Tom Stienstra Outdoor Report Links

Listen To Outdoors Reporter Tom Stienstra on KCBS All News 740AM | 106.9FM

This Week:

03/26/’16 – Loch Lomond Reopens After 3 Years

  • Contact: Loch Lomond Marina, Loch Lomond Reservoir, (831) 335-7424; http://www.cityofsantacruz.com — click on “Departments” and then “Water.”

 
What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore. www.TomStienstra.com


 
01/23/’16 – KCBS’ Larry Green into Hall of Fame

  • Hall of Fame: The California Outdoors Hall of Fame will induct this year’s honorees at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the California Adventure Theater.
  • What: The Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Expo is the West’s biggest fishing, hunting, boating and travel event with five buildings, roughly 500 exhibitors, 200 seminars, numerous demonstration areas, and is expected to draw 40,000 to 50,000 attendees.
  • When: Thursday through Sunday.
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
  • Where: Sacramento Cal Expo (for GPS use 1600 Exposition Boulevard, Sacramento). $10 parking.
  • Cost: $15 admission, youth under 16 free, active military with ID card free; $10 parking.
  • Info: Complete seminar schedule at nine locations at show, http://www.sportexpos.com — click on Sacramento.

 
What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore. www.TomStienstra.com


 
01/16/’16 – Showtime In The Outdoors

  • Saturday: The last sturgeon show: Keith Fraser, 7:15 Saturday, at the Marin Rod and Gun Club. $7. Info at (415) 456-0321.
  • Monday: Entrance is free to all national parks. Info: nps.gov.
  • Wednesday: Tracking Mount Diablo’s Amazing Recovery, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ygnacio Valley Library in Walnut Creek. Free. Info at http://www.MDIA.org.
  • Thursday: The Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition, Thursday to Sunday at Cal Expo. $15. Info at sportsexpos.com
  • Jan. 30/Feb. 6: Job fairs for youths in parks, January 30 at the Big Break Visitor Center in Oakley, February 6 at the Richard C. Trudeau Training Center on Skyline in Oakland. Info at http://www.ebparks.org.

 
11/21/’15 – Redwood Friday

  • The Story: Forty-nine state parks with redwoods will be free to visit on Black Friday.
  • Get Your Pass: Go to SaveTheRedwoods.org, download and print out a free day-use pass.
  • Bay Area Parks: Marin: Mount Tamalpais and Samuel P. Taylor; Santa Cruz Mountains: Big Basin Redwoods, Butano, Castle Rock, Henry Cowell, Portola Redwoods, Forest of Nisene Marks.
  • Also: Dozens of state parks on the Big Sur coast, Redwood Empire and Sonoma-Mendocino Coast.

 
What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore. www.TomStienstra.com


 
11/14/’15 – Seacliff State Beach

  • Location: On shore of Monterey Bay, 8 miles from Santa Cruz.
  • Map/Brochure: Available at park entrance, PDF at website.
  • Contacts: Seacliff State Beach, Aptos, (831) 685-6442, Visitor Center, (831) 685-6444, http://www.parks.ca.gov.


 
11/07/’15 – Bay Area Wetlands By Region

  • Marin: Napa-Sonoma Marsh Wildlife Area. 13,000 acres linked to 50,000 acres of wetlands connected by mosaic of waterways, ponds and marsh. 200 species of birds. Best seen by kayak. (707) 226-3641; Department of Fish and Game, (707) 944-5500, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov.
  • Others of Note: Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore; Giacomini Wetlands, southern Tomales Bay; Five Brooks Pond, Point Reyes; Limantour, Point Reyes; Bolinas Lagoon; Big Lagoon/Redwood Creek at Muir Beach; Petaluma Marsh; Rush Creek/Novato Marsh, Novato; Corte Madera Ecological Reserve; Bothin Marsh, Sausalito; Richardson Bay, Belvedere; China Camp State Park, San Rafael; Marin Islands, San Rafael; Rodeo Lagoon, Marin Headlands;
  • San Francisco: Crissy Field, San Francisco. Small bridge provides access to restored marsh, pond, destination for shorebirds; great bay views. (415) 561-7690, http://www.nps.gov/goga.
  • Others of Note: Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, San Francisco.
  • Peninsula: Palo Alto Baylands. Dirt paths, excellent hikes, habitat provides a key link for winter and spring migrants. (650) 617-3156, http://www.cityofpaloalto.org.
  • Others of Note: Coyote Point County Park, San Mateo; Foster City Lagoons; Redwood Creek estuary, Redwood City Harbor; Ravenswood Open Space Preserve, East Palo Alto; Pillar Point Harbor (western side), Princeton; San Gregorio Lagoon; Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve.
  • Contra Costa County: Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. Marsh Trail leads to Whittell Marsh and shore of San Pablo Bay for peaceful, beautiful haven for 100 species of birds. (888) 327-2757, option 3, ext. 4551, http://www.ebparks.org.
  • Others of Note: Martinez Regional Shoreline; Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline, Richmond; Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, Albany; Big Break Regional Shoreline, Oakley; Frank’s Tract State Recreation Area, Bethel Island.
  • Alameda County: Hayward Regional Shoreline. Cogswell Marsh, Oro Loma Marsh, San Lorenzo Creek and Bockman Channel highlight 250-acre tidal wetland with excellent trails, views and access. (888) 783-1066, option 3, ext. 4531, ebparks.org.
  • Others of Note: Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda; Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline, San Leandro; Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge, Newark.
  • South Bay: Coyote Creek Estuary/San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Out of Alviso, wooden walkway provides access to Environmental Education Center, estuary and wetlands. (408) 262-5513, http://www.fws.gov/desfbay.
  • Others of Note: Shoreline Regional Park, Mountain View; Sunnyvale Baylands County Park.

 


 
10/31/’15 – Bay Area’s 10 Best Recreation Sites

Go with someone you care for to transform your life.

  • 1) Point Reyes National Seashore – Contacts: Point Reyes National Seashore, Bear Valley Visitors Center, (415) 464-5100, http://www.nps.gov/pore.
  • 2) Del Valle Regional Park – Contact: Del Valle Regional Park, (888) 327-2757, option 3, extension 4524; http://www.ebparks.org.
  • 3) Tomales Bay – Contact: Tomales Bay State Park, (415) 669-1140, http://www.parks.ca.gov; Blue Water Kayak, (415) 669-2600, http://www.bwkayak.com.
  • 4) Angel Island State Park – Contacts: Angel Island Tiburon Ferry, (415) 435-2131, angelislandferry.com; Angel Island State Park, (415) 435-5390, http://www.parks.ca.gov; Angel Island concessions http://www.AngelIsland.com.
  • 5) Pillar Point Harbor – Contact: Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-5727; weather recording (650) 726-6070. No website.
  • 6) China Camp State Park – Contact: China Camp State Park, (415) 456-0766, http://www.parks.ca.gov.
  • 7) San Francisco Presidio/Crissy Field – Contacts: Crissy Field Center, (415) 561-7690; Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700; http://www.nps.gov/goga.
  • 8) Mount Tamalpais State Park – Contact: Mount Tamalpais State Park, (415) 388-2070, http://www.parks.ca.gov.
  • 9) Marin Headlands – Contact: Marin Headlands Visitors Center, (415) 331-1540, http://www.nps.gov/goga.
  • 10) Big Basin Redwoods State Park – Contact: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, (408) 338-8860, http://www.parks.ca.gov or http://www.mountainparks.org.

 
10/12/’15 – O’Rourke’s Bench World-Class Views

  • Location: 0.3-mile walk from Rock Springs parking at Mount Tamalpais in Marin County.
  • How To Drive To Rock Springs: From San Francisco, take U.S. 101 north over the Golden Gate Bridge and continue 4 miles to Marin and the exit for Highway 1/Stinson Beach. Take that exit and continue west for 1 mile to the stoplight at T Intersection for Shoreline Highway/Highway 1. Turn left on Shoreline Highway and drive 2.6 miles to the Panoramic Highway. Bear right on Panoramic Highway and drive (at junction, continue straight) 5.2 miles to Pantoll Road. At Pantoll, bear right on Pantoll Road and go 1.4 miles to Rock Spring and a T intersection with Ridgecrest Boulevard. Continue straight ahead to parking for Rock Spring Trailhead. If full, turn right on Ridgecrest and go 0.25 miles to Mountain Theater.
  • How To Find Trailhead: After parking at Rock Spring, cross Ridgecrest at the junction with Pantoll Road. Look for the trail on the south side of the road.
  • Contact: Mount Tamalpais State Park, (415) 388-2070, http://www.parks.ca.gov.

