Technology Hiker

Packrafting Pescadero Creek

Packrafting Pescadero Creek is an ideal spot for my first packrafting adventure.  First, Pescadero State Beach protects a unique ecosystem. The state beach & adjacent & Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve protect the mouth of Pescadero Creek, the largest marsh between San Francisco & Santa Cruz, and a long remote beach. The marsh hosts many migrating birds, a resident population of harbor seals, and the largest steelhead population in the Peninsula.  Second, I’ve maintained many of State Parks hiking trails with the Trail Center Volunteer and Sequoia Audubon Society, so I’m familiar with the area. The area was a good introduction to packrafting on a spring afternoon.

A packraft is a small, technical inflatable boat. My recently purchased Alpacka packraft is a lightweight, durable, easily inflatable boat originally designed for the Alaskan backcountry. My initial use cases were a little more modest. I wanted an easily transportable, flexible & stable craft that I could use with my two young boys. I also wanted to explore the sloughs and rivers of the Bay Area & the Sierra.

Packrafting Pescadero Creek was my first packrafting adventure without my boys. I parked in the Pescadero lot just south of the Pescadero Creek bridge. The lot overlooks the Pescadero rock arch, lagoon, and the San Mateo County coast. I loaded my packraft and collapsible paddle into my lightweight pack and started hiking.

I hiked the beach toward the mouth of Pescadero Creek. The creek was still high with the runoff I turned east along the beach toward the Sequoia Audubon Trail.

Many of the trails follow levees. I hiked east toward the Santa Cruz Mountains.

About after hiking a little over a mile, I took a small connecting trail to Pescadero Creek. I had to climb a fallen tree to drop in.  I padded downstream toward the Pacific Ocean.

Pescadero Creek meets Butano Creek near the ocean.  The confluence creates a large open water area bordered by wide sandy beaches.  The bridge over CA 1 appears in the distance.

As I neared the ocean, I had to paddle quickly to the sand bank. I did not want to crash into the surf.  My hike and paddle was ~2.6 miles. Pescadero Creek was an excellent introduction to packrafting. I can’t wait to explore Pescadero Creek at sunrise, Waddell Creek in Big Basin State Park, and other Bay Area estuaries with the packraft.