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Cachuma Pitches Arrival of Summer Camping Season

Hike, fish, swim, eat, learn, play, explore — or just veg out

Cachuma Marina has a full rental fleet.
Cachuma Marina has a full rental fleet. (Santa Barbara County)

June is National Camping Month and Cachuma Lake beckons with opportunities for recreation, adventure, rest and play.

For campers and early-risers, Cachuma mornings often are blanketed by a marine layer, with cool temperatures as well-suited for a hike as they are for just sleeping in.

The rising midday sun lends conditions opportune for fishing, boating or picnicking. Cool off at the pool; open daily starting June 10.

Cachuma's clear nighttime summer skies are ideal for stargazing, night walks, or one of the many fireside evening events including astronomy programs, live music, movie nights and nature talks.

Camping reservations can be made online for tent sites, hookups, cabins, yurts and group areas. One- and two-bedroom cabins have full bathrooms and kitchenettes. Or reserve a yurt, a cross between a permanent tent and tepee, with views of the lake.

All sites may be reserved up to six months in advance of the check-in date. There is a two-night minimum stay for weekend reservations and three-night minimum stay for holiday weekends.

For day-use and overnight visitors, Cachuma offers a general store, gas station, coin-operated laundromat and hot showers.

Visitors also can enjoy children's playgrounds, lake cruises, the nature center, fishing piers, and hiking trails. The marina, with a full rental fleet, is open year-round and sells bait and tackle, fuel and fishing licenses.

Following is the Cachuma Lake Recreation calendar

Year 'round Nature programs

» Two-Hour Wildlife Cruise

Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-noon; Friday and Saturday 3-5 p.m. Open to children over age 4 and adults.

A Santa Barbara County Park naturalist leads this cruise that focuses on wildlife, including local and migratory birds, flora, geology and cultural history.

Costs are: children 4-12, $7 and adults, $17, plus $10 per vehicle for park admission.

For reservations, call 568-2460 weekdays, 686-5055 weekends. For information, call naturalist office, 688-4515, or visit www.sbparks.org and click on Nature Cruises. To schedule a private cruise, call naturalist office.

» Nature Walk

Saturdays, 10-11:30 a.m., or by appointment.

A Santa Barbara County Park naturalist or trained interpretive guide leads an easy-paced, half-mile walk. Meet at Neal Taylor Nature Center. Limited to 20 participants on a first come, first served basis.

Activity is free with $10 park admission per vehicle.

To schedule a walk on a different day or time, or have a large group, call in advance to check availability, 688-4515.

» Junior Ranger Program

Saturdays, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Meet at Nature Center by 12:30 p.m. sharp; no latecomers, please.

Kids earn a badge with the help of a Santa Barbara County Park naturalist as they learn about wildlife and care of the natural environment.

Fee is $2 per child in addition to the $10 park admission per vehicle fee.

Reservations recommended. Groups bringing 10 or more participants are asked to call ahead. Limited to 30 participants on a first come, first served basis. For information, call 688-4515, or go to the Calendar of Events at www.sbparks.org.

» Summer Fireside Evening Programs (new)

Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. at Cachuma Lake Fireside Amphitheater.

June program:

Friday, June 23, first Movie Night of summer.

Saturday, June 24, Live Music — The Bob Bishop Band.

Friday, June 30, Movie Night.

Cost: Free for campers; $10 park admission fee per vehicle for non-campers. For specific program topics, call 688-4515 or visit www.sbparks.org, Calendar of Events to see summer line-up.

» Neal Taylor Nature Center, 2265 Highway 154, Santa Barbara

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Neal Taylor Nature Center is in the historic white ranch house behind Cachuma Lake General Store. Exhibits and hands-on displays feature local wildlife, birds, plant life, geology, local history. A gift and book shop are there as well.

For more information, call 693-0691. See park bulletin boards, or visit www.clnaturecenter.org.

Free admission with $10 per vehicle park day use fee.

» Nature Center Detectives

All ages welcome for a scavenger hunt available whenever the Nature Center is open. Free with $10 park entry.

» Food for Thought Lecture — Understanding Nature — with Special Agent John Winiarski

Sunday, June 11, 2-4 p.m.

Join Winiarski with the NCIS as he talks about his perspective on nature and the clues it can give connecting to his investigations.

Free with $10 park entry.

» Going Batty

Saturday, June 24, 8:40 p.m.

A docent-presented talk and live exhibit on local bats. Meet behind the Neal Taylor Nature Center in the native garden and watch as bats fly around to feed. Visitors will hear all about bats' fascinating adaptations.

Free with $10 park entry.

Outdoor recreation at Cachuma Lake

» Championship Disc Golf Course

The new 18-hole course is designed to challenge expert and recreational players, yet be enjoyable for kids and beginners. Each hole along the 2.25 mile course has multiple basket positions.

Course begins and ends in front of the Cachuma Store where players can pick up a course map, a new disc and provisions.

Free to play with $10 park admission per vehicle fee.

» Fishing

Fishing from shore in the campground or from a boat is open all year with a valid fishing license. The lake supports rainbow trout, large- and smallmouth bass, crappie and channel catfish.

Check www.sbparks.org for Weekly Fishing Report, and for strict boat inspection and launch requirements to control invasive plants and animals.

»  Hiking

There are four miles of trails for self-guided hikes within the park. Get trail guide at front gate. $10 park admission per vehicle.

For information, call 688-4515 or visit www.sbparks.org.

Also, within a 15 minute drive of Cachuma, there is access to multiple hiking trailheads in Los Padres National Forest.

» Marina and Boat Rentals

Open daily (June 1-15, 6 a.m.-8 p.m.; June 16-30, 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m.) Boat rentals, party boats, pontoon boats, kayak and canoe rentals, slip rentals, one-day fishing licenses, and bait and tackle available.

Call 688-4040 for prices and specific times. $10 park admission per vehicle.

» Bow Fishing for Carp

Bow fishing is permitted at Cachuma Lake. Permits are free and obtained at the lake. See Carp Bow Fishing at Cachuma Lake at www.sbparks.org for information and regulations.

» Cachuma Lake Pool

Recreational swimming facility is staffed with lifeguards during the summer season. Pools are open for two sessions; each requires a $3 fee (cash only).

2017 schedule: Open Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4; open daily, June 10 through Aug. 20

Session Times: noon-2:30 p.m., 3-5:30 p.m.

— Gina DePinto for Santa Barbara County Parks Division.

 

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