 


 
10/03/’15 – RV For Fall

 


 
09/26/’15 – Best Spots To See Blood Moon

  • Peninsula: Skyline Ridge/Highway 35, Skeggs Lookout or Caltrans Vista Point, http://www.dot.ca.gov.
  • Santa Clara County: Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara County: Lick Observatory, (408) 274-5061; http://www.ucolick.org.
  • East Bay Hills: Grizzly Peak Boulevard: Chabot Space and Science Center, (510) 336-7300, http://www.chabotspace.org.
  • Marin: Mount Burdell Open Space, Marin County Parks and Open Space, (415) 499-6387, http://www.marincountyparks.org.
  • Gates Closed: Rangers close the gates at night at Mount Tamalpais and Mount Diablo.

 


 
09/19/’15 – Coastside Fishing Club

Annual banquet, Saturday night, Sept. 26, at the San Mateo Elks Lodge. $37.

Register at: coastsidefishingclub.com

Funds raised pay for salmon net pen project at Pillar Point Harbor. Tag returns this summer show this program had more than 10 times the success than the federal Coleman hatchery in the north state.

 


09/12/’15 – Portola Redwoods Drive & Explore

  • Drive: From San Francisco, take I-280 south and drive 20 miles to Woodside and the exit for Highway 84/Woodside Road. Take that exit, turn west (right) on Woodside Road, and drive 2.8 miles to Woodside. Continue straight on Woodside Road/Highway 84 for 5.8 miles to Sky Londa, a stop sign and the junction with Skyline/Highway 35. Continue straight on 84 for 6.7 miles to La Honda and continue a short distance to Pescadero Road on left. Turn left and drive 1.1 miles to Redwood Triangle and Alpine Road. Turn left on Alpine Road and drive 4 miles (slow, narrow, twist; 1.2 miles to Heritage Grove on right) to Portola State Park Road. Turn right (still twisty) and drive 3 miles to park entrance. Continue 0.5 mile to Visitor Center.
  • Contact: Portola Redwoods State Park, (650) 948-9098, http://www.parks.ca.gov.

 


09/05/’15 – Salmon Bite Best of Year

 


08/29/’15 – Bay Area’s 10 Best Parks

  • 1. Point Reyes National Seashore Contacts: Point Reyes National Seashore, Bear Valley Visitors Center, (415) 464-5100, http://www.nps.gov/pore.
  • 2. Del Valle Regional Park Contact: Del Valle Regional Park, (888) 327-2757, option 3, extension 4524; http://www.ebparks.org.
  • 3. Tomales Bay Contact: Tomales Bay State Park, (415) 669-1140, http://www.parks.ca.gov; Blue Water Kayak, (415) 669-2600, http://www.bwkayak.com.
  • 4. Angel Island State Park Contacts: Angel Island Tiburon Ferry, (415) 435-2131, angelislandferry.com; Angel Island State Park, (415) 435-5390, http://www.parks.ca.gov; Angel Island concessions http://www.AngelIsland.com.
  • 5. Pillar Point Harbor Contact: Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-5727; weather recording (650) 726-6070. No website.
  • 6. China Camp State Park Contact: China Camp State Park, (415) 456-0766, http://www.parks.ca.gov.
  • 7. San Francisco Presidio/Crissy Field Contacts: Crissy Field Center, (415) 561-7690; Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700; http://www.nps.gov/goga.
  • 8. Mount Tamalpais State Park Contact: Mount Tamalpais State Park, (415) 388-2070, http://www.parks.ca.gov.
  • 9. Marin Headlands Location: Southern Marin County – Contact: Marin Headlands Visitors Center, (415) 331-1540, http://www.nps.gov/goga.
  • 10. Big Basin Redwoods State Park Contact: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, (408) 338-8860, http://www.parks.ca.gov or http://www.mountainparks.org.

 


08/22/’15 – Lifejackets For End of Summer

  • Of the boating fatalities in California, two out of three are drowning
  • Of those drowning, 85 percent are not wearing a life jacket
  • Free stuff: Division of Boating and Waters provides free material you can download at http://www.dbw.ca.gov.

 


08/15/’15 – Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

  • Cost: $10 per vehicle.
  • Special rules: Dogs are not allowed, even if in a vehicles; no fishing, all fish protected in reserve.
  • Contacts: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, (831) 624-4909, http://www.parks.ca.gov.

 


08/01/’15 – Drought-Proof Lakes For August

  • Big Lakes: Whiskeytown near Redding. Independence north of Truckee. Tulloch in the foothills west of Sonora. Pardee east of Lodi.
  • Small Lakes, North To South: Lake Siskiyou near Mount Shasta. Lewiston north of Weaverville. Britton and Antelope east of Redding. Rollins and Englebright in the foothills. Caples near Carson Pass. Pinecrest east of Sonora. Tenaya in Yosemite.
  • Forest Service Rec Areas: Crystal Basin in Eldorado National Forest. Bowman Lake Rec Area in Tahoe National Forest. Carson Pass lakes in Eldorado Natonal Forest. Lakes Basin Tahoe National Forest. The Trinity-Divide in Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
  • RV and Tent Camping: For campgrounds in all areas, see the new Moon Northern California Camping at http://tomstienstra.com/books/california-camping.
  • Lake Levels, Major Reservoirs: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reservoirs/RES

 


07/25/’15 – Caples & Carson Lakes Answer For Families

What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.

 


07/11/’15 – Lifejackets & You

  • Of the boating fatalities in California, two out of three are drownings.
  • Of that, 85 percent are not wearing a life jacket.
  • Info: Division of Boating and Waterways. DBW.ca.gov

 


07/04/’15 – Boater’s Q&A

  • Free Stuff: Division of Boating and Waters provides free material you can download at http://www.dbw.ca.gov.
  • Boater’s Driver License: A new law will require boaters to pass a safety course and written test. Starting in 2018, it will be phased in over 10 years.
  • Lakeside Campgrounds: More than 100 lakes are full of water or close to it. Moon California Camping at www.TomStienstra.com

What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.

 


06/27/’15 – Redwood Empire for 4th of July

What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.

 


06/13/’15 – Boat Your Way To Freedom

  • Department of Boating and Waters, http://www.dbw.ca.gov. There’s a ton of free stuff you can download.
  • Guide to all lakeside campgrounds – more than 100 lakes are full of water or close to it. Moon California Camping at www.TomStienstra.com

What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.

 


06/30/’15 – Tahoe Is a Go

    • D.L. Bliss State Park (and other state rec areas at Tahoe):

Tahoe area state parks, D.L. Bliss State Park, (530) 525-7277, http://www.parks.ca.gov.

  • U.S. National Forest:

 

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, South Lake Tahoe, (530) 543-2600, http://www.fs.usda.gov/ltbmu.

  • RV and Tent Camping:

 

For campgrounds in all areas, see the new Moon Northern California Camping at http://tomstienstra.com/books/california-camping.

 


05/23/’15 – Best Areas For Lakes

 


05/16/’15 – Memorial Day Wildlife Watch

05/09/’15 – Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

  • Open: Open to public now through July.
  • Entrance Station: Wildlife information, get latest sightings; restrooms.
  • Maps: Available at entrance station.
  • Contacts: Grizzly Island Wildlife Area (707) 425-3828; California Department of Fish and Wildlife, http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/Places-to-Visit

 


04/25/’15 – Rancho del Oso Open House

  • Nature Center Open House, Saturday, April 25: guided wildflower walks, short stroll to nature lagoon, launch point for California’s best bike-and-hike. Located on Highway 1, 30 miles south of Half Moon Bay.
  • Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center, (831) 427-2288, http://ranchodeloso.org; Big Basin Redwoods State Park, http://www.parks.ca.gov.

