Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 6:57 pm | Overcast 66º


Kayaks, Canoes Will Soon Be Paddling Around Lake Cachuma

For first time ever, reservoir to be open to those who want to explore from lake level

As I paddled the cobalt blue waters of Lake Cahuma, I soaked in the surroundings off Highway 154. A small herd of mule deer browsed near the edge of the lake. Western grebes, American coots and several mallards fed in the shallows while a red-tailed hawk soared overhead.

I headed east, where dark clouds hugged rugged backcountry mountains, the remnants of another winter storm passing through. The higher peaks were covered in freshly dumped snow as I kayaked toward a dense grove of oak trees.

Bradbury Dam was built in 1953 along the Santa Ynez River and the reservoir the dam forms provides water to Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria and a handful of smaller water districts.

Recreational boating has always been allowed on Lake Cachuma. But for the first time ever, the seven-mile manmade lake will be open to canoes and kayaks, beginning April 15.

“The resource management plan was revised for expanding recreation departments,” said Liz Gaspar, a Lake Cachuma park naturalist. “We’re finalizing our contract with the Bureau of Reclamation, and one of those activities is kayaking.”

Anyone looking to do some paddling along the 42 miles of shoreline will have to put their vessel through a minor inspection and wash before putting in at the lake. Gaspar said she hopes kayakers and canoeists will be honest with their abilities and heed the predominant northwest winds that pick up steam most afternoons. Personal flotation devices are required and swimming is still not allowed.

“We would like kayakers to stick to the perimeter,” she added.

Maps of different paddling routes will be available at the Lake Cachuma Nature Center, 2265 Highway 154, and online. Cachuma is also a great birding spot with more than 150 species recorded.

There is an $8 per vehicle entrance fee to the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area.

Click here for more information on paddling Lake Cachuma as it becomes available, or call 805.693.0691 or 805.693.8381.

Noozhawk contributor and local freelance writer Chuck Graham is editor of Deep magazine.

While paddling about Lake Cachuma, kayakers and canoeists will likely come across a number of the reservoir's more than 150 recorded bird species.
While paddling about Lake Cachuma, kayakers and canoeists will likely come across a number of the reservoir’s more than 150 recorded bird species. (Chuck Graham / Noozhawk photo)

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >