Trees and shrubs cover the landscape with mountains in the background in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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Ukiah Field Office

Cache Creek Natural Area

 Photo:  scenic view of Payne Ranch area.                                                               This secluded, hilly expanse of oak woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral is a combination of over 70,000 acres of BLM managed lands and 4,700 acres of State and County lands.  The Natural Area is traversed by Cache Creek, with its year-round water flow. Elevation ranges from 3200 feet atop Brushy Sky High, down to 600 feet in the eastern end of Cache Creek along State Route 16. Showcasing the area is about 35 miles of the main fork of Cache Creek and 2.5 miles of the north fork. Also present are several tributary creeks that contain permanent water.

Along the creek, wetland grasses, rushes and sedges grow under a canopy of cottonwoods, willows, oaks and alders providing excellent wildlife habitat. About half the Cache Creek area is shrubland, with vegetation including mixed chaparral, serpentine chaparral and chamise chaparral. The remainder of the area is about equally divided between native oaks and grassland. Numerous bird species have been spotted here.

The Cache Creek Natural Area is a primitive area, closed to motorized vehicles. There are no developed campgrounds or facilities. Non-hunting (target) shooting is not allowed.  Instead, the area is managed to improve habitat for wildlife and rare plants, to protect cultural resource values, and to offer primitive recreation opportunities, including wildlife viewing, river running, hiking, equestrian use, hunting and fishing.  On October 17, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act, designating approximately 27,245 acres within the Cache Creek Natural Area (CCNA) as the Cache Creek Wilderness Area.  As a result of this designation, bicycles are not permitted within the designated Wilderness Area.

The new wilderness area is entirely within Lake County (Congressional District 1).  Click here to view map of the new wilderness area boundaries.

Cows at Cache Creek?

Learn more about BLM's prescribed grazing program for control of noxious weeds.

For more information, contact: 

Animals you may see here .............

  • Photo:  Bald eagles roost near Cache CreekThe bald eagle is one of the more spectacular winter visitors to the Cache Creek area, as they feed, soar and roost here from mid-October to mid-April. The waters of Cache Creek support catfish and carp, the primary food source for wintering bald eagles.
  • Also of special note: one of the few free-roaming tule elk herds in California wanders over the area's grasslands and chaparral. In summer, they seek out the creek's reliable water and shade.
  • Birds: A bird checklist can help you spot and record the birds you see. At least 154 species of birds have been spotted in the Cache Creek area. Certain birds are present only in summer, others winter in the area, some just migrate through or occur irregularly. Great blue herons and belted kingfishers may be in vegetation along the creek. Wild turkeys usually live in woodlands within a mile of water. Other birds include waterfowl, quail, dove and many spring songbirds.
  • You may see mountain lion, black bear, coyote, gray fox, bobcat, badger, raccoon, beaver or river otter during your visit.

Viewing tips for this area

  • Redbud Trail offers an excellent opportunity to view bald eagles along Cache Creek. The trail extends seven miles to Wilson Valley and its broad grassy bench lands (level or gently sloping areas with steep down slopes along Cache Creek). These are important range for the tule elk herd that lives in the area.
  • Blue Ridge Trail climbs 2,000 feet in three miles, for spectacular views of the Central Valley to the High Sierra.
  • Guided bald eagle tours are popular mid-January to mid-February. Call the BLM Ukiah Field Office for schedule information. (Also call for schedules of April wildflower tours.)
  • Tule elk and blacktail deer may be seen October through April. Watch for tule elk on hillsides, near brushy cover. You may see elk in the Wilson Valley portion of Cache Creek; or one mile west of the entrance, near the gravel pit on Highway 20; or near the junction of Highways 20 and 16.
  • Look for river otters under the Highway 20 bridge, near the gravel pit one mile west of the western entrance to Cache Creek.

     Photo:  Cache Creek

    Photo: Cache Creek meanders
     through brush-covered hills.

  • Have patience: it may take a little time to spot certain wildlife.
  • This is a primitive area: exercise extra safety precautions and bring a personal supply of drinking water. No potable water is available on-site. No first aid is available on-site. The nearest hospital is located in Clear Lake.
  •  

Rest room facilities are available at the Highway 20 and Highway 16 access points.

 


 
NOTICE:
Yolo County has closed Rieff/Rayhouse Road at the Lake County line and Yolo County Road 40 at Highway 16 to all vehicle traffic.
For more information,
Contact Yolo County Public Works Division at (530) 666-8775


  Directions:

REQUEST AREA MAPS

Redbud Trail:  From Interstate 5 at Williams, take Highway 20 west about 29 miles to the North Fork Cache Creek/Redbud Trailhead. The trailhead provides parking, maps and information for hiking and equestrian access.
(Or: From Clearlake Oaks, travel east on State Highway 20 for 8 miles to the trailhead.

CLICK HERE FOR MAP OF REDBUD TRAIL

Judge Davis Trail: From Interstate 5 at Williams, take Highway 20 west about 20 miles to mile marker 46.07.   There is a parking lot on the south side of the highway. The trail parallels Highway 20 for the first 80 yards or so, then cuts back into the hills.
(Or: From Clearlake Oaks, travel east on State Highway 20 for 17 miles to the trailhead.)