 


04/11/’15 – Briones Regional Park

  • Cost: $3 access, parking; $2 per dog.
  • Map/Brochure: Available at park entrance, PDF at website.
  • GPS Directions: Use 2537 Reliez Valley Road, Martinez.
  • Contacts: Briones Regional Park, (888) 327-2757, option 3. Ext. 4508; East Bay Regional Park District, http://www.ebparks.org.

 


04/04/’15 – Dolores Park Cleanup

  • When: 2 p.m. Saturday, April 4
  • Where: Dolores Park, 18th Street at Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA 94114.
  • Notes: Trash bags provided. Visitors urged to take selfies of clean-up activity and then publish on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word: Keeps parks clean of litter.

 


 

03/28/’15 – Salmon Season Opens

  • Season: Open Saturday, April 4. 2-fish limit.
  • Charters: Emeryville Sportfishing Center, (510) 654-6040, emeryvillesportfishing.com.
  • Tackle: Hi’s Tackle Box, (650) 588-1375, histacklebox.com.
  • Weather: Marine forecast, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-6070, extension 2.

 


 

03/20/’15 – Mount Diablo Contacts

  • Mount Diablo State Park (925) 837-2525 (recorded park information), http://www.parks.ca.gov; summit weather, (925) 838-9225; Summit Visitor Center, (925) 837-6119
  • Mount Diablo Interpretive Association http://www.mdia.org

 


 

03/14/’15 – Lakes In Good Shape

  • Feather River: Antelope Lake, 100 percent full
  • Yuba River: Englebright Lake, 92 percent
  • American River: Ice House Lake, 88 percent
  • Mokelumne River: Pardee Lake, 85 percent
  • Stanislaus River: Tulloch Lake, 82 percent
  • Trinity River: Lewiston Lake, 96 percent
  • Upper Sacramento River: Lake Siskiyou, 100 percent
  • Source for updates: http://cdec.water.ca.gov

 


 

03/07/’15 – Marin Headlands Views

  • Note: Many GPS devices and Google Maps will guide you in a different route, on Bunker Road; for the most dramatic views and experience, take these directions for Conzelman.
  • Coastal Route: From San Francisco, take U.S. 101 north over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin and the exit for Alexander Avenue (just north of the bridge). Take that exit west and drive under the highway and curve south to Conzelman Road, signed “Marin Headlands Coastal Route.” Turn right (west) on Conzelman and drive (you will pass a turnoff on the left to a great lookout of the Golden Gate at Battery Spencer) to Hawk Hill, then continue west (the road becomes one-way) toward Point Bonito and Field Road (sensational ocean views straight ahead).
  • To Complete Trip To Rodeo Lagoon: At Field Road, turn right and drop down into Rodeo Valley (passing the Nike missile site) to Bunker Road (at the foot of Rodeo Lagoon). Turn left on Bunker Road and drive (past Rodeo Lagoon on your left, Fort Cronkhite on your right) to parking at the end of the road for Rodeo Beach.
  • Contacts: Marin Headlands Visitors Center, (415) 331-1540, http://www.nps.gov/goga; Point Bonita Lighthouse, http://www.nps.gov/goga/pobo.htm.

 


 

02/28/’15 – Bean Hollow State Beach

  • Cost: Parking, access free.
  • How To Get There: From Half Moon Bay, and drive 17.6 miles (7.2 miles south of turnoff for San Gregorio; 2.4 miles south of turnoff for Pescadero) to entrance on right for Bean Hollow State Beach.
  • Contacts: Bean Hollow State Beach, c/o Half Moon Bay State Beach, (650) 726-8819; http://www.parks.ca.gov.

 


02/21/’15 – Big Basin Redwoods State Park

  • 35 inches of rain has transformed the creeks, forests and waterfalls
  • Contact: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, (831) 338-8860; Castle Rock State Park, (408) 867-2952; parks.ca.gov

 


02/14/’15 – Bay Area Trout Lakes Come To Life

  • Los Vaqueros Reservoir: Los Vaqueros stocked weekly, lake-record trout last week. Los Vaqueros Marina, (925) 371-2628; fishing report, http://www.norcalfishing.com.
  • East Bay Park Lakes: Del Valle, Chabot, Quarry Lakes stocked this week; East Bay Regional Park District, (888) 327-2757, http://www.ebparks.org.
  • Marin: Lagunitas, Bon Tempe stocked this week. http://www.marinwater.org

 


02/07/’15 – Marin’s Hill 88

  • Trailhead: Coastal Trail (it starts as gated road) adjacent to Rodeo Beach at Marin Headlands.
  • Contacts: Marin Headlands Visitor Center, located near foot of Rodeo Lagoon, (415) 331-1540, http://www.nps.gov/goga.

 


01/31/’15 – Free Outdoor Trips

 


01/24/2015 – Dipsea Trail

  • Distance/time:7.5 mi one-way, 3.5 to 4 hours, plus half hour for trail lunch
  • Location:Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, flank of Mount Tamalpais, Marin County
  • Starting point:Old Mill Park, Mill Valley (parking available along street)
  • End point:Stinson Beach, near junction of Panoramic Highway and Highway 1
  • Cost:Parking and access is free at trailheads.
  • Map:Detailed trail map with elevations, landmarks trail sites, “Dipsea and Mountain Play,” published 2011, $9.95, http://www.tomharrisonmaps.com.

 


01/17/2015 – Los Vaqueros Reservoir

  • To South Gate (marina, fishing, boat rentals): From San Francisco, take I-80 east over Bay Bridge to the split with 580. Bear right on 580 and drive 34 miles to Livermore and continue east on 580 to Vasco Road. Take Vasco Road north and drive 4 miles to Los Vaqueros Road. Turn left and drive to South Gate entrance station, then continue to marina.
  • To North Gate (mountain biking, hike trailhead): Take Highway 4 east through Oakley and continue to the Highway 4 Bypass (when then turns into Vasco Road) and continue to Walnut Boulevard. Turn right on Walnut Boulevard and drive 1 mile to the entrance gate.
  • Note: Bring $5 and $1 for iron ranger.
  • Contacts: Los Vaqueros Marina, (925) 371-2628; fishing report, http://www.norcalfishing.com.
  • Right now: live web cam and wind report from marina: http://www.ccwater.com/losvaqueros/conditions.asp.

 


01/10/’15 – El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve

  • How To Get There: GPS-Use 16040 Skyline Blvd., Woodside (2.8 miles north of Alice’s Restaurant at Sky Londa).
  • Contacts: Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, (650) 691-1200, http://www.openspace.org.

 


01/03/’15 – Mountain Bike To Coit Lake

  • Distance: From Hunting Hollow Trailhead east of Gilroy, about 15 miles, round-trip.
  • Maps: For a detailed topographic map, contact Pine Ridge Association, http://www.coepark.org.
  • Contact: Henry W. Coe State Park, (408) 779-2728; http://www.parks.ca.gov.

 


12/27/’14 – Christmas Wish & New Year’s Resolutions

 


12/20/’14 – Selection of Tahoe Ski Areas:

Helpful Resources:

 


12/13/’14 – Marin’s 6 Waterfalls

 


11/29/’14 – Golden Gate Bridge

  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco, CA 94123, (415) 561-4700, http://www.nps.gov/goga.

 


11/22/’14 – Tomales Bay Getaway

 


11/15/’14 – Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Driving Tour

  • How To Get There: In the Sacramento Valley, take Interstate 5 north to the exit for County Road 68 (north of Maxwell, south of Willows). Take that exit east to the stop sign at Old Highway 99 (east side frontage road of I-5). Turn left and drive 1.5 miles to the signed refuge entrance road on the right. Bear right on the driving tour (signed). Drive slowly and work your way along the horseshoe-shaped route around the refuge.
  • Contact: U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, (530) 934-2801; http://www.fws.gov/sacramentovalleyrefuges.
  • Federal Duck Stamp: $15, of which 98 cents of every dollar goes to the purchase of wetlands, provides free access to all National Wildlife Refuges; available at U.S. Post Office and http://www.duckstamp.com.

