Lower Cache Creek

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Rating: C

Lake County's swimming holes mostly cater to suited swimmers, but four of them occasionally attract small numbers of skinny-dippers. Police sometimes patrol them too. What's the good news? All four sites are along Highway 20, between Clear Lake and Williams, so they can be experienced in a single afternoon.

Thought to be California Department of Fish and Game, Federal Bureau of Land Management, or reservation land.

How to find it:

To find the first skinny-dipping hole, from the cities of Clear Lake or Lower Lake, take Highway 53 north to Highway 20, turn east (in the direction of the Colusa County town of Williams), and go about seven miles. At the Cache Creek Bridge (Lake County mile marker 37.07), where Highway 20 crosses over the creek on a curve, look for the swimming hole. Park in the lot on the west side of the bridge, then walk downstream to the nude area.

The beach:

"It's a great nude beach," says a reader. "At first I was worried that people on the (nearby) bridge would be looking down, but that didn't happen." The beach usually has more sand and fewer rocks than Upper Cache Creek (see below).

The crowd:

Usually a suited site, clothing-optional use is limited to weekdays during times when clothed families are not present.

Problems:

Lack of good weekend use; proximity to the highway; uncertain legal status; those law enforcers.

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