Tom Stienstra's Bay Area Recreation Guide
Foghorn Outdoors, 1st edition
HIKING - BIKING - CAMPING - BACKPACKING - FISHING - SWIMMING - WILDLIFE
WATCHING - CABIN RENTALS - DOG FRIENDLY PARKS - 150 MILES OF COAST - 45
LAKES - 150 GETAWAYS
No matter where you are now standing in the Bay Area, this book provides a
recreation getaway located within minutes -- as well as hundreds of
little-known spots across the region.
The Bay Area's No. 1 outdoorsman, Tom Stienstra, doesn't just describe a
destination, he takes you there. He is the outdoors columnist for the San
Francisco Chronicle and chairman of the Circle of Chiefs as a member of the
California Outdoors Hall of Fame.
- Highlights more than 500 adventures at 150 major locations, including
lesser-known destinations to help you beat the crowds.
- Features Tom Stienstra's "Top 10" -- detailing the best hikes,
waterfalls, mountain bike rides, fishing spots, campgrounds, dog walks,
wildlife spots, and lookouts.
- Provides detailed park descriptions infused with Tom's personal
anecdotes - with every line fact-checked and verified by rangers.
- Contains detailed color maps and intuitive book layout.
No matter where you live, the purpose of this book is to provide you with a
getaway located within minutes of where you are now standing - as well as a
guide to the hundreds of little-known spots across the region.
No matter what your age or orientation to outdoor recreation, this book will
provide you with the hundreds of nearby launch points in the Bay Area for
hiking, biking, camping, boating, fishing, swimming, wildlife watching and
It is the only complete guide to the Bay Area outdoors ever published, with
500 adventures at 150 major getaways. It includes 200 hikes, 75 bike rides,
40 campgrounds, 45 lakes, 60 fishing spots, 15 swimming spots, 100 places
you can bring a dog, and dozens of places to see wildlife.
Each entry is organized according to the quality of recreation opportunity.
This book almost didn't get written. Like so many people, at one time I
believed there was no place left to go in the Bay Area. You may have said
the same things yourself: "Too many people. All the good spots are gone. Too
hard to get there." That's the widespread perception.
Here's the reality: The Bay Area has roughly 150 significant parks with
about 7,500 miles of trails, 20 waterfalls, a dozen mountain peaks with
stellar lookouts, 10 redwood forests, 45 lakes with public access and 15
providing good fishing, 20 fishing piers, 100 miles of ocean frontage with
dozens of secluded beaches, the Bay and its open waters and half-dozen
islands, 40 campgrounds, including 20 secluded hike-in sites, 1,000 miles of
navigable waterways, and the best salmon fishing, mountain biking and
boating tours in North America. In addition, the weather that many take for
granted provides for year-round recreation opportunities.
No metropolitan area in the world can offer anything close to this. So what
gives? If the Bay Area offers so much, why do residents honor it so little?
I think I get it. Like many, there was a time I felt there was no place left
to find, and I was considering quitting my job and leaving the Bay Area to
become a guide and bush plane pilot in Alaska. Then something strange and
In the course of getting certified as a pilot, I took a ride in a Piper
Super Cub on a whale-watching trip off the coast of Half Moon Bay. While we
saw three humpback whales, what stunned me was the view from the air, and
the completely different outlook it provided for such a familiar landscape.
Over the months as I learned to fly, I kept looking down at different
regions of the Bay Area and seeing places I had never dreamed even existed.
I could hardly wait to explore them.
Many people lose sight of the scope of the Bay Area outdoors because of the
tunnel vision that occurs when heavy traffic becomes a daily routine. Yet
there is roughly 90 percent open space and water, veritable wilderness, and
dozens of secret lakes, hidden trails, beaches and mountain tops. Despite
strips and pockets where people are jammed and roads are crowded, most of
the region is wild, unsettled and beautiful -- and waiting to be discovered.
Every time I hear someone say, "Some day when I can afford it, I'm going to
move some place where it's good, like Montana," I'd like to show them the
view from a plane, and so they can see what the Bay Area looks like above
the traffic. They would find out as I have: It has the potential to be the
best place on earth.
A tremendous plus is the relatively mild weather year-round that keeps parks
accessible throughout the year, with just enough rain each winter to keep
the foothills fresh and full of life.
But how do you make it work? This is how: Use this book. Find the hundreds
of little-known places that have appeal to you, then go out and enjoy your
favorite activities. Whether you hike, bike, fish, boat, canoe or kayak,
camp or see wildlife, all the spots are in this book. I know because I've
made it my life to find them.
Another suggestion to try to steal away days during the week, particularly
weekday mornings, when you have the opportunity to have even many famous
spots all to yourself.
Suddenly, you will find, as I did, that there is no reason to move to
Alaska. No reason to move to Montana. It is all right here.
Enjoy your outdoors.