Northern(ish) California hiking options during current fires/smoke
August 10, 2018 4:38 PM   Subscribe

I'd been sick and cooped up in my urban house for a couple of weeks, and need a change of scenery now that I feel better. I desperately want to go overnight camping and day hiking somewhere within 4-5 hours of the SF area. Where can I go that isn't heavily smoke impacted right now?

I'm aware that not having state park campground reservations will be an issue in mid-summer, and I'm assuming that I'll either need to find a private campground or camp in national forest or BLM land or the like. My schedule can be flexible so this is likely a mid-week trip.
posted by twoplussix to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I have family in El Granada and they haven't gotten a whiff of smoke for weeks. If you hew close to the coast, air quality shouldn't be a problem between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. You won't find challenging trails (or reliable sunshine), but it's still pretty great. I don't camp, but Butano or Henry Cowell might work for you. They're both in the woods...campgrounds overlooking the ocean are probably booked.
posted by grandiloquiet at 5:29 PM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


Lawson's Landing was clear earlier today and often have spots available when no one else does. There isn't hiking per se unless you don't mind to drive a bit but lots of beach walking/ dune exploring in the area and kayaking too. if you don't mind driving a bit there are tons of great hikes within 30-60 minutes.
posted by fshgrl at 6:31 PM on August 10, 2018


Lawson' Landing is in Tomales Bay if you're not familiar, sorry. It wasn't even particularly hot there earlier.
posted by fshgrl at 6:31 PM on August 10, 2018


These two options seem much closer than I'd expected, thank you!
posted by twoplussix at 7:17 PM on August 10, 2018


Sonoma Valley was AWFUL the last two days but totally clear today; I drove roundtrip Sonoma-Santa Rosa and the sky was amazingly blue all day. My favorite park in the area is Sugarloaf but I'm not a camper so I won't speak to that. I also don't know if smoke and haze are going to come back, but the local (SF) news seemed to think things were going to clear out in the North Bay for the next week at least.
posted by lazuli at 7:28 PM on August 10, 2018


It seemed pretty clear in Point Reyes today and the forecast for the next five days is fine. I think the Central Coast/Big Sur should be fine. Although of course a new fire could start and things could change.
posted by pinochiette at 8:41 PM on August 10, 2018


Let the San Francisco Chronicle's excellent fire tracker be your guide. It integrates live data from infrared satellites that can see the fires with ground-based air quality stations. Anywhere that's green won't be noticeably smoky, though there may still be haze. Last week pretty much only the area immediately adjacent (say 20 miles) to the coast was green, and it gets worse in the afternoon as the breezes kick up, so keep an eye out.
posted by wnissen at 6:11 AM on August 11, 2018


If you Google "air quality fires" and the region you're thinking of, you can find real-time data on PM 2.5 and ozone, as well as forecasts.
posted by slidell at 10:29 AM on August 11, 2018


I was up on Mount Tamalpais yesterday and it was beautiful. I don't know about available campsites, although I've camped up there in the past and loved it.
posted by chbrooks at 11:16 AM on August 11, 2018


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