Horses and bicycles are allowed only from the third Saturday in April through the third Saturday in November.  Bicycles are not permitted within the designated Wilderness Area.

Caution: Due to the realignment of Highway 20, the access to the parking area is steep (approximately 10% grade). Use extreme caution when entering or leaving the area, especially if pulling a heavy trailer.

Cache Creek Ridge Trail:  This trail can be accessed from two points. 

  1. Judge Davis Trailhead:  From Interstate 5 at Williams, take Highway 20 west about 20 miles to mile marker 46.07.   There is a parking lot on the south side of the highway.  (Or: From Clearlake Oaks, travel east on State Highway 20 for 17 miles to the trailhead.) 
  2. Highway 16:  From Interstate 5 at Williams, take State Highway 20 west for about 19 miles to its junction with State Highway 16. Travel south on Highway 16 for 7.0 miles to confluence of Bear Creek and Cache Creek. Limited parking is available on the west side of Hwy 16 at BLM gate.  (Or: from Clearlake Oaks, go east on State Highway 20 to Highway 16 intersection, then follow directions above.)

CLICK HERE FOR MAP OF CACHE CREEK RIDGE TRAIL

Cowboy Camp Trailhead: From Interstate 5 at Williams, take State Highway 20 west for about 19 miles to its junction with State Highway 16. Travel south on Highway 16 for 1 mile. Parking lot is on the right.  (Or: from Clearlake Oaks, go east on State Highway 20 to Highway 16 intersection, then follow directions above.)

Notice:

The Cowboy Camp Equestrian Campground is OPEN. 
 CLICK HERE FOR MAP OF COWBOY CAMP LOOP TRAIL

High Bridge Trailhead:  From Interstate 5 at Williams, take State Highway 20 west for about 19 miles to its junction with State Highway 16. Travel south on Highway 16 for 4.5 miles. Parking lot is on the right.  (Or: from Clearlake Oaks, go east on State Highway 20 to Highway 16 intersection, then follow directions above.)

CLICK HERE FOR MAP OF HIGH BRIDGE TRAIL

 Blue Ridge Trail:  From Interstate 5 at Williams, take State Highway 20 west for about 19 miles to its junction with State Highway 16. Travel south on Highway 16 for 10 miles. Turn right on County Road 40.  Proceed .25 mile, and cross Cache Creek on a low-water bridge.  Park in pullouts just west of bridge and hike approximately 200 yards south on access trail to Blue Ridge Trailhead.   (Or: from Clearlake Oaks, go east on State Highway 20 to Highway 16 intersection, then follow directions above.)

Fiske Creek Trail:  From Interstate 5 at Williams, take State Highway 20 west for about 19 miles to its junction with State Highway 16. Travel south on Highway 16 for 10 miles. Turn right on County Road 40.  Proceed 2.7 miles west on Road 40 to trailhead.
(Or: from Clearlake Oaks, go east on State Highway 20 to Highway 16 intersection, then follow directions above.)

Frogpond Trail:   From Interstate 5 at Williams, take State Highway 20 west for about 19 miles to its junction with State Highway 16. Travel south on Highway 16 for 10 miles. Turn right on County Road 40.  Proceed 0.8 miles to the trailhead.
(Or: from Clearlake Oaks, go east on State Highway 20 to Highway 16 intersection, then follow directions above.)

Frogpond Connector (parking for horse trailers and large vehicles):  From Interstate 5 at Williams, take State Highway 20 west for about 19 miles to its junction with State Highway 16. Travel south on Highway 16 for 10 miles. Turn right on County Road 40.  Proceed 0.6 miles to Blue Ridge Ranch House.  There is public parking available across from the Ranch House, south of Road 40.  Trailhead is directly across Road 40, behind the west gate into the Ranch House. (Or: from Clearlake Oaks, go east on State Highway 20 to Highway 16 intersection, then follow directions above.)

Perkins Creek Ridge Trail:  This trail can be accessed from the Redbud Trail (see above), approximately one mile from the North Fork trailhead.

 


Fish Consumption Advisory: The California State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Analysis has issued a health advisory for fish and shellfish from Clear Lake, Cache Creek and Bear Creek.

More Information


Managed cooperatively by: Bureau of Land Management's Ukiah Field Office, Yolo County , and California Department of Fish and Game.

The Cache Creek area is managed as a primitive area to protect wildlife and rare plants. That means:

  • Access to the majority of the Cache Creek area is limited to foot traffic, equestrian use and mountain bikes.
  • Some trails may be closed seasonally to protect wildlife.
  • There are no developed camping areas. Primitive camping is permitted.
  • Please use low-impact camping techniques and help maintain Cache Creek's special natural beauty.
  • Campfires may be prohibited during periods of extreme fire danger.
  • Non-hunting (target) shooting is not allowed.

Bureau of Land Management 
Ukiah Field Office 
2550 North State Street 
Ukiah, CA  95482


Phone: (707) 468-4000 


link to map request formRequest or view recreation maps


Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRMP)


California Department of Fish & Game
Region 3
P.O. Box 47
(7329 Siverado Trail)
Napa, CA  94558

Phone: (707)944-5500


Link to Cache Creek stream flow informationRiver Stage Information

Dam Release Information


 or call Yolo County Flood Control at: 
(530) 662-0266




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