 


11/08/’14 – Crab Combos-a-Go

  • Dungeness crab: Party boat limit is 6 with 6-inch minimum size limit; on private boats, limit is 10 with 53/4-inch minimum size limit.
  • Rockfish: Limit 10 per person.
  • Weather: Marine forecast, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-6070, extension 2.
  • All boats: www.goldengatefishermensassociation.com.
  • Charters: Emeryville Sportfishing Center, (510) 654-6040, www.emeryvillesportfishing.com.

 


11/01/’14 – Presidio’s Inspiration Point

  • Cost: Parking, access free.
  • Map/brochure: Available at visitor center, PDF at website.
  • GPS: For trailhead parking for Ecology Trail, use 42 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. Inspiration Point can also be reached by car off Arguello Boulevard.
  • Contacts: Presidio of San Francisco, Visitor Center, (415) 561-4323, http://www.nps.gov/prsf; Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700; http://www.nps.gov/goga.

 


10/25/’14 – Youth In The Outdoors

  • Fewer than 40 percent of American youth take part in the outdoors even once a week.
  • 88 percent say they spend time on-line every day.
  • They spend more time with their head in a screen than they do on homework.
  • Youth nature program, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, www.nature.org/leaf.

 


10/18/’14 – Tahoe In The Fall

 


10/11/’14 – Yosemite In The Fall

 


09/27/’14 – Rain Sweetens Lake, Trout Plants
Six lakes stocked for weekend:

  • Lake Merced North, San Francisco; Del Valle Reservoir Livermore; Quarry Lakes, Fremont; Lake Chabot, Castro Valley; Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton; Contra Loma & Antioch foothills
  • Contacts: East Bay Regional Park District, (888) 327-2757, www.ebparks.org; Department of Fish and Wildlife, www.wildlife.ca.gov.

 


09/20/’14 – Fall Colors
Sept. 15-30: Eastern Sierra,
Oct. 1-15: Lake Tahoe Basin
Nov. 1-15: West slope of Sierra, north state in vicinity of Mount Shasta.
Nov. 15-30: Bay Area, south Peninsula.

 


09/13/’14 – Mountain Lion Facts

  • Winter Danger: Most attacks occur from December through April, especially in drought, when fawns (and thus food) are scarce
  • Encounters Slim: Of the few encounters, 18 percent are reported as “threatening” and only 3 percent are verified as a “threat.”
  • Timeline: The spike in lion sightings and attacks coincides with the approval of a 1990 ballot initiative that designated lions as a protected species.
  • Contact: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, www.wildlife.ca.gov.

 


09/06/’14 – These National Parks-a-Go

 


08/30/’14 – Kayak Rentals

    • San Francisco: City Kayak, South Beach Harbor (Pier 40), (415) 357-1010, www.citykayak.com.
    • San Mateo coast: Half Moon Bay Kayak Company, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 773-6101, www.hmbkayak.com.
    • Petaluma River: Clavey River Paddle Sports, Petaluma, (707) 766-8070, www.clavey.com.
    • Napa River/Sonoma Marsh: Kayak Napa Valley, Napa, (707) 501-8585, www.kayaknv.com.
    • Oakland Estuary: California Canoe & Kayak, (510) 893-7833, www.calkayak.com.
    • Carquinez Strait/Suisun Bay: Westwind Adventures, Martinez, (925) 229-5292, www.westwindadventures.com.
    • Lower Delta/Suisun Marsh: Sunset Bay Kayaks, Suisun City, (707) 365-2436, www.sunsetbaykayaks.com.
    • Elkhorn Slough: Kayak Connection, Moss Landing; trips also available out of Santa Cruz and Monterey; (831) 724-5692, www.kayakconnection.com.

Kayak Rentals at Lakes

 


08/23/’14 – Tahoe’s Best Views

  • Driving: South Lake Tahoe: Emerald Bay; North Tahoe: Martis Peak Lookout, 8,656 feet.
  • Hiking: Ellis Peak, 8,878 feet; Twin Peaks, 8,878 feet; Mount Tallac, 9,735 feet; Freel Peak, 10,892 feet.
  • Info: Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureaus: South Lake Tahoe, tahoesouth.com; North Tahoe, gotahoenorth.com.

See California Hiking <a href="http://www.TomStienstra.com&quot; target

 


08/16/’14 – Look To The Night Sky

  • This Weekend: Venus and Jupiter will have the closest conjunction of the year, look east before sunrise, closest on Monday.
  • Bay Area Info: Chabot Space & Science Center, (510) 336-7373, www.chabotspace.org; Lick Observatory, (408) 274-5061, http://www.ucolick.org.

 


08/09/’14 – Full Moon Walks
Best spots in Bay Area:

    • Borel Hill at Russian Ridge on the Peninsula: Midpeninsula Open Space District, (650) 691-1200, www.openspace.org
    • Mission Peak above Fremont: Mission Peak Regional Preserve, (510) 544-3426; East Bay Regional Park District, (800) 327-2757, www.ebparks.org. 10 p.m. curfew for trails at Mission Peak.
    • Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara County: Lick Observatory, (408) 274-5061; www.ucolick.org.

If you camp:

  • Mount Livermore at Angel Island: Angel Island State Park, (415) 435-5390, www.parks.ca.gov.
  • The East Peak at Mount Tamalpais: West Point Inn, (415) 388-9955, WestPointInn.com.
  • At Diablo Overlook at Mount Diablo above Walnut Creek: Mount Diablo State Park, (925) 837-2525, www.parks.ca.gov.

 


08/02/’14 – El Nino On The Way
Best Bets:

  • Federal forecasters raised chances this week to 80 percent of an El Nino this winter.
  • Water temp 63 degrees off Marin Coast; average is 54 to 57.
  • Giant Shasta, Oroville, Trinity and Camanche are only 35 percent full.
  • Excellent fishing for rockfish, which respond well to warmer ocean water.
  • All boats: www.goldengatefishermensassociation.com.

 


07/26/’14 – Hummingbird Feeders
How to attract hummingbirds:

  • 1. Buy a few hummingbird feeders
  • 2. Wash them out with warm water
  • 3. In separate container, create a mix of sugar and water: 3-to-1 to start. Never go below 4-to-1. (My four feeders hold about 100 ounces of water, for instance, so I use 30 to 33 ounces of sugar).
  • 4. Enjoy your new friends

Tom Stienstra will give the show, Electrifying Wildlife Encounters, at REI-San Jose/Saratoga at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and at REI-Berkeley at 7 p.m. Thursday; he will present Sierra Crossing, the Epic Journey You Can Do In A Week, at REI-Corte Madera at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

 


07/17/’14 – Rafting In A Drought

  • Rivers in good shape: South Fork American, Middle Fork American, Main Stem Tuolumne.
  • Contacts: Adventure Connection, Lotus, (800) 556-6060, www.raftcalifornia.com; All Outdoors, Walnut Creek (and Lotus, Groveland), (800) 247-2387, www.aorafting.com; Sierra Mac, Groveland, (800) 457-2580, www.SierraMac.com.
  • Master reference: Reference site for outfitters that run all three forks of the American, www.TheAmericanRiver.com.

 


07/12/’14 – High-Country Lake-Based Rec Areas

What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore. Plus see the book Moon California Camping at <a href="http://www.TomStienstra.com&quot; target

 


07/05/’14 – Surfing & Stand Up Paddleboarding

 


06/28/’14 – Free Outdoor Trips

 


06/21/’14 – Best Sierra View | Mitchell Peak

 


06/14/’14 – Gold Lake Highway
Best Bets:

  • Location: Gold Lake Highway, located between Bassetts and Graeagle north of Tahoe.
  • Getting There: Bassetts can be accessed from Highway 49 east of Grass Valley, Graeagle can be accessed from Highway 89 north of Truckee.
  • Best Lakes: Lower Sardine Lake, Salmon Lake, Snag Lake, Haven Lake, Goose Lake, Gold Lake, Packer Lake, Long Lake.
  • Camping: See my book Moon California Camping.
  • Boat/Paddle rentals: Sardine Lake Resort, Salmon Lake Resort.
  • Bike Rentals: Mountain bike rentals, shuttles, at Downieville Outfitters, (530) 289-0155, www.downievilleoutfitters.com
  • Information: Tahoe National Forest, Yuba River Ranger District, (530) 288-3231, Plumas National Forest, Beckwourth Ranger District, (530) 836-2575; www.fs.usda.gov/r5.

