prehistory, Flora and Fauna tour of a California State Park, and Native Americans of Lake County. Kathleen is a photographer and potter. Her other interests include hiking, assisting on archaeology digs, travel, gardening and reading.

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