Storm Steiger's
Krazy Kayaker Put-Ins
Some are Put-in Wise, and Some are Otherwise
--Storm Steiger<

NAME:Big Soda Spring, Soda Bay, Clear Lake
DESCRIPTION: Soda Bay bubbles up at the base of small, active volcano Mt. Konocti, paddling there is like kayaking on champagne. Big Soda is a warm spring that BLM has recently covered with a large boulder to prevent it's use. Sadly Stephen Kastner died here recently. I have measured the spring's water temperature at 85-90 degrees and it is on an island about 100 feet from Clear Lakeís western shore. During the Fall, when water levels are low, the spring is on level with the Lake. In other seasons, it may be submerged.
REWARDS: warm spring, swimming; a nice Italian restaurant nearby (look for sign).
HAZARDS: heavy boat traffic late Spring through early fall
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: best is in the fall during low Lake levels. Worst is summer; thereís heavy recreational boat traffic and high temperatures.
DIECTIONS: US 101 to Hopland right on Hwy. 175; look for signs to Clear Lake State Park . Go across Hwy. 29, turn right, then look for Soda Bay Road. Go to Clear Lake State Park; I launch from there, paddle south about 1 mile, look for 2 small islands just offshore. Spring is on western end of island nearer shore.

NAME:Indian Valley Reservoir.
DESCRIPTION: beautiful coastal mountains, lake. Golden and bald eagles nesting on on NW end of lake where Cache Creek comes in. Lake at about 1500í elevation.
REWARDS: eagles, solitude, inlets to explore, warm water swimming in summer and fall
HAZARDS: trash, dirt roads, isolated
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: Spring to see eagles, Autumn for solitude. Summers are hot.
DIECTIONS: I- 5 to Williams go west on Hwy. 20 turn right on Leesville Road. Follow signs to Barlett Springs Road. At Leesville go south (left) on Bear Valley Road, then right on Brim Road, which turns into Bartlett Springs Road. Best place to launch and camp is where Cache Creek comes into the reservoir.

NAME: Black Butte Reservoir
DESCRIPTION: Central Valley lake barely above the valley floor; very hot in the summer. I kayaked here once and the temperature was 95 degrees at midnight--with a full moon.
REWARDS: swimming, warm temperatures.
HAZARDS: campground at end of Buckhorn Road subject to late night party noise from Black Butte across the lake
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: one of the first lakes to get warm temperatures early in the year. Worst is middle of summer, though excellent for night kayaking.
DIECTIONS: I-5 to Orland go west on Newville Road. Go right at split for northern part of lake; go left for southern part of lake

NAME: Lake Pillsbury
DESCRIPTION: coastal mountains. lake
REWARDS: swimming, underwater plant forests
HAZARDS: bears, dirt roads, long drive
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: can get crowded in summer, early fall
DIECTIONS: US 101 to Hwy. 20 east. Continue to town of Upper Lake, turn left on Elk Mountain Road; follow signs. Long drive out to Pillsbury Lake

NAME: Lake Spaulding
DESCRIPTION: lower elevation Sierra Nevada Lake
REWARDS: nice area, swimming
HAZARDS: cold water
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: late summer/early fall, right after school starts
DIECTIONS: I- 80 east to Hwy. 20 west after exiting freeway look for signs to Lake Spaulding. There are several other beautiful lakes in the vicinity, Lake Bowman, Sawmill Lake; take Bear Valley Road near bottom of hill

NAME: Lake Tahoe, DL Bliss State Park
DESCRIPTION: beautiful paddle to Emerald Bay
REWARDS: clear Tahoe waters, swimming
HAZARDS: bears, cold water, walking boat down small hill (but a good path). Crowded in mid summer.
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: I enjoy it year-round but best time probably is summer/early fall
DIECTIONS: Hwy. 89 south of Tahoe City or north of South Lake Tahoe -- about halfway in between.

