Anderson Marsh State Historic Park (Clear Lake, CA)

Recently, I stopped by Anderson Marsh State Historical Park to stretch my legs. I haven’t spent much time north of Napa, so I was excited to stop by.

The park is located in Lake County, California, and Clear Lake. Clear Lake is actually the largest natural lake in the entire state of California.

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park (Clear Lake, CA)

About:

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park is a California State Historical Park and nature reserve preserving a tule marsh, archaeological sites of the Pomo people, and historic ranch structures. It is just over 1,000 acres of grass-covered hills, oak woodland, and Tule marshes. It protects several habitats, including:

  • freshwater marsh wetlands
  • native grasslands
  • California oak woodlands
  • riparian woodlands

There are also about 150 different bird species too. Luckily no turkeys that I saw. In fact, I really didn’t see a lot of birds at all.

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park (Clear Lake, CA)

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park History:

Originally, the Southeastern Pomo Native Americans lived in the area of the present-day Anderson Marsh State Historic Park. In the modern-day, the descendants continue to live nearby. Some of the archaeological sites at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park provide artifacts of the Pomo people. There are even a few sites that date back over 10,000 years!

The park was named after John Still Anderson. He bought the property in 1884 and built the “Ranch House,” where he and his family and ran a dairy and raised beef cattle. Their descendants lived in the Ranch House until the 1960s.

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park (Clear Lake, CA)

What can you do at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park?

  • Walking, hiking, running
  • Bird watching
  • Music Festival
  • View Historic Home

My experience at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park:

Keep in mind, at the park, there is a $4 self-pay parking fee.  There are porta-potties at the trailhead. Before heading on the trails, I didn’t take a lot of time to view the ranch. While at the park, I only saw 2 other parties for the entire hour I was there. It was peaceful and even though close to the highway, there was minimal noise.

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park (Clear Lake, CA)
So much open field

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park Trails:

I did a quick google search of trails on the way back home. I wanted something short and easy to stretch my legs and not something with hundreds of feet of elevation. A few I found within 2 minutes of a goggle search are:

  • Cache Creek Trail (2.6 miles)
  • McVicar Trail (8 Miles)
  • Ridge Trail (1 mile)

You can see all trails on the all trails website. 

I actually had no idea the history at the park, so it was fun to learn all of that. The park itself is flat, and you won’t get more than about 100 feet of elevation. I took the main trail followed by the “ridge trail”. All of my elevation came from the Ridge Trail and the main trail is just a dirt, flat road, with parts being of gravel.

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park (Clear Lake, CA)

It was perfect for what I wanted, a short, easy walk. If you are looking for a grueling hike, this won’t be it, but if you are looking for a nice leg stretcher with history or somewhere to bring small children, Anderson Marsh State Historic Park is a great option.

I will warn you, there isn’t much shade in the park, but if you go in the fall or winter, it’s not a big deal. Not sure how it would feel in the middle of summer. I would love to come back and explore the McVicar Trail at some point.

You can see more hikes and trail runs here.

Questions for you:

What was the last historic site you went to?

Have you ever been bird watching?