Clear Lake State Park

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About Clear Lake State Park

Clear Lake State Park boasts the largest freshwater lake in the entirety of California. Wow. Granted, it doesn’t live up to its name as a “clear lake” since the water is covered in algae, but it’s definitely worth checking out! While visiting the park, you can learn about the rich Native American history behind this area on a breezy self-guided trail, and this area offers plenty of recreational activities, ranging from jet-skiing to wildlife watching, making for an awesome family getaway.

Campgrounds in Clear Lake

Lower Bayview Campground

1. Lower Bayview Campground

This is the best campground to stay at if you’re itching to jump into the water-- the swimming beach is only a few steps away! You can admire views...

Roman
Roman: We went in July 2014. Great campsite. Found a semi secluded site 109. The water was refreshing but you could feel the draught...
24 Saves
Kelsey Creek Campground

2. Kelsey Creek Campground

Kelsey Creek is a huge campground surrounded by Clear Lake and the Kelsey Slough, which you can walk along on the Kelsey Creek boardwalk trail....

Evan
Evan: perfect campground to break up your trip from SF northward to parks like mendocino, humboldt, or king range. sites are...
9 Saves
Cole Creek Campground

3. Cole Creek Campground

Cole Creek is on the far west side of the park by, you guessed it, Cole Creek! There are two great views nearby, Lake Overlook further up north,...

1 Save
Upper Bayview Campground

4. Upper Bayview Campground

This small campground is located more in the outskirts of the park, yet also remains easily accessible to everything the area has to offer. There...

1 Save

Photos

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Clear Lake
hipcamper
April 8th, 2015
Clear Lake
hipcamper
April 8th, 2015
Clear Lake
hipcamper
April 8th, 2015
Clear Lake
hipcamper
June 5th, 2015
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Hipcamp Staff's photo at Clear Lake
Hipcamp Staff's photo at Clear Lake
Hipcamp Staff's photo at Clear Lake
Eric E.'s photo at Clear Lake
Evan S.'s photo at Clear Lake

9 Reviews

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Hipcamper Roman

We went in July 2014. Great campsite. Found a semi secluded site 109. The water was refreshing but you could feel the draught is working on Clear Lake. Campground was clean and fun. Some nice hikes in the area.

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Hipcamper Evan

perfect campground to break up your trip from SF northward to parks like mendocino, humboldt, or king range. sites are clustered with tables, fire rings, and nearby restrooms+showers. $38/night, reserve online but note this means it fills up on busy weekends

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Hipcamper A
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Okay, maybe Clear Lake isn’t actually that clear, but it IS a lake…so of course there’s algae.

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Hipcamper A
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The beach can be rocky, so don’t forget your chairs or towels.

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Hipcamper A
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Roads are somewhat narrow and the drive is winding, be careful and don’t be in too much of a rush!

Hipcamper A
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Watch out for poison oak! Stay on the trails or suffer the rash of nature.

Hipcamper A
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It’s super hot during the summer, make sure you get a shaded campsite (110 and 111 in Lower Bayview is the place to be).

Hipcamper Linda

Nice campground. Seen deer beside our site. Seen lots of turtles. Loved our walks. Other campers were nice. Only bad thing is raccoon thieves.

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

This is your shirtless host Steve on Clear lake I lived in Clear Lake park on the other side of the lake and I can tell you will love this park. But be ready for the warm weather this summer it will get warm. I will be a camp host next summer and l am looking forward to it. So stop in and camp and have fun. Good Camping Good Fishing And Just Good Fun. The whole family will love it.
Your Shirtless host Steve Jones!!

History of Clear Lake State Park

The most prominent of the region’s many volcanic cones is 4,200-foot Mount Konocti, just southwest of the park. Konocti is classified as an active volcano, although it has been dormant for thousands of years. The Clear Lake region is geologically active - as seen by the many hot springs in the area. At the turn of the 20th century, hundreds of health-seekers traveled by rail and stage to the local mineral springs resorts, which promised to cure everything from rheumatism to obesity.

The Clear Lake area has a rich and interesting Native American and early settler’s history. Several thousand years ago, a landslide blocked natural drainage from a valley into the Russian River. The water rose until it found an outlet through Cache Creek into the Sacramento River to form Clear Lake, the largest natural lake entirely within California. The water comes from runoff and springs in Soda Bay.

The predominant culture surrounding the lake was Pomo. The west side of what is now Kelsey Creek was inhabited by the Xabenapo Pomo, now known as the Big Valley Pomo. Surrounded by Pomo neighbors, the Lile’ek Wappo were allowed the use of land east of Kelsey Creek in today’s park. The Southeastern Pomo lived east of the Lile’ek people. The Pomo were hunters and gatherers. They built tule boats to fish and used obsidian (cooled volcanic lava) from Mt. Konocti for tool-making and barter. Complex Pomo baskets, made from plant material and often adorned with feathers, were and still are among the finest baskets made.

Pioneers arrived in 1826 and began to settle in territory inhabited by the native people, which often resulted in violence. Tribal leaders eventually signed an 1851 treaty with the U.S. government that gave the natives 72 miles of lakefront land and a promise of peace. However, this and many subsequent government agreements for the Pomo to regain their land were canceled or dishonored. In 1983, 17 California tribes sued for and gained permanent federal recognition. The Big Valley Pomo began buying back their former tribal lands. Today the Big Valley Pomo enjoy a thriving government and are working toward self-sufficiency.

After the Pomo land was confiscated by the government, it was granted to Salvador Vallejo, who grazed his livestock in the area. For the next 90 years, successive owners used the land for grazing, dairy farming, hunting and fishing. In 1947 then-owners Fred and Nellie Dorn sent a letter of Lake County officials “granting the County of Lake 330 acres bordering the shores of Clear Lake and which in turn is to be transferred to the State of California for use as a public park.” The county deeded the land to the State in 1948, preserving the property for future generations.