Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cachuma Lake Santa Barbara Yurts


Cachuma Lake is a reservoir just north of Santa Barbara on Route 154. They offer yurts, which I have had the bookmarked for quite awhile and finally had a chance to stay in one.

The facility is part of the Santa Barbara Recreation Area and it run by the Parks Dept of California, so it is pretty much like a State Park. You can reserve Yurts, Campsites, Group Campsites and Cabins online. The recreation area at Cachuma Lake is situated on a point that juts out into the lake on the south western side.

In general Cachuma is is a pretty flat, scrubby unshaded facility and many of the campsites do not look all that appealing. By change I happen to pick the best situated Yurt of the bunch. The Sage Yurt is well shaded and has a fantastic view of the north end of the lake. You have direct access to the water for fishing and rocking tossing. It is a great spot for sure.

There are seven Yurts all together, four on the eastern edge of the point, that are right next to the boat launch and I felt very over exposed. The other three are up at the top of the point, facing west, with exquisite sunset views.

The are multiple group sites, but if I ever try to organize a group outing to Cachuma my idea would be this. Try to book all three yurts on the northwest side and make that your group site, a bit more expensive, but you have the best view, the best location and the most privacy in the entire facility. The Yurts ranges from $60-85 a night.

Since we went in September so it was quite hot during the day and since you are not allowed to swim in the "lake", it is a bit frustrating. You can however rent a boat at the launch and putter around the lake which was fun and cooler than being at the site. At around 4pm the wind comes blowing off the north side of the lake right tint the campsite, which was very welcome, but made it virtually impossible to start even "match light" briquets.

There are also cabins at Cachuma lake that are quite new, but they have tv screens and DVD players in the, which seems quite antithetical the the whole camping experiencing in my opinion.

Our second night I forgot to put the cooler back in the car and there was a fierce racoon/skunk brawl late in the evening, when I went out to move the cooler I clocked at least five LARGE racoons that barely moved until the made my own raucus.

I have never stayed in a cabin or a yurt before and I must say it takes a huge chunk out of the setup and tear down time, when traveling with little ones this is a big deal. I plan on returning to Cachuma someday and when I do it will certainly be to the Sage Yurt.

Bonus points if you head over to the Cold Spring Tavern for a meal, where I have had two of my most memorable Thanksgivings ever.

Things to remember:

Great view
Genreal store
Gas Station

4pm wind
No swimming