Clear Lake is the largest natural lake entirely within California. Lake Tahoe is larger, but shared with Nevada. The Salton Sea is larger but is artificial.
Clear Lake sits in a high intermontane valley and does not drain to the Russian River immediately to the west, but through the Coast Ranges to the Sacramento River, a much more circuitous route. It is dammed at both ends by volcanic rocks.
|Left and below: looking west toward the Russian River valley from Highway 175.|
|Below: views of Clear Lake from the ridge crest.|
|Below: views of Mount Konocti, a cluster of Pleistocene volcanic cones.|
|Left and below: looking toward the northern end of the lake.|
Left and below: Mount Konocti from the east side of the lake. Mount Konocti has
five summits, the highest 4,299 feet (1,310 meters) high.|
The volcano last erupted about 10,000 years ago and began erupting about 350,000 years ago.
|Left: Borax lake is just over a ridge from Clear Lake. It looks like any other lake here, but when it dries out, it is rimmed with borate minerals.|
|Left: typical Coast Range ecosystem.|
|Left: looking north from the southern outlet of clear Lake. Mount Konocti is just peeping over the ridge left of center.|
|Left: Mount Konocti from the south end of the lake. The multiple cones are well seen from this direction.|
|Left and below: the Coast Ranges east of Clear Lake.|
|Left and below: views west from the Central Valley showing cuestas of Cenozoic and Mesozoic rock.|
Created 15 January 2007, Last Update 01 July 2012
Not an official UW Green Bay site