NAME: Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Nevada
DESCRIPTION: NE corner of Lake
HAZARDS: can get crowded
REWARDS: beautiful rock formations, warm water conditions in late summer
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: year-round, but best late summer
DIECTIONS: Hwy. 50 to Hwy. 28 north towards Incline Village look for signs for Sand Harbor

NAME: Pyramid Lake, Nevada
DESCRIPTION: large lake north of Reno
REWARDS: hot springs on north end near needle rocks, island that looks like a pyramid on east side, brown pelicans
HAZARDS: Lots of trash, $5 daily launch fee, over-regulations, closed areas, heavy NW winds
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: summerís too hot; late spring or early fall best
DIECTIONS: I- 80 to Reno take Hwy. 445 north to Pyramid Lake, follow signs

NAME: Feather River
DESCRIPTION: river run from Biggs to Live Oak County Park
REWARDS: excellent beginner river run good fishing
HAZARDS: high water flows, summer heat
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: best during fall or late spring/early summer
DIECTIONS: I-80 east to north Hwy. 99\70 continue on 99 after split to little town of Live Oak. Look for signs to Live Oak County Park on the river.

NAME:Walker Creek
DESCRIPTION: small creek south of town of Tomales
REWARDS: beautiful creek paddle, birds, swimming, protected from wind
HAZARDS: low water flows, snags, low tree clearance, low tide, high water flows after heavy rains
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: winter/early spring best; worst summer or late fall; good alternative paddle if too windy on Tomales Bay or too rough on ocean.
DIECTIONS: Hwy. 1 south of Tomales Walker Creek crosses Hwy. 1 small pull-out with toilet

NAME: San Antonio Creek
DESCRIPTION: beautiful one-way creek paddle from US 101 bridge to Lakeville or much longer to Ferry Point on Hwy. 37
REWARDS: easy ride to Petuluma River through cow pastures to estuary
HAZARDS: spooked cows, low water levels, high flows after heavy rains
DIECTIONS: US 101 north to Sonoma-Marin County Line. Look for San Antonio Road; left to frontage bridge

NAME: Alameda Creek
DESCRIPTION: Creek paddle
REWARDS: birds
HAZARDS: one portage across dike on way to the Bay, low water levels; go out on the ebb, ride flood back
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: best time is mid winter; worst summer--no cover, levels
DIECTIONS: I-880 south to Industrial Blvd, west to Hesperian Blvd, south to where it crosses Alameda Creek. Look for Kaiser building--drive around back to NW corner of property. Download at train bridge, drive auto back and park in main lot

Bill Tuthill has the best web site about paddling California's whitewater. Check it out at;

NAME: San Leandro Marina
DESCRIPTION: marina to the west of city of San Leandro:
REWARDS: Oakland airport, lots of restaurants, nearby island
HAZARDS: noise
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: best during winter; windy and exposed in summer
DIECTIONS: I-880 south to Marina Blvd. West

NAME: Marina Vista/Pacheco Creek
DESCRIPTION: Launch into creek under bridge. Good one-way trip to Martinez Marina on ebb tide.
REWARDS: mothball fleet nearby across Suisun Bay, Seal Islands, Benicia-Martinez bridge
HAZARDS: industrial pollution, heavy winds in summer, avoid low tide put-in or take-out (incredibly muddy!)
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: best during calm winter days. Worst summer--heat and wind too much
DIECTIONS: I 680 north to marina vista exit right on waterfront Road to Pacheco Creek last bridge before refinery

NAME: Lawson Landing
DESCRIPTION: easy launch into western end of Tomales Bay
REWARDS: access to Bird Rock and Bird Rock Beach, swimming
HAZARDS: must watch tides and surf carefully; go out on ebb, back on flood. Waves can break all the way across Tomales Bay entrance. $5 entrance fee. Supposed to be a bad area for sharks; I recommend going in a large group (5 - 10 kayakers)
BEST/WORST TIME TO VISIT: best in flat summer conditions
DIECTIONS: Hwy. 1 north to Tomales, turn left on Dillon Beach Road past town of Dillon Beach. Continue south to Lawson Landing

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These are put-ins that I have used, and may be totally different when you are there. In other words, paddle at your own risk.

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Website by Lee Menconi-Steiger
revised January 13, 2001