Places to Paddleboard in Sonoma County
|Russian River at Wohler Bridge|
Sonoma County has some great paddling locations. Rivers, Oceans, Lagunas, Esteros, and a variety of lakes! Here are my favorites:
7821 Eastside Road Windsor
2 lakes available for paddleboarding however, only 1 has a launching area near the parking lot. The bigger (and better) lake is more difficult to access. You either need to park near the main trail and carry your board about 200 yards, or paddle across the first lake, then try to portage to the larger lake. The larger lake is really the prize if you can get your bo there without throwing your back out.
Fee: Yes for parking
Must wear a lifejacket
For more information about River Front Park visit: Riverfront
1313 Fountaingrove Parkway Santa Rosa
This super convenient lake is located in Fountaingrove just minutes from US 101. The lake is 33 acres and has a cement boat ramp. The lake rarely has boaters on it, however, it is popular with fishermen who either use inflatables to fish near the shore or from the shore.
|Water Lillies float on the north end of the lake|
- Few boaters
- Excellent boat ramp
- Warmer water
- Easy parking
- No fee
- Windy afternoons
- Smaller lake (I can paddle around the perimeter in 20 minutes)
Dogs allowed: Unknown
Swimming allowed: No
Fishing allowed: Yes
More information: Nagasawa
16215 First St Guerneville, CA 95446
|Across the river is the public access to Johnson's Beach|
Johnson's Beach is located in downtown Guerneville. The beach is mostly private but there is an ally through the beach area that is accessible FOR FREE to the public. When you arrive at the beach there will be a security guard who will ask you if you have reservations. if you want to put your paddleboard in the river for free without using the resort's amenities (chairs, umbrellas, bathrooms, etc) you just need to state that you are "putting your boat in the river only, and not staying at the resort. You can then drive down to the beach, unload your boat, then drive back into Guerneville (1 block) and find free parking. Once you launch your boat you are free to paddle up or downstream as far as you feel!
There is a "Summer dam" at Johnson's Beach so decide if you want to paddle upstream from the dam, or downstream. Either is fine. The dam makes paddling upstream very easy. The river is like a lake with very little current. I like to paddle upstream till I get tired, then paddle back stopping at the Stumptown brewery for lunch and a beer. You can safely leave your boat on the shore, and walk up the embankment to the restaurant. I've never had a problem with my equipment being bothered, nor have I heard of anybody having anything messed with. That being said, I would not leave my iPhone or anything of value on the boat, but the boat itself should be fine.
|The Summer dam|
- easy access to the Russian River
- Easy, free all-day parking downtown
- The river is like a lake upstream of the dam
- The water is warm (70+)
- There are plenty of nice beaches the hangout on
- There is a riverside microbrewery you can stop at (Stumptown Brewery 15045 River Rd 11am - 2am)
- Can be crowded with waders and swimmers
- Parking can be challenging on hot, busy weekends
- Can get very windy in the afternoon
Dogs: on leash- yes
Parking: free where you can find it
Hudeman Slough boat launch
28020 Skaggs Springs Rd Sonoma
|Hudeman Slough in Sonoma|
Hudeman slough is a wetland tidal waterway fed from the San Pablo Bay. It is located in the Carneros wine region. The slough is very pretty, natural, and a great place to see a variety of birds.
The boat launch is owned by the State of California but is maintained by Sonoma County Regional Parks. The ramp and parking lot are free to use.
This is a very interesting place to paddle. I recommend paddling at or near high tide. The slough is very deep and in fact, was a major shipping area and able to accommodate Paddleboats during the turn of the century. Putting in at the boat ramp during low tide is a muddy, mucky mess. Here is a link to check the tide: Tide chart
I also recommend you check the weather. The area is typically windy which when coupled with the tide, can make it challenging to navigate the sloughs. You should also bring a map, or a map app so that you don't get lost in sloughs.
Beautiful, unusual, great waterfowl viewing
Wind and tides
For more information about Hudeman Slough visit this site: Slough
|The Sloughs provide an interesting place to paddle but be careful not to get lost|
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- Saint Francis Property
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