Nestled in a valley along State Highway 20 at the northern end of Clear Lake is the small pioneer town of Upper Lake. This is the gateway to the 913,306-acre Mendocino National Forest, which offers opportunities for all types of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, hunting, boating, fishing, and even off-highway vehicle adventures.
One of the oldest settlements in Lake County, Upper Lake is a pioneer, logging, and ranching town and was a main port back in the days when small steam-powered boats carried cargo to several ports of call on Clear Lake. Today, a levee area provides nesting and roosting habitat for an abundance of birds, including herons, egrets, and white pelicans.
The Upper Lake area has an agricultural heritage, and today major crops include pears, walnuts, strawberries, apples, wild rice, and wine grapes.
In town, Upper Lake’s Main Street offers a glimpse at yesteryear with old-fashioned shops selling antiques, gift items, handmade crafts and Native American goods, as well as several restaurants and lodging establishments. Community “welcome” signs painted by local artists Bob Russell and the late Dick Gutierrez greet visitors along Highway 20 at Main Street.
Restoration and renovation efforts are continuing in Upper Lake as well as the entire north shore of Clear Lake. At the corner of First and Main streets, an old-time stable got a much-needed facelift. Just up the street, the historic Tallman Hotel underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, and the adjacent Blue Wing Saloon opened as a replica of the original nineteenth century structure that was destroyed by fire years ago.
A variety of musical entertainment is being offered throughout the year at the Tallman Hotel/Blue Wing Saloon. From Blues to Jazz and the Classics, there is entertainment for all tastes.
For visitors to the town, a handy brochure featuring activities, shopping, and events is available at several local merchants or by contacting the Lake County Visitor Information Center in Lucerne at (800) 525-3743.
Upper Lake community events include Wild West Days the first Saturday in June, Thursday Night Markets throughout the summer, a Christmas Light Parade the first Saturday in December, and a Teddy Bear Reunion Display throughout the holiday season.
The gateway to the Mendocino National Forest, Upper Lake offers opportunities for all types of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, hunting, boating, fishing, and even off-highway vehicle adventures.