4.0 miles, 1-3 hours
For the naturalist and those who want to savor breathtaking beauty, this is a beautiful loop around Rattlesnake Island, past the historic Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine and wetlands, and back through the canals of “The Keys” in Clearlake Oaks.
- Views of Mt Konocti
- Migratory waterfowl route
- Wetlands, tule reeds
- Historic cultural resources
- Rich wildlife viewing
- Islands and canals
- Picnic spots
From the boat launch located on Island Drive off East Hwy 20 in Clearlake Oaks, head toward Rattlesnake Island. Circle around and then hug the wetlands shoreline back into the Clearlake Oaks Keys.
Alternate launch point: This loop also may be accessed from the Short Street boat launch (8), located off Highway 20 across from Nylander Park. After launching, head toward the lake through the Keys under the Island Drive bridge, which opens to the lake and the Clearlake Oaks boat ramp.
This is the first in a series of water trails created by the Konocti Regional Trails System in Lake County, California.
On calm days, this is an easy paddle for all experience levels. On windy days, however, it is for experienced paddlers willing to battle heavy winds and large waves. In the summer, mornings are best since the midday sun can become intense and strong winds typically pick up in the afternoon.
Rattlesnake Island is considered by many to be one of the best fishing locations on Clear Lake, which is noted for largemouth bass and catfish. Most days, fishing boats dot the perimeter from sunrise to sunset.
Best done in the winter, spring, or early summer; naturally occurring algae and aquatic weeds
can hinder your paddling efforts during late summer and fall. On windy days, the Keys can be a nice, easy jaunt through the canals, or a great choice if you’ve finished with Rattlesnake Island but aren’t yet ready to stop. Great for waterfowl birdwatching, particularly in the winter.