What is it about tiny islands in the middle of lakes? There’s something that just draws you in for further explorations. It’s even more fun when getting there is half the adventure because you have to reach it by canoe or kayak or paddleboat. Embark, and find one of the most peaceful picnic sites in the Bay Area: Little Clar Innis Island in the middle of Loch Lomond.
Tucked in the Santa Cruz Mountains and owned by the City of Santa Cruz Water Department, Loch Lomond doubles as a reservoir for drinking water. So, you can’t swim here. But you can explore the lake and head to the island. Rent a paddleboat, rowboat, kayak, or canoe from the small park store by the lake and glide across the quiet water to Clar Innis. Dock, and unpack your food at one of the handful of picnic tables. Bonus: Barbecuing is allowed! Enjoy the island and the tranquil beauty. Surrounded by water, redwoods, and mountains, this is something special. Now is a good time to visit, before the summer crowds arrive. You may even have the island all to yourself.
BOAT RENTALS: Rowboats, kayaks, and paddleboats are rented on a first-come, first-served basis. Boats (excluding canoes) may be reserved for the maximum daily rate by calling (831) 335-7424 at least 24 hours prior. To rent a canoe, it’s first come, first served upon arrival. No refunds.
Loch Lomond is open daily from March 1st through Labor Day and then only on the weekends through mid October (in 2018 it will close for the season on October 14. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6pm currently; all boats must be off the water one hour before closing). Admission is $8 per car. The best parking — closest to the lake and Park Store — is limited so get there early to snag a good spot. Dogs are allowed but, no matter how much they yearn to take a plunge, must remain on dry land. For more information including boat reservations, call 831-335-7424.From Hwy. 9 in Felton, take Graham Hill Rd southeast. In half a mile, turn left on E. Zayante Rd. and take a slight left onto Lompico Rd. Turn left on West Dr. and take all the necessary turns to stay on West Dr. Take a slight right onto Sequoia Ave. and then left to stay on Sequoia and continue on Loch Lomond Way. Pay a vehicle entrance fee ($6) at the entrance’s kiosk (cash only) or at the park store (cash or card). No dogs in boats. Alcohol OK with permit for 21+ (ID required); permit is $5 for 1 to 5 adults or $50 for 5+ adults.