 


06/07/’14 – Peters Creek Grove
Portola Redwoods State
At present, a 12.5-mile round trip to Peters Creek Grove. Proposed trailhead out of Skyline Open Space Preserve would make in a 2-mile trip, one-way.

  • Contacts: Portola Redwoods State Park, (650) 948-9098, parks.ca.gov.

 


05/31/’14 – Trout Streams A Go
Best Bets:

  • The Upper Sacramento River: Box Canyon Dam at Mount Shasta downstream to Dunsmuir and to Dog Creek
  • The Upper Sacramento River: Box Canyon Dam at Mount Shasta downstream to Dunsmuir and to Dog Creek
  • Lower Sacramento River: Redding to Anderson
  • Fall River: MacArthur to Big Lake, Shasta County
  • Upper Yuba River, downstream of Downieville, central Sierra
  • Upper Kings River: in Kings Canyon National Park
  • Upper Kern: Forks of the Kern, southern Sierra.

Contacts:

 


05/24/’14 – Bridge The Divide
. . . take a youngster with you on your trip this weekend
Bay Area Recreation Resources

    • Golden Gate National Recreation Area (415) 561-4700, www.nps.gov/goga
    • Point Reyes National Seashore (415) 464-5100, www.nps.gov/pore
    • California State Parks (916) 653-9775, www. parks.ca.gov
    • East Bay Regional Park District (888) 327-2757, ebparks.org
    • Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (650) 691-1200, openspace.org
    • San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Department (650) 363-4020, eparks.net
    • Santa Clara County Parks Department (408) 355-2200, parkhere.org
    • Don Edwards S.F. Bay National Wildlife Refuge (510) 792-0222, fws.gov/desfbay/
    • Department of Fish and Game, Bay Area regional office (707) 944-5500, dfg.ca.gov
    • Marin Municipal Water District (415) 495-1455, marinwater.org
    • East Bay Municipal Utility District (866) 403-2683, ebmud.com
    • Contra Costa Water District (925) 688-8000, ccwater.com

 


05/17/’14 – Peninsula’s Redwood Triangle
5 Parks Linked By Trails

      • How To Get There: From San Francisco, take I-280 south and drive 20 miles to Woodside and the exit for Highway 84/Woodside Road. Take that exit, turn west (right) on Woodside Road, and drive 2.8 miles to Woodside. Continue straight on Woodside Road/Highway 84 for 10 miles (at Sky Londa, continue straight on 84) to La Honda and continue a short distance to Pescadero Road on left. Turn left and drive 1.1 miles to Redwood Triangle and three-way junction.
      • Left/Right: Left to Heritage Grove, Portola Redwoods; right to Sam McDonald, Memorial, Pescadero Creek county parks.
      • Contact: San Mateo South County Parks, c/o Memorial Park, (650) 879-0238; San Mateo Park Headquarters, (650) 363-4020, www.eparks.net.
      • State Park: Portola Redwoods State Park. Contact: (650) 948-9098, www.parks.ca.gov.

 


05/10/’14 – Salmon

        • Commercial Price: $25 a pound this week; charter boat, $100 for chance to catch 2-fish limit, average 20 pounds or better.
        • All Boats: goldengatefishermensassociation.com.
        • Charters: Emeryville Sportfishing Center, (510) 654-6040, emeryvillesportfishing.com.
        • Tackle: Hi’s Tackle Box, (650) 588-1375, histacklebox.com.
        • Weather: Marine forecast, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-6070, extension 2.

 


05/03/’14 – Yosemite In May

 


04/26/’14 – Kayak Rentals

            • San Francisco: City Kayak, South Beach Harbor (Pier 40), (415) 357-1010, www.citykayak.com.
            • San Mateo coast: Half Moon Bay Kayak Company, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 773-6101, www.hmbkayak.com.
            • Petaluma River: Clavey River Paddle Sports, Petaluma, (707) 766-8070, www.clavey.com.
            • Napa River/Sonoma Marsh: Kayak Napa Valley, Napa, (707) 501-8585, www.kayaknv.com.
            • Oakland Estuary: California Canoe & Kayak, (510) 893-7833, www.calkayak.com.
            • Carquinez Strait/Suisun Bay: Westwind Adventures, Martinez, (925) 229-5292, www.westwindadventures.com.
            • Lower Delta/Suisun Marsh: Sunset Bay Kayaks, Suisun City, (707) 365-2436, www.sunsetbaykayaks.com.
            • Elkhorn Slough: Kayak Connection, Moss Landing; trips also available out of Santa Cruz and Monterey; (831) 724-5692, www.kayakconnection.com.

Kayak Rentals at Lakes

            • Lake Chabot, Castro Valley: (510) 247-2526, ebparks.org.
            • Del Valle Reservoir, Livermore: Del Valle Kayak Center, (925) 245-9481, www.sunrisemountainsports.com; ebparks.org.
            • San Pablo Reservoir, El Sobrante: (510) 223-1661.
            • Lake Merritt, Oakland: (510) 238-2196.
            • Lake Elizabeth, Fremont: Weekends only, (510) 790-5541.
            • Shadow Cliffs Lake, Pleasanton: (925) 426-0197, ebparks.org.
            • Contra Loma Reservoir, Antioch: (888) 327-2757, option 3, ext. 4518, ebparks.org.
            • Lake Cunningham, San Jose: (408) 794-7577, www.lakecunningham.org.

 


04/19/’14 – Devils Slide Trail

            • Contact: San Mateo County Parks and Recreation, (650) 363-4020, parks.smcgov.org.

 


04/12/’14 – Favorite Cabins For Rent

 


03/29/’14 – Salmon Season
Open Day Saturday, April 5

 


03/22/’14 – What If Everybody Ran?

 


03/15/’14 – Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

                    • Location: 2.3 miles south of Sky Londa on Highway 35/Skyline.
                    • Cost: Parking, access free.
                    • Nearby Preserves: Located south on Skyline: Russian Ridge, Skyline ridge, Long Ridge, Saratoga Gap.
                    • Contacts: Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, (650) 691-1200, www.openspace.org.

 


03/08/’14 – Wilder Ranch State Park
My favorite mountain bike ride

                      • Cost: $10 per vehicle.
                      • Map: Map/brochure available at park entrance; PDF at www.parks.ca.gov.
                      • Location: 1.8 miles north of Western Drive in northern Santa Cruz.
                      • Contacts: Wilder Ranch State Park, (831) 423-9703; www.parks.ca.gov.

 


03/01/’14 – Sunol Regional Wilderness

                        • Cost: $5 when kiosk attended (usually weekends only).
                        • Dogs: $2 per dog, permitted off leash if under voice command.
                        • Contacts: unol Regional Wilderness, (510) 544-3249; East Bay Regional Park District, map/brochures, info, (888) 327-2757, www.ebparks.org.

 


02/22/’14 – Trout Bite At San Pablo Reservoir

                          • Survey of 14 Anglers: 53 trout, 3.8-per-rod average. Location in El Sobrante in East Bayfoothills. (510) 223-1661, rockymountainrec.com.

 


02/15/’14 – Grizzly Island Wildlife Area

                            • Open: Reopened to public last week. Open to public now through July (rabbit hunting permitted in July). Closed in August and early September; foot traffic prohibited during waterfowl season from late October to late January.
                            • Check-in Station: Wildlife information, latest sightings; restrooms.
                            • Maps: Available at entrance station; PDF at www.dfg.ca.gov/lands.
                            • Contacts: Grizzly Island Wildlife Area (707) 425-3828; California Department of Fish and Wildlife, dfg.ca.gov – under conservation, click on “public lands.”

