Perkins Creek Ridge Trail is a 11.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Clearlake, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
This was a very pleasant day hike. The BLM map states this is 5 miles long, and took me about 4 hours one way. If you are from Clearlake, you can access the trail next to the landfill off of Davis Ave. There is no parking at this entrance, you will find the path just up the hill from the landfill entrance. Views were not overwhelming, but nice. I saw three bald eagles in the distance.
To make this a one-way trip, we had a friend from Clearlake drop us off at the Redbud Trail Head, ten miles by road from Clearlake, on BLM property. We then crossed a meadow and uphill a mile or so to the junction of Redbud Trail and Perkins Creek Ridge Trail. If you turn left instead of right, go 50 feet or so and follow the footpath abruptly to the right, you will quickly come to Inspiration Point, with the best view on the hike, Cache Creek far below and distant mountains. Although there is not much space it is a great place for lunch if you have a small group. Heading back to the junction, we took Perkins Creek Ridge Trail and hiked up and down, up and down along the ridge for 3 1/2 hours until we arrived at the South County Landfill on the edge of the Clearlake city limits. Since we had cellphone service the entire trip it was easy to arrange for our friend to pick us up there.
The hike was pleasant on a breezy June day--hot but not horridly so. The views are not really that interesting, though, and we saw no wildlife except for the occasional bird. There were still quite a few wildflowers, even in June.
I don't think this is 12 miles -- felt more like five or six, one-way. A ranger had told us it was four miles. It took us four hours total, and we stopped multiple times.
I found the trailhead on the Redbud Trail. You park at Cache Creek Wilderness Redbud Trailhead parking lot off of Hwy 20, then cross a large meadow on a gravel road until you get to a creek bed. After crossing the creek, the trail turns into a single track that steadily climbs uphill. After about a mile or so, you get to a "Y" with markers. You can go left, and continue on Redbud, or take a right and head up Perkins Creek Ridge. I hiked for about an hour up, and it climbs steadily (at times, steep). It offers wildflowers, butterflies, and beautiful panoramic views of the hills and valleys surrounding the area. It gets warm quickly, so in the summer months, an early start would be recommended.