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your paddlesports destination

Central San Francisco Bay in California

Trip Overview

The central part of San Francisco Bay can be accessed from Redwood City. This is a fairly popular area for kayaks, a few canoes, some rowing teams and small sailboats. The boat ramp is reached from the Seaport exit off 101, and turn on Chesapeake Drive. I've launched here many times (probably at least 20 trips). There are a variety of tours one can do. Most of the best paddling is at half tide to high tide.

1. Out Redwood Creek to Corkscrew Slough, wind through Corkscrew to Steinberger Slough, back to Smith Slough, past several marinas and back to the dock. About 9 miles. Corkscrew Slough and Steinberger Slough do not have much of any water if the tide level is below 4 feet so a moderate tide is required! Most of this is very protected paddling but I have been through here with 25 MPH winds and it was rock and roll time.

2. Out Redwood Creek just before low water to the Bay. Eat breakfast on some sandy tidal islands out by channel marker #4. Take your time. As the water starts to rise and your island disappears, go north to Steinberger and return via Corkscrew or Smith Slough. 12 NM. The open Bay is quite rough at times but early in the morning it is usually very cooperative.

3. Out Redwood Creek 1.1 NM, turn right at Greco Island (Westpoint Slough). Wind around through the Slough for a few miles and find the passageway to the Bay. Here's how. This is a well-kept secret until now. Westpoint turns south toward an abandoned sewage treatment plant and a park built on landfill. Go as if to keep the plant on your left, south toward the freeway. Then, look for a passageway, very narrow and hard to spot, heading left at about 115 magnetic. Following this will put the buildings on your right. The tide must be near 6 feet to make it through. Don't do this on a falling tide or you will get stuck. Slip on through to the Bay. Turn left at the powerlines and head northwest along the coast, where on a good day you will see seals and their pups, egrets, herons, grebes and all sorts of wildlife. Greco Island is both a hunting area and wildlife preserve (go figure) and although it would be a great area to camp or just stop for lunch it theoretically isn't allowed. You can extend this paddle quite a bit by turning right upon reaching the Bay, and you can lunch at the east anchorage of the Dumbarton Bridge, then head back. But if you dally too long at the bridge expect some wind and wave action on your way home. Been there. Done that. I love this area because it is so near the city but hardly used at all, and very, very little motorboat traffic.


Not much. Restrooms at the dock. No food or camping nearby.


$3 if you use the boat ramp. The dock is free.


101 to Seaport exit in Redwood City. Turn toward the Bay (east), then left on Chesapeake. The dock is on the right. It is free for kayaks if you use the dock but $3 if you use the ramp.


Western Sea Kayakers.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip