Lake County at a Glance
Location and Size
- Lake County is in Northern California, north of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is slightly inland from the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Glenn, Colusa, and Yolo counties.
- Lake County covers an area of 1,327 square miles.
- The highest peak in Lake County is Snow Mountain at 7,056 feet in the wilderness area of the Mendocino National Forest.
- From San Francisco: 110 miles, approximately two hours
- From Sacramento: 110 miles, approximately two hours
- From Pacific Coast: 70 miles, approximately an hour and a half
Clear Lake is said to have been formed more than 2 million years ago. Mt. Konocti formed gradually through a number of volcanic episodes. Pomo Indians settled the area over 10,000 years before Spanish soldiers arrived in 1821. By the mid 1800s, the area was being settled by pioneers and Europeans. After being part of Mendocino, Colusa, and Napa counties, Lake County was formed on May 20, 1861. The county’s name derives from the many lakes in the area, most prominently Clear Lake.
Cities and Communities
Within Lake County are two incorporated cities, Clearlake, the largest city; and Lakeport, the county seat. Other communities include:
- Anderson Springs
- Blue Lakes
- Clearlake Oaks
- Clearlake Park
- Hidden Valley Lake
- Loch Lomond
- Lower Lake
- Clear Lake Rivieras (Riveria West, Riveria Heights, and Riveria)
- Soda Bay
- Spring Valley
- Upper Lake
- Witter Springs
Nature’s wonders abound in Lake County. Clear Lake is the largest natural lake in the state of California. The Geysers is the largest geothermal field complex in the world. “Lake County diamonds” are there for the picking. Mt. Konocti, formed by volcanic eruptions, can be seen from anywhere on the lake. Lake County is home to Tule Elk, more than 150 bird species, the Clear Lake Hitch, a native fish found only in Clear Lake, and native trees – all of which make Lake County a natural wonderland.
Independence Day Festivities
Activities around Lake County promise a slice of Americana on the Fourth of July, including fireworks, street fairs, a parade in Lakeport, even the Clearlake International Worm Races. Fireworks dazzle the sky above Clear Lake at the Lakeport Independence Day festivities, the Maxine Sherman Annual Fireworks in Clearlake Oaks, and in the private community of Hidden Valley Lake.
Lake County Wine Adventure
Held annually on the last weekend in July, this two-day passport-type event features wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, barrel tastings, tours, and prize drawings at wineries and tasting rooms throughout Lake County. www.lakecountywineries.org
Kelseyville Pear Festival
Held every year on the last Saturday in September in the quaint town of Kelseyville, the event features pear activities and pear packing competitions, cooking demonstrations and pear tastings, quilt show, arts and crafts, fine art show and sale, children’s activities, mule-drawn wagon rides, food, antique tractor exhibit, live music, a parade, and the “Pear Pavilion.” Lake County is the largest supplier of premium fresh pears in California. Since the first commercial Bartlett orchard was planted in the late 1880s, buyers have chosen Lake County Mountain pears. This reputation began in 1885 when Lake County Bartlett pears were exhibited at the New Orleans World’s Fair. Presented by Kelseyville Business Association. www.pearfestival.com
Holiday Parades and FestivalsIn numerous small towns around Lake County, there are heart-warming and welcoming holiday parades of lights, tree-lightings, festivals, and even a month-long teddy bear reunion in Upper Lake.
The local economy is based primarily on agriculture, tourism, and the geothermal power industry. Lake County is an ultra-premium winegrape-growing area and also is famous for its pears and walnuts.