Kayaking Crissy Field to Sausalito
This trip was initially planned as an overnighter. As such, we loaded all of our camping gear and such into the holds of our kayaks. The plan was to paddle to a beach in the Marin Headlands located at N37 49.403 W122 31.485, and hike up the trail to the Bicentennial Campground in the headlands. This campground is very small (four “sites”) and it is free to camp there. You do need to make reservations. Peter scouted out the beach landings for us ahead of time, and the only problem seemed to be the short (quarter mile) hike from the beach to the camp – he reported that the trail (shown on some maps) was steep and perhaps non-existent. We were ready for the challenge, and we set off from Crissy Field. The 14 foot swell started to become evident as we were heading under the Golden Gate Bridge. The swells were fairly steep, but still a ways from breaking. Some of the steeper swells were a little unnerving even in our large double kayak. This was going to be a short paddle, so we decided to scout out all of the beaches as we headed towards the beach closest to the campground. Some of the beaches had fairly small waves, and were land-able. Nevertheless, the beach where we planned to land had very large waves. The frequency of very large waves was quite high (in fact, I didn’t see any small ones as we waited). We decided that the landing / takeoff would be beyond our abilities to accomplish safely, and we decided to head back. If you are thinking about doing this same trip, I’d suggest skipping it. Besides the risk of landing on these relatively exposed beaches, there isn’t really a good place to leave your boat overnight. The beaches are completely submerged during high tide, and anyone going under the Golden Gate will be able to see your boat sitting there. Given all of these factors, this is not a good place for a kayak camping trip. If, perhaps, there was a dock and a decent trail near this beach, I think it would be a wonderful kayak camping location! Something to think about.