NUDE BEACHES 2014 - Page 9

Hurrah! Here's our 40th annual survey of Northern California naked fun in the sun.

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Although it is not visited by as many nudists as a decade ago, skinny-dippers still inspire some visitors in what's usually a mostly clothed crowd to join in the fun at Bass Lake, which true to its name, has lots of bass. Natalie, of San Francisco, described a day here as "unreal" on Yelp last summer. "The hike is super mellow." She brought floaters, but found others left in the water. Another summer visitor, Julia, borrowed floaties from some women at the site. "It was so relaxing," she says. San Leandro's Dave Smith, who usually even walks naked to the lake — expect a nearly hourlong, fairly easy, 2.8 mile hike — says he "loves" spending time in Bass' clear, refreshing waters. Rangers once halted and ticketed a clad man who had an unleashed dog, but let a group of nude walkers continue. On hot days the trailhead's parking lot fills quickly, so come early — by 9:30 a.m., according to Steve, of Newark, who used the trail this June, or possibly as late as 10:30 a.m., reported by another June visitor, Addi, of El Cerrito.

Directions: Allow about an hour for the drive from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. From Stinson Beach, go north on Highway 1. Just north of Bolinas Lagoon, turn left on the often-unmarked exit to Bolinas. Follow the road as it curves along the lagoon and eventually ends at Olema-Bolinas Road. Continue along Olema-Bolinas Road to the stop sign at Mesa Road. Turn right on Mesa and drive four miles until it becomes a gravel road and ends at the Palomarin parking lot. Arrive as early as possible. Says Smith: "We once saw hundreds of cars." A sign at the trailhead next to the lot will guide you down scenic Palomarin Trail to the lake. For directions to incredibly beautiful Alamere Falls, 1.5 miles past Bass Lake, which empties onto a beach at the sea, please see "Elsewhere In Marin" in our online listings.

 

RED ROCK BEACH, STINSTON BEACH

RATING: A

The Bay Area's most popular nude beach is in good shape this year. "It's in great condition," says frequent visitor Fred Jaggi. "Winter storms didn't knock down the terraces (above the beach). And the sand is really nice this season." Warmer than usual weather has been sending crowds of up to 100 persons to the picturesque cove, up from 80 last year, but about the same number as 2012. If you arrive too late in the day to find space on the sand, try visiting on a Monday to join a small group of regular visitors for what they call "Club Day." If possible, bring a folding beach chair. Save about 10-15 minutes to take a moderately steep but three-to-five-foot-wide trail to the beach, which is usually kept in great shape by volunteers. Even so, the last few feet of the path may sometimes be a bit slippery.

Directions: Go north on Highway 1 from Mill Valley, following the signs to Stinson Beach. At the long line of mailboxes next to the Muir Beach cutoff point, start checking your odometer. Look for a dirt lot full of cars to the left (west) of the highway 5.6 miles north of Muir and a smaller one on east side of the road. The lots are at milepost 11.3, one mile south of Stinson Beach. Limited parking is also available 150 yards to the south on the west side of Highway 1. Or from Mill Valley, take the West Marin/Bolinas Stage toward Stinson Beach and Bolinas. Get off at the intersection of Panoramic Highway and Highway 1. Then walk south 0.6 mile to the Red Rock lots. Take the path to the beach that starts near the Dumpster next to the main parking lot.

 

MUIR NUDE BEACH, MUIR BEACH

RATING: A

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