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Rattlesnake Island

A four mile loop encircling Rattlesnake Island, with far-reaching views of Mt. Konocti, hillside vineyards & ridgeline.
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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 4 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview:  For the naturalist and those who want to savor breathtaking beauty, this is a beautiful loop around Rattlesnake Island, past the... more »

Tips:  On calm days, this is an easy paddle for all experience levels. On windy days, however, it is for experienced paddlers willing to... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Clearlake Oaks Boat Launch

Park and launch at the Clearlake Oaks boat ramp on Island Drive just off of East Highway 20.

2. Rattlesnake Island

As you begin your paddle out toward Rattle snake Island (2), Mount Konocti dominates the background - a dormant volcano that sits at an elevation of 4,300 feet. Geologists estimate its first eruption approximately 600,000 years ago and evidence suggests the most recent volcanic activity took place within the last few thousand years.

... More

3. Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine

Circling around the island’s eastern end, the historic Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine (3) comes into view. Activity dates back to the California gold rush days in the mid 1800s, when mercury was essential in the process of extracting gold from ore. Chinese laborers removed the ore from deep mine shafts, which changed to open-pit mining during the 1920s... More

4. Dollar Island

Heading back around the wetlands just north of the Elem Indian Colony, watch the shoreline. Osprey - and the occasional eagle - can be seen perched for prey in tall, bleached-out trees. Paddle past secluded Dollar Island (4) or catch your breath by perching on one of the small rocky crags while you enjoy the view, but beware of poison oak.

5. Seasonal wetlands

At this point, you can choose to head back
toward the boat launch, but avid birdwatchers may opt to paddle into the Keys to loop into a small tule marsh (5).

In the morning, calling birds - such as blackbirds, coots, and herons - overpower the sounds of motorists along nearby Highway 20.

6. Clarks Island

Head back toward the boat ramp by entering the main Key near the campground at the southern tip of Stubbs Island. Keep heading to the left through the Keys and just before Clarks Island (7), a weeping willow hides the Island Drive bridge - you can choose to paddle under this to return to the boat ramp, or take a picnic break on Clarks Island,... More

7. Island Drive Bridge

Paddle under the bridge to return to the boat launch.

8. Short Street Ramp

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.