Bridges and Island Program
In January 2016, during the slow winter season I circumnavigated San Francisco Bay. Starting from Mike’s Paddle in Alameda, I strapped on my camping and paddling gear onto my inflatable board and paddled towards the South Bay. In 30 days (non-consecutively), I ended up paddling every foot of the Bay, as south as Alviso Slough in San Jose, as north as Carquinez bridge and as west as Golden Gate Bridge. I averaged about 10 miles per day despite storm and wind. Some of the most dramatic paddles were near bridges and islands. It’s been a goal for me to introduce those special places in the bay to the rest of the bay area paddling community.
For the first time, we are presenting a self-guided program so you can explore all of those places on your own, with friends or groups like the Ohana Paddle Club. This program will provide you with the information of distance, put-ins, hazards, and nearby attractions. We hope that this could provide a setting for you to improve your paddling to explore the bay. Please note that although each paddle is rated easy, intermediate or advanced in terms of difficulty, the bay is a dynamic paddling environment where weather, tides, current and boat traffic can change quickly from hour to hour, so the best practice is to never paddle alone and always practice safety by being conservative and paddle within your limits.
1 Vallejo-Carquinez Bridge
2 Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
3 Golden Gate Bridge
4 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
5 San Mateo Bridge
6 Dunbarton Bridge
7 Ballena Bridge (Alameda)
8 Bay Farm Bridge (Alameda-Oakland)
9 High Street Bridge (Alameda-Oakland)
10 Park Street Bridge (Alameda-Oakland)
11 Fruitvale Bridge (Alameda-Oakland)
12 Coast Guard Island Bridge (Oakland)
1 Ballena Isles
2 Alameda Island
3 Treasure Island
4 Yerba Buena Island
5 Angel Island
6 Brooks Island
7 Red Rock Island
8 West/East Marin Island
9 Brothers Island
10 Sisters Island
11 Alcatraz Island
12 Coast Guard Island
Circumnavigate Ballena Isles
Distance: 2 miles
Quick Summary: round Ballena Isles in just half hour and go under Ballena Bridge.
Circumnavigate Coast Guard Island
Distance: 3 miles
Quick Summary: starting from Grand Street Boat Ramp, round Coast Guard Island, go under Coast Guard Island Bridge and back. Maybe enough time for a refreshment at Brozeit?
Circumnavigate Red Rock Island
Distance: 4 miles
Quick Summary: starting from Point Molate Beach Park, crossing the ferry channel, go under the Richmon-San Rafael Bridge, circumnavigate Red Rock Island and back.
Circumnavigate Brooks Island
Distance: 7 miles
Quick Summary: starting from Marina Bay Park in Richmond, crossing the marina, crossing the channel, and circumnavigate Brooks Island.
Alameda Islander (Eastern Half)
Distance: 7 miles
Quick Summary: starting from Mike's Paddle, head east towards Bay Farm Island, go under Bay Farm bridge into the San Leandro bay/Oakland Estuary. Go under four bridges in one shot - Bay Farm Bridge, High Street Bridge, Fruitvale Bridge, and Park Street Bridge.
Circumnvigate Alcatraz Island
Distance: 4 miles
Quick Summary: starting from San Francisco Aquatic Park, head straight towards Alcatraz Island crossing a very busy and dangerous channel with strong current, ferry and container ships, then circumnavigate Alcatraz Island and back.
Circumnavigate Treasure and Yerba Buena Island
Distance: 5 miles
Quick Summary: starting from the Tresure Island Boat Ramp (North or South end of the island), circumnavigate Treasure and Yerba Buena Island with busy boat traffic, strong current and wind, while going under both span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.