What Historical Cemeteries Can I Visit from Clear Lake Campground?
Cemeteries are everywhere you go and they're often interesting and peaceful places to explore. They're full of history and often are home to birds and other wildlife, such as deer. Lake County cemeteries are rarely crowded so it's easy to find some solitude. Early settlers are buried in several of our cemeteries so they're a good place to discover some Lake County history.
Lower Lake Cemetery and Pioneer Cemetery
Herndon Cemetery, also known as Pioneer Cemetery was started in 1856 by Nathaniel Herndon for his family and friends. The Herndon family was part of the Copsey wagon train that arrived in Lower Lake from Missouri in 1854. Copsey family members were buried in Herndon Cemetery as well as members of the Hale and Grigsby families. George Patch, the last known traditional leader and shaman of the Koi Tribe (part of the Pomo Nation) was also buried here.
Herndon Cemetery later became a community cemetery and many early settlers were buried there. 29 of its burials were moved to the Lower Lake Cemetery in the early 1900's. These older tombstones can be found toward the back of Lower Lake Cemetery on the right side of the main road. Some of the burials still in Herndon Cemetery had only wooden markers or crosses that have since worn away and no formal records were kept so its not known how many burials still remain or the names of all the people who were buried there. 8 members of the original Herndon family are confirmed to be buried in Pioneer Cemetery, one of whom died in 1858 at 13 years of age, and 2 members of the Copsey family, including an infant girl named Alice. Although most of the tomb stones are gone, it's an interesting place to wander around.
Lower Lake Cemetery: 9040 Lake St, next to Lower Lake Elementary School
Pioneer Cemetery: 9022 Stagecoach Lane off Big Bear Road, 3 miles from Camp.
See Herndon Cemetery for a list of people known to be buried there.
Lake County Historical Society has a page about Herndon Cemetery restoration with a few photos.
In 1889, land for the cemetery was donated by William Good, a blacksmith. This new cemetery was owned by the Odd Fellows Lodge. Previous burials from the small cemetery at Fiege Ranch and Rabbit Hill were transferred there. 18 veterans of the Civil War and one from the Spanish American War are buried here.
Middletown Cemetery: 16357 Butts Canyon Road, Middletown, about 20 minutes from Camp
Middletown History Cemetery page
Kelseyville Cemetery and Pioneer Cemetery
Kelseyville Pioneer Cemetery, in use from 1861-1884, has about 100 graves of early pioneer families, although some of them are unmarked. Early settlers buried here include members of the Benson, Crowell, Gard, Kelsay, Kelsey, Nobles and Piner families. In 1884 the Odd Fellows Cemetery, now Kelseyville Cemetery, opened and some burials were relocated to it.
Kelseyville Cemetery: 3375 Bell Hill Road, Kelseyville, about 20 minutes from Camp
Kelseyville Pioneer Cemetery: 4830 Renfro Drive, Kelseyville (temporarily closed in summer, 2020)
List of names buried in Pioneer Cemetery
Named for Henry Hare Hartley, the cemetery in Lakeport opened around 1860 as the Masonic Cemetery. Henry Hare Hartley was an attorney who would have become the Grand Master of Masonic Lodges in California but he died of a heart attack at age 41 in 1868. He's buried in Sacramento but the cemetery was renamed in his memory.
Hartley Cemetery: 2552 Hill Road E, Lakeport, about half an hour from Camp
Upper Lake Cemetery
Although Upper Lake Cemetery was established in 1855, the oldest tombstone is dated 1849. Some older, unmarked burials may also be here. It's said that the Pomo Indians used to cremate their dead in this area prior to the arrival of white settlers. The oldest part of the cemetery is on the east side of Clover Valley Road.
Upper Lake Cemetery, 780 Clover Valley Road, Upper Lake, about 40 minutes from camp
Image: A Copsey family tombstone in Lower Lake Cemetery, one of the burials moved from Pioneer Cemetery.
What Can I See and Do on My Way to Clear Lake Campground?
Whether you want to hike, visit a winery, shop, or just enjoy a scenic drive, routes to or from Lake County offer several options. Most wineries are currently open by reservation only so be sure to call ahead. Other places suggested may also be closed or have limited hours so we advise you to check in advance.
These are our suggestions for your drive to Clear Lake Campground, depending on which direction you'll be coming from - or on your drive home (just reverse the directions).
From Sacramento area:
Instead of taking I5 to Hwy 20, take the Hwy 16 exit near Woodland and follow the slightly longer but more scenic route through the Capay Valley. Along Hwy 16 you'll pass small farms, olive groves, and almond and fruit orchards as you drive through the tiny towns of Esparto, Capay, Brooks, and Guinda. Just before Brooks is the huge Cache Creek Casino Resort, the only big development in this rural area. In Brooks, stop at Seka Hills Olive Mill for olive oil and other local products. Capay Valley Vineyards, also in Brooks offers visits by appointment (530- 796-4110). The historic Commons Farm Kitchen in Guinda is a roadside eatery dating from 1926 with outdoor dining or food to go. Cache Creek runs through the valley along Hwy 16 to Cache Creek Regional Park, a good spot for a picnic. It's also a popular place for inner tubing on the creek. When you get to Hwy 20, turn left.
Along Hwy 20 from I5:
Coming from either south or north, take Hwy 20 west. The exit is near the town of Williams where you can stop at the historic Granzella's Restaurant for take-out or food shopping in their store. Continuing on Hwy 20, or if you're joining Hwy 20 from the scenic Hwy 16 route, hikers can stop at the Redbud Trail hiking area in the Cache Creek Management Area on the left side of the highway as you're heading toward Lake County. You'll get great views and may even see Tule Elk. Two wineries are along this route (call ahead for reservations to visit): Cache Creek Vineyards and Brassfield.
* Note: If you like these options, you can also take this route to/from Fairfield, Concord, or Oakland although it's longer.
From San Francisco and the South Bay on the 101 Freeway:
From 101, you have several options depending on how much extra time you have. But if you want to spend the day on your road trip, you could visit some places along the coast on your way (note that traffic may be bad along the coast on weekends though). Popular coast destinations include Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay, or Jenner. But here are more convenient options, depending on how long you want to spend on the road:
From the East Bay and San Francisco through the Napa Valley:
From Highway 80, exit at Highway 37 in Vallejo. You'll pass Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, a place the kids might enjoy. Turn right onto Highway 29 toward Napa, then you have 2 options:
Whichever way you decide to drive, we look forward to welcoming you at Clear Lake Campground: