The California Legislature added Cache Creek to the state system in 2005. Federal, state, and local public lands along the creek are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Yolo County Parks Department. The protected segment starts downstream of the Clear Lake dam and ends at Camp Haswell. It includes two miles of the North Fork downstream of Highway 20 to its confluence with Cache Creek. The upper 2/3rds of the creek flows largely through the BLM’s Cache Creek Wilderness, while the lower creek offers easy public access via Highway 16 and three Yolo County Park units.
Cache Creek possesses extraordinary scenic, recreational, fish, and wildlife values of statewide significance. Prior to state designation, the BLM conducted a federal wild and scenic study of the river and found it to be free flowing and to possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, wildlife, historical/cultural, and ecological values.
Cache Creek flows through unique geological formations in the Coast Range. Its rugged canyon is clothed in oak woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral, with a lush band of riparian habitat along the creek. The diverse habitat along Cache Creek supports some the largest populations of wintering bald eagles and tule elk in California. Numerous bears forage for fish and other food along the creek. The stream provides a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, including whitewater boating (including a remote 19 mile run through the wilderness), tubing along the highway, hunting, camping, picnicking, and other day use activities. Much of the creek is rich in prehistoric values.