 


02/08/’14 – Selection Of Tahoe Ski Areas

Helpful Resources:

 


02/01/’14 – Take Care of Your Bird Friends

                              • Bird Feeding Stations: Use blends that have black oil sunflower seeds and tiny piece of peanuts. Avoid blends that have only red or white seeds.
                              • Ground Feeding: Milo, a reddish-brown seed, and millet, a small white seed, should be spread on the ground.
                              • Use Nyger: Place in feeders and socks designed for it.
                              • Location: Make sure feeding station is located where birds are safe from attack from cats and other predators.
                              • Simulate Habitat: Provide food, water, protection, plus a birdhouse.

 


01/25/’14 – Waterbird Festival

                                The 1st Annual Waterbird Festival, Saturday at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center, with guided field trips to see migratory and resident shorebirds. (415) 388-2524,

richardsonbay.audubon.org

                                .

 

 


01/18/’14 – Whale Watch

                                • From Shore: Point Reyes Lighthouse, Chimney Rock Headlands, Lands End (San Francisco), Pillar Point Headlands, Pigeon Point Lighthouse.
                                • Half Moon Bay: Reserve at (415) 256-9941.
                                • Monterey: Reserve at (831) 375-4658.
                                • San Francisco: Reserve at (415) 256-9941.
                                • Info: Oceanic Society, (415) 256-9604, oceanicsociety.org; Monterey Bay Whale Center, (831) 375-4658, montereybaywhalewatch.com

 


01/11/’14 – Yosemite Opening Up For Spring

                                • Cost: $20 per vehicle, good for a week.
                                • Camping: Reserve at www.recreation.gov (recommended) or (877) 444-6777. Camps now open: Upper Pines, Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley.
                                • Lodging In The Park: Visit www.yosemitepark.com or (801) 559-4884.
                                • Lodging Outside The Park: Visit www.yosemitepark.com.
                                • Info: Yosemite National Park, nps.gov/yose, (209) 372-0200.

 


01/04/’14 – Family Bike: Feel Like A Kid Again

                                • San Francisco: Golden Gate Promenade, from Marina Green; (415) 561-4700, http://www.nps.gov/goga
                                • Marin: Coast Trail at Point Reyes, from Hostel to Coast Camp; Point Reyes National Seashore, (415) 464-5100, ext. 2; http://www.nps.gov/pore
                                • San Mateo County: Bicycle Sundays, Canada Road, Woodside; San Mateo County Parks, http://www.eparks.net
                                • East Bay Hills: Nimitz Way, from Inspiration Point; Tilden Regional Park; (888) 327-2757, http://www.ebparks.org
                                • Santa Cruz Mountains: Pump Trail, Portola Redwoods to Memorial; Portola Redwoods State Park, (650) 948-9098, http://www.parks.ca.gov

 


12/28/13 – Drought Means Coastal Views

                                • San Francisco Headlands: Land’s End, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700, nps.gov/goga
                                • Marin Headlands: (415) 331-1540; visitor information, (415) 561-4700, nps.gov/goga
                                • Point Reyes National Seashore: Sky Trail, Chimney Rock Headlands, Point Reyes Lighthouse; (415) 464-5100, nps.gov/pore
                                • San Pedro Valley County Park: (650) 355-8289, www.eparks.net
                                • McNee Ranch: (650) 726-8820, parks.ca.gov
                                • Wilder Ranch State Park: (831) 423-9703, parks.ca.gov

 


12/21/13 – $15 Federal Duck Stamp

                                • Christmas gift for yourself, your friends and wildlife
                                  98 cents of every dollar goes to the purchase of wetlands. You get free access to all National Wildlife Refuges in America. Available at U.S. Post Office and at www.duckstamp.com

 


12/14/’13 – SPOT GPS Tracker

                                • SPOT GPS tracker solves outdoor gift enigma. SPOT Trace and SPOT Messenger, www.FindMeSPOT.com

12/07/13 – Winter Driving In Mountains

  • Car Survival Kit: Keep a box in your vehicle with bag of dry clothes and ski cap, sleeping bag, snacks (jerky, energy bar, candy bar) and bottled water, flashlight, emergency flasher, lighter, candle, can, knife, duct tape.
  • If You Get Stuck: Do not leave vehicle, call tow truck. At night, light candle and place in small can (provides small heat and comforting light for youngsters). Share sleeping bag.
  • Road Conditions: (800) 427-7623, dot.ca.gov
  • Caltrans Live Highway Cams: video.dot.ca.gov

11/30/13 – Snow Sports Bests

  • Best Intermediate Runs: Heavenly, South Lake Tahoe, (800) 432-8365, skiheavenly.com
  • Best Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing: Badger Pass, Yosemite National Park, (209) 372-1000, yosemitepark.com
  • Best Snow Play: Leland Snow Play, near Highway 108 at Pinecrest, (209) 965-4719, snowplay.com
  • Best All-Around Mountain, Skiing & Boarding: Mammoth Mountain, (800) 626-6684, MammothMountain.com

11/23/13 – Big Sur’s Andrew Molera

  • Cost: $10 parking, access
  • Camping: 24 walk-in sites (about a 500-yard walk required) provides one of the only first-come, first-serve. No dogs
  • Contacts: Andrew Molera State Park, (831) 667-2315, www.parks.ca.gov; Molera Horseback Tours, (831) 625-5486; molerahorsebacktours.com; Big Sur Discovery Center, Ventana Wildlife Society, (831) 455-9514, ventanaws.org, click on “Discovery Center”

11/16/13 – Top 10 Favorites Places
Tom Stienstra’s 10 Favorites Places Along The Coast and Bay shoreline to walk and explore during minus low tides:

  • 1. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach
  • 2. McClure’s Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore
  • 3. Fort Funston, San Francisco
  • 4. Cogswell Marsh Loop, Hayward Regional Shoreline
  • 5. Point Pinole Regional Shoreline
  • 6. Owl Trail (from Muir Beach Overlook)
  • 7. Heart’s Desire Beach, Tomales Bay State Park
  • 8. Bicentennial Bike Path, Sausalito
  • 9. Arrowhead Marsh, San Leandro Bay
  • 10. Tidelands Trail, S.F. Bay Wildlife Refuge:

11/09/13 – Sport Crab Season


11/02/13 – Winter Bests Contacts

  • Best All-around Mountain, Skiing & Boarding: Mammoth Mountain, (800) 626-6684, Mammothmountain.com – opens Thursday, Nov. 7.
  • Best Intermediate Runs: Heavenly, South Lake Tahoe, (800) 432-8365, skiheavenly.com
  • Best Cross-Country Skiing: Badger Pass, Yosemite National Park, (209) 372-1000, yosemitepark.com/badgerpass.aspx
  • Best Snow Play: Leland Snow Play, near Highway 108 at Pinecrest, (209) 965-4719, snowplay.com

10/26/13 – Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve


10/19/13 – SF’s Embarcadero


10/12/13 – Marin Beaches

  • Open: Upton Beach, Agate Beach at Marin County Parks, (415) 499-6387, marincountyparks.org.
  • Closed: Kirby Cove, Rodeo Beach at Marin Headlands, (415) 331-1540, nps.gov/goga; Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Visitor Center, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 388-2596, www.nps.gov/goga/stbe.htm.

10/05/13 – Federal Shutdown?
Open for your visit:

  • California State Parks: Marin District, (707) 769-5665; Diablo Vista District, (707) 769-5652; Santa Cruz District, (831) 335-6318; www.parks.ca.gov.
  • East Bay Regional Park District: (888) 327-2757, www.ebparks.org.
  • Midpeninsula Open Space District: (650) 691-1200, www.openspace.org.

09/28/13 – Bay Area’s Top 5 Mountain Tops

  • Mount Tamalpais: Mount Tamalpais State Park, 801 Panoramic Highway, Mill Valley, CA 94941, (415) 388-2070; www.parks.ca.gov
  • Montara Mountain: San Pedro Valley County Park, 600 Oddstad Boulevard, Pacifica, CA 94044, (650) 355-8289, www.eparks.net
  • Goat Rock: Castle Rock State Park, 15000 Skyline Boulevard, Los Gatos, CA 95020, (408) 867-2952; www.parks.ca.gov
  • Mount Hamilton: Lick Observatory Tours and Gift Shop, (408) 274-5061; www.ucolick.org
  • Mount Diablo: Mount Diablo State Park, 96 Mitchell Canyon Road, Clayton, CA 94517, (925) 837-2525 (recorded info) or (925) 837-0904 (ranger at kiosk); weather conditions at summit, (925) 838-9225; www.parks.ca.gov

[ Read more: Tom Stienstra’s Top 5 Bay Area Mountain Tops ]


09/21/13 – Yosemite’s Operation Facelift
Tuesday, Sept. 24 through Sunday, Sept. 29
Goal to pick up more than 20,000 pounds of trash at Yosemite National Park.

