Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Mt. Konocti, Part 2, Buckingham Peak - Lake County Park
Wright Peak, I wanted to return to check out Buckingham Peak because I heard it had some interesting rock formations and a better lake view. All access and trail information remains the same up to the well marked trail intersection at about the 1.5 mile mark. If you would like to review that information check out the Part 1 post.
From the trail intersection you will take the trail to the left. From here you have less than a mile to go. This trail gives you a short break from the climb, but you are going to pay for that flat section. In the last 0.4 miles you will have around a 300 foot climb (in all about a 1,300' climb over 2.5 miles).
Once you reach the top you will find the view is mostly obstructed by the surrounding foliage except for a clearing to the east overlooking some small islands, Sulfur Bank Point a large natural jetty and the community of Clearlake Oaks. At first I was disappointed with the view but a friendly cell site worker gave me a hint on how to find the rocky outcropping I had heard of.
Before I go on I must warn you of the possibility of severe injury up to and including death! The following instructions will take you to a DANGEROUS AREA, consider yourself warned.
To reach the rocky outcropping, known as Buckingham Bluffs, head to the back (north side) of the communications tower and look for the guy wire anchor located outside of the fencing. From this point you will find a unmarked, unofficial trail headed straight down the hill. (From conversations, sat imagery and old topo maps I believe this trail continues all the way down to Riviera Heights neighborhood off Soda Bay Rd, again unofficial trail but located on BLM land.) Head down this trail for about 100 yards at most. Make a hard right and continue on for about 100', a little brush crashing may be required. Continue on a west and slightly downhill trajectory. Approximate GPS location N38°59.4959, W122°46.0965. When you find the rocks please USE EXTREME CAUTION. Once you step on to the rocks the trees part and you will be on the edge of a 2-300' drop-off. Although this is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS the view is incredible.
From Buckingham Bluffs you will have a view of the Black Forest, Little Borax lake and Buckingham Point directly below you. Across the lake you can see the communities located on Hwy 20 from Lucerne to Clearlake Oaks. If you look carefully at the video you can see birds ridding the winds below. This is an incredible view but please consider your ability's and experience before attempting to access this location, otherwise enjoy the video.
This is a good hike in spring or fall. In winter the peaks may have snow on them and in summer temperatures can be in the 100°'s, additionally the park may close due to high fire danger. Also this is rattlesnake country and there is no water on the mountain. One last thing, the trail is extremely well marked, if you use Google maps it shows the road a little off of where it is don't worry about it just follow the signs. I have included some links for additional resources and historical info.
I have tagged this post with both horse trails and mountain bike labels, while these are future planned uses of the park currently they require a special use permit for all non-hiking activities, (707) 262-1618.
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Note, the yellow trail is an approximation for demonstrative purposes.
View Mt. Konocti - Buckingham Peak in a larger map
Location: Buckingham Peak, Kelseyville, CA, USA