After exploring Santa Barbara, our eyes were fixed on the next destination. We read Solvang, the famous Danish village, was really close to the “American Riviera”.
Therefore, we took scenic route 154 to our intended destination. I discovered the scenic nature of the highway a few minutes after interchanging city views for the rolling hills and mountains of Los Padres National Forest. Sometimes technology helps you in unexpected ways (our cell phones’ navigation system indicated route 154 was the shortest way to get from Santa Barbara to Solvang).
After multiple ohhs and ahhs escaped from our mouth, we distinguished in the distance a body of water glistening like a precious stone.
An old saying says curiosity killed the cat. I am not sure we can be compared to cats or if we were involved in some type of killing. I just know we couldn’t resist stopping and taking a good look at Cachuma Lake.
Lake Cachuma is an artificial lake located in the Santa Ynez Valley of central Santa Barbara County. The reservoir was created by the construction of Bradbury Dam, a 201 ft (61 m) earth-fill structure built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1953.
The name “Cachuma” comes from a Chumash village that the Spanish spelled “Aquitsumu”, from the Barbareno Chumash word aqitsu’m, meaning “sign”.
A large campsite on the south shore of Lake Cachuma is administered by the Santa Barbara County Parks department. The County Parks department offers tent, RV, yurt, and group camping and fishing, boating, hiking, lake cruises, and nature programs.
I was particularly surprised to see yurts close to the lake’s shores. I knew they are the latest trend around Big Sur but didn’t know they were available in other places. The prices range from $60 to $85 per night and accommodate 3 to 6 people (depending on size). The cabins (charming too) range from $80 to $125 per night and accommodate 4 to 6 people. The prices make me want to stay in one of those yurts at this precise moment.
Cachuma Lake was a pleasant discovery in our short journey from one city to another. Just a proof that surprises can be found anywhere.
Note: there is a $10 daily use fee (per vehicle) to enter the Cachuma Lake Recreational Area.
Have you been to Cachuma Lake? Let me know in the comments section below.