  • Volunteer: Sign up in front of Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, Wednesday, Sept. 25th through Sunday, Sept. 29th; at the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center on Friday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 29; on Saturday, Sept, 28, at Wawona at the Mariposa Lower Grove parking lot.
  • Info: yageryca@gmail.com, or on Facebook

09/14/13 – Outdoors Connects For Life


09/07/13 – Lower Delta’s Big Break

  • Kayak:Big Break Kayak City, Big Break Marina, 98 Big Break Road, Oakley, (925) 625-5601, www.kayakcity.com
  • Hike, Bike, Nature Watch: Big Break Regional Shoreline and Visitor Center, (510) 544-3050; East Bay Regional Park District, (888) 327-2757, www.ebparks.org

08/31/13 – Labor Day Weekend Get-Outs


08/24/13 – Educational Boat Tour of SF Bay

A new “bay bridge” has opened to the public. Except this bridge does not span over the bay. This bridge runs from your mind and into the bay. For this “bay bridge,” you get on a boat.

This bridge is a new educational boat tour on San Francisco Bay. It’s sponsored by the Oceanic Society. And it’s a lot of fun.

You tour amid the bay’s landmarks. You see and identify marine mammals and shorebirds. Scientists aboard can answer any question you may have about the bay.

San Francisco Bay is actually the largest estuary west of the Mississippi River. It includes wetlands and salt marshes. It supports hundreds of species of fish and wildlife. It provides habitat for birds and marine mammals.

The Bay is what makes our region special.

The boat trips are three hours long. The routes may include cruising by Alcatraz, Angel Island and Treasure Island. You can venture past Fort Point, the Golden Gate Bridge and out to Point Bonita Lighthouse.

Trips depart out of San Francisco, at 5:00pm Saturdays on the “Salty Lady.” Then at 9:30am Sundays on the “Capt. Joey.” The cost is $54 for adults and $45 for children with adults.

This is a great new trip few know about. You could go this weekend.


08/17/13 – Calveras County Caverns


08/10/13 – Cabins & Cottages


08/03/13 – Green Light For Salmon Highway


07/27/13 – Stay Fire Safe


07/20/13 – Raft Tuolumne River

  • Sierra Mac River Rafting Trips. Trip can include legendary Clavey Falls. (800) 457-2580, www.sierramac.com
  • Rafting Info: California Whitewater Rafting at www.c-w-r.com provides links to river descriptions, outfitters, lodging directions and other resources

7/13/13 – The Stienstra Rules
“Have the best time of your life”

  • Dad Stienstra: Every day alive is a gift
  • Brother Stienstra: Every day in the outdoors can be a treasure
  • Mom Stienstra: Don’t put your life on hold for some magic day in the future when you’ll finally go. Go right now and make it good yourself
  • All In Agreement: Have great friends and family. Join up and do something every day possible. Always have something to look forward to. Learn something new every day

7/6/13 – Thunder & Lightning

  • Locations Last Week: Yosemite, Tahoe, Mount Shasta, Lassen, Kings Canyon and Mount Whitney
  • Determine Distance: Every five seconds from lightning flash to thunder roll is equal to 1 mile away in distance

06/29/13 – Best Spots For Wildlife Photography

  • Elk: Pierce Ranch, Point Reyes National Seashore, 415) 464-5100, nps.gov/pore
  • Elk: Grizzly Island Wildlife Area; Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Bear: Dorst Creek Campground, Sequoia National Park; Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park; Lava Beds National Park
  • Deer: Foothills Park, Palo Alto; Timber Mountain, Modoc County
  • Sea Otters: Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing; Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
  • Golden Eagles: Sunol Regional Wilderness; Los Vaqueros Watershed

06/22/13 – Lake Tahoe’s Grand Loop

  • Distance: 72 miles around Lake Tahoe
  • Rec Options: Emerald Bay State Park, D.L. Bliss State Park, Sugar Pine Point State Park, Tahoe State Recreation Area, Kings Beach State Recreation Area, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park, Sand Harbor State Park, Zephyr Cove/MS Dixie II Paddlewheeler
  • Contacts: Forest Service Visitor’s Center, (530) 543-2674, www.fs.usda.gov/ltbmu
  • Bike Rentals: tahoesbest.com – click on “Biking” and “bike rentals”
  • South Lake Tahoe Lodging: (800) 821-9888, tahoe.com
  • North Lake Tahoe lodging: (888) 434-1262, gotahoenorth.com

06/15/13 –
Yosemite Creek Campground Opens Tuesday

  • Cost: $20 per vehicle, good for a week
  • Camping, Part 1: First-come, first-served at Yosemite Creek. 75 sites. Access road is rough
  • Camping, Part 2: 13 camps available in park, plus 15 others outside of park boundary; see details in Moon California Camping, at TomStienstra.com
  • Lodging In Park: yosemitepark.com or (801) 559-4884
  • Lodging Outside Park: yosemite.com
  • Info: Yosemite National Park, nps.gov/yose, (209) 372-0200
  • What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.www.TomStienstra.com

06/08/13 – Best Bay Area Lakes For Swimming
All In East Bay Counties:

  • Cull Canyon, Don Castro, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton
  • Temescal, Berkeley hills, Anza, Del Valle, Castle Rock, Contra Loma, Crown Memorial, Miller-Knox, Quarry Lakes, Roberts Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, (888) 327-2757, option 3, ext. 4567; East Bay Regional Park District, www.ebparks.org
  • What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.www.TomStienstra.com

05/25/13 – Salvage Memorial Day With Kayak Rental
Rentals, Guided Trips

  • San Francisco: City Kayak, South Beach Harbor (Pier 40), (415) 357-1010, citykayak.com
  • San Mateo Coast: Half Moon Bay Kayak Company, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 773-6101, www.hmbkayak.com
  • North Bay: Sea Trek, Sausalito, weekends at (415) 332-4465 (on the beach), weekdays at (415) 332-8494 (at the shop), www.seatrekkayak.com
  • Point Reyes/Tomales Bay: Blue Waters Kayaking (415) 669-2600, www.bwkayak.com
  • Bodega Bay: Bodega Bay Surf/Kayak, (707) 875-3944, bodegabaysurf.com
  • Petaluma River: Clavey River Paddle Sports, Petaluma, (707) 766-8070, clavey.com
  • Napa River/Sonoma Marsh: Kayak Napa Valley, Napa, (707) 501-8585, kayaknv.com
  • Oakland Estuary: California Canoe & Kayak, (510) 893-7833, calkayak.com
  • Carquinez Strait/Suisun Bay: Westwind Adventures, Martinez, (925) 229-5292, westwindadventures.com
  • Lower Delta/Suisun Marsh: Sunset Bay Kayaks, Suisun City, (707) 365-2436, sunsetbaykayaks.com
  • Elkhorn Slough: Kayak Connection, Moss Landing; trips also available out of Santa Cruz and Monterey; (831) 724-5692, kayakconnection.com

Kayak Rentals At Lakes


05/18/13 – D.L. Bliss State Park

  • Tahoe’s D.L. Bliss opens Friday for Memorial Day Weekend
  • D.L. Bliss State Park, (530) 525-7277, parks.ca.gov
  • What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.www.TomStienstra.com

05/11/13 – Crystal Springs Watershed
10-year Anniversary

  • Trailhead Reservations: (650) 652-3203 or www.sfwater.org
  • Fifield-Cahill Trail: Most trips are 8, 10 or 13 miles
  • Cost: Access is free
  • Days Open: Wednesdays & weekends
  • Trailhead Rules: Reservations required; volunteer trail leader required with all parties; hiking, biking and horseback riding permitted (but not at same time); organized groups no larger than 20
  • What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.www.TomStienstra.com

05/04/13 – Boat Season Launch

  • Major Recreation Lakes: Shasta (85 percent full), Trinity (88), Bullards Bar (87), Oroville (88), Camanche (81), Tulloch (85), Don Pedro (72), New Melones (62); all roughly 100 percent of normal for start of May
  • Smaller Lakes: Antelope Lake (100 percent), Whiskeytown (95), Lewiston (95), Pardee (93), Englebright (89), Davis (82); most roughly 90 to 100 percent of normal
  • Best Lakes For Boat-in Camping: Shasta Lake, Trinity Lake, Lake Sonoma, Bullards Bar Reservoir, Union Valley Reservoir
  • Info: See 2013 Moon California Camping at www.TomStienstra.com
  • What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.

