Caspar Beach to MacKerricker
Caspar Beach* is located approximately six miles south of Noyo Harbor off of Highway 1 on Point Cabrillo Drive. Parking is free. It is less than 100 yards to the water. This launch site provides fair protection and the launch site usually has small surf. It is an excellent place to practice kayak surf skills. Caspar Bay is a very pleasant place to paddle. This site also provides kayak access to paddling the Point Cabrillo Marine Preserve approximately two miles southwest.
Noyo Harbor and River* is located on the south side of Fort Bragg, just north of where Highway 20 intersects Highway 1 and is the home of Noyo Pacific Outfitters. There are several launch sites with two public launch ramps on the south side of the river and one launch ramp right accross from Noyo Pacific Outfitters on the north side of the river. This area has some of just about everything with a working water front on the lower part of the river and a quiet estuary further upstream. If you are lucky you may see some salmon or a resident osprey looking for the same. Bay Area Back Road has a web page devoted to Noyo Harbor.
Noyo Bay can be accessed through the Noyo River jetty though this can be a surf zone. There is a parking lot at the end of North Harbor drive
and a short portage over a sand beach leads to a generally protected beach launch though this can be a surf launch. There are sea caves to the
north side of the bay.
Glass Beach is located two miles north of Noyo Harbor off of Highway 1 on the north side of Fort Bragg. Parking is free. It is a few hundred yards to the beach so a cart is in order here. The launch area is well protected but getting through the maze of rocks (and rock-like outcroppings of rusted iron) and out to sea can be difficult here, especially at low tide. Launching here should only be attempted when conditions are calm. Glass Beach was once the town dump. Garbage was dropped from the bluffs to the beach and washed into the ocean. This use was abandoned in the 1960´s and several decades of storms have polished the remaining glass that covers much of the beach. Unappealing as this may seem this site has become a favorite site for beach combing.
Pudding Creek* is located two miles north of Noyo Harbor off of Highway 1 on the north side of Fort Bragg. This site is about 1/4 mile north of the Glass Beach site. Look for the old wooden trestle on the ocean side of the Highway and park in the lot beside the trestle. Parking is free. It is less than one hundred yards to the creek. Launching is into the creek so waves are not an issue at this site. (Pudding Creek Beach is not a very good launch site for ocean paddling due to the heavy surf.) When the sandbar across the mouth is open, the first two hundred yards upstream may be a bit shallow but once beyond the dam, depth is sufficient to paddle for several miles. Pudding Creek is a peaceful stretch of water with abundant waterfowl, osprey, deer, turtles and even a few river otters. Dense cattails, bushes, redwood and alders border most of the shoreline. This stream also is reported to host one of California's last remaining runs of genetically pure, wild Coho salmon (hatchery stock were never introduced to Pudding Creek.) Current is negligible except during periods of heavy runoff. There is one significant obstacle to boating here that must be considered. Immediately east of the Highway One bridge is a small earthen dam. Paddling upstream will require a portage over the dam. Guests of The Beach House Inn on Pudding Creek (888) 559-0002 or (707) 961-1700 may be able to gain access to the area above the dam by using a path from the Inn. Inquire for directions. The short stretch below the dam might be a good spot to let youngsters paddle by themselves. For those willing to venture above the dam, Pudding Creek is a very special place to paddle.The land on both sides of the river above the Highway One Bridge is private property. Much of it belongs to Georgia Pacific, the local lumber mill. The steep canyon bordering the stream rarely allows significant wind to develop. The California Western Railroad (Skunk
Train) tracks parallel the banks for about two miles and then disappear into a tunnel. In addition to an occasional train, one may occasionally see people walking along the tracks close to town. Paddlers are likely to have this stream entirely to themselves.
MacKerricher State Park is located approximately five miles north of Noyo Harbor off of Highway 1. Parking is free at both Laguna Point and the adjoining Lake Cleone. It is less than 100 yards to the water in either case. The launch area at Laguna Point is difficult and provides very little protection from waves and is used as an access point for surfing. Waves develop and break over several outlying reefs and then dumps heavily on the steep beach except when the ocean is calm. The rocky area south of the point provides challenging paddling in ocean rock gardens. Lake Cleone is actually a pond of five or so acres. It is a good spot to enjoy a quiet paddle. It is frequently stocked with trout.
Locations are from south to north
Point Arena to Albion River
Van Damme to Russian Gulch
Seaside to Pete's Beach
Wages Creek to Bear Harbor
You can look at a map of the coastline from Albion to Westport by clicking the link below