04/27/13 – Little Basin Contacts

  • Saturday, April 27: Little Basin Festival, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., live music, food, vendors activities. (831) 338-8018
  • Reserve access/camping/cabins: (800) 678-5102, or ReserveAmerica.com
  • Location/Protocols: Little Basin adjoins Big Basin Redwoods, but is separate from state park day-use protocols. No come-and-go day-use like a typical park.
  • Facilities: 12 cabins with bunk beds (some with double beds), 38 tent sites, several RV sites, large area for group camping; pay telephone, group dining area, amphitheater with stage, recreation hall, playground, sports field, meadow; site director on site at all times.
  • Contact: (800) 678-5102, littlebasin.org
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04/20/13 – Yosemite Opening Up For Spring

  • Cost: Access free for National Parks Week, April 20-28; rest of the year, $20 per vehicle, good for a week.
  • Camping: Reserve at recreation.gov (recommended) or (877) 444-6777. 13 camps available in park, plus 15 others outside of park boundary; see details in Moon California Camping, 2013 edition released this week, at www.TomStienstra.com
  • Camps now open: Upper Pines, Lower Pines, North Pines, Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley; Wawona near southern entrance station; Hogdon Meadow near Big Oak Flat entrance station
  • Lodging In The Park: yosemite.com or (801) 559-4884
  • Lodging Outside the Park: yosemite.com
  • Info: Yosemite National Park, nps.gov/yose, (209) 372-0200
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04/13/13 – Use Concrete From Demolition of
Old Bay Bridge & Candlestick Park


04/06/13 – Whale Watching From Shore
Current Best Spots:

  • Point Reyes National Seashore: Point Reyes Lighthouse. Point Reyes National Seashore, Visitor Center, (415) 464-5100, nps.gov/pore
  • San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge; Sutro Ruins at Lands End near the Cliff House; Ocean Beach. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700; www.nps.gov/goga.
  • Pacifica: Southern Linda Mar State Beach. www.parks.ca.gov
  • Half Moon Bay: Pillar Point Head; marine forecast, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-6070, extension 2.
  • Pigeon Point Lighthouse: Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, (650) 879-2120, parks.ca.gov
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03/30/13 – Salmon Season Opens April 6


03/23/13 – Mavericks
Located at south end at Pillar Point Head near Half Moon Bay.

  • Weather: Marine forecast, Pillar Point Harbor, (650) 726-6070, extension 2.
  • Kayak: Half Moon Bay Kayak ($20 kayak rental), all gear provided, (650) 773-6101, hmbkayak.com
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03/16/13 – Options To Umunhum

  • 3,486-foot Mount Umunhum is off limits to public until 2016. Adjacent is Mount El Sombroso and Bald Mountain with public access.
  • Public Access: On Mount Umunhum Road: Woods Trail located at Jaques Ridge parking area; Bald Mountain Trail, continue up Mt. Umunhum Road another 1.6 miles to closed gate; trailhead is just across road (on left side of road).
  • Contacts: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, (650) 691-1200, openspace.org
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03/09/13 – Battery Godfrey
At the Presidio, San Francisco Headlands

  • Presidio Visitor Center, (415) 561-4323, nps.gov/prsf
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700. www.nps.gov/goga
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03/02/13 – Request From Our Wildlife Friends
Do not use poison to kill unwanted rodents. Use a trap or a cat. Poisoned rodents can be perilous for raptors, your cats and dogs. The poison can kills squirrels, birds, and who knows what else.

  • Contact: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, (916) 445-0411, www.dfg.ca.gov.

02/23/13 – Weekend Full of Activity / Contacts

  • All Weekend: Pleasanton Flyfishing Show, Alameda Fairgrounds; $15 for one day, $25 for two days. flyfishingshow.com/Pleasanton.html
  • 10 a.m. Saturday (or do it yourself any day): Monte Bello Open Space Preserve in the Palo Alto foothills, seven-mile hike. Openspace.org
  • 10 a.m. Sunday: Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. Wildflower hike on parts of the Chaparral Loop and Manhattan Canyon trails.
  • 10 a.m. Sunday: Nature walk. Meet at the Indian Valley Campus in Novato, parking lot 6. marincountyparks.org
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02/16/13 – Point Reyes Lighthouse
Point Reyes National Seashore

  • Bear Valley Visitor Center: From San Francisco, take U.S. 101 north over Golden Gate Bridge into Marin and continue to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Take that exit west and drive 20 miles to Highway 1. Turn right and go 100 yards to Bear Valley Road. Turn left and go 0.7 miles to signed left turn for visitor center. Turn left and drive short distance to parking. Get map/brochure and latest info
  • Shuttle Bus: On good weather weekends and holidays. $5. Tickets at Drakes Beach Visitor Center, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Park and take shuttle bus at South Beach Junction
  • Weekdays, Bad Weather Weekends: Drive yourself: From from Bear Valley Visitor Center, exit to Bear Valley Road. Turn left and go 1.7 miles to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Turn left and drive 18.7 miles to lighthouse parking lot and staging area
  • Lodging: ptreyes.com
  • Contacts: Visitor Center, (415) 464-5100, nps.gov/pore; lighthouse – (weekends), (415) 669-1534

02/9/13 – Invasive Mussels


02/02/13 – Horseback Riding The Right Way


01/26/13 – Cross-Country Ski Contacts


01/19/13 – 12 Coastal Getaways
Santa Cruz to San Francisco to Point Reyes

  • Wilder Ranch State Park, (831) 423-9703; thatsmypark.org or parks.ca.gov; Wilder Ranch Interpretive Center, (831) 426-0505.
  • Pigeon Point Lighthouse, (650) 879-2120, parks.ca.gov
  • San Pedro Valley County Park, (650) 355-8289, eparks.net
  • McNee Ranch: (650) 726-8820, parks.ca.gov
  • San Francisco Headlands: Land’s End, The Coastal Trail
  • Fort Funston; Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700, nps.gov/goga
  • Marin Headlands. 415/331-1540; visitor information, (415) 561-4700, nps.gov/goga
  • Point Reyes National Seashore: The Coastal Trail out of Palomarin, Sky Trail, Chimney Rock Headlands, The Point Reyes Lighthouse; (415) 464-5100, nps.gov/pore
  • What sets you free? Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore. – TomStienstra.com

1/12/13 – Sportsmen’s Expo
The Sportsmen’s Expo runs through Sunday, Northern California’s only major fishing, hunting and boating show.

  • When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • Where: Sacramento Cal Expo (for GPS use 1600 Exposition Boulevard, Sacramento, 95815). $10 parking
  • Cost: $15 admission, youth under 16 free, active military with ID card free; $10 parking
  • Contact: www.sportexpos.com – Click on “Sacramento”

01/03/13 – Tennessee Valley Hike Or Bike

  • Cost: Parking, access free.
  • How to get there: From San Francisco, take U.S. 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge and go 4 miles (through the Waldo Tunnel and into Marin City) to the exit for Highway 1/Stinson Beach. Take that exit and drive 0.6 miles to Tennessee Valley Road on left. Turn left and go two miles to the road’s end, parking and trailheads.
  • Contacts: Marin Headlands Visitors Center, (415) 331-1540, nps.gov/goga.