Afternoon on the Island

Paddle to an island in the middle of Loch Lomond lake

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, kayak, paddleboat, or pontoon! 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. There are charcoal BBQ pits. Enjoy the island and the tranquil beauty. Surrounded by water, redwoods, and mountains, this is something special.

Picnickers at Clar Innis Island on Loch Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Two kayaks docked at Clar Innis Island Loch Lomond Santa Cruz Mountains

Person heading over to a picnic table on Clar Innis Island on Loch Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Kayak on Loch Lomond lake in the Santa Cruz Mountains

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.

NEW RANGER GUIDED BOAT TOUR! Complimentary boat tours are offered the second weekend of the month on both Saturday and Sunday. From 11:00am to 12pm get an interpretive tour of the lake with one of the park rangers. Tours accommodate up to 25 people. Sign up in the park store; it's first-come, first-served. NOTE: At this time (June 2022) the guided boat tours are on hold to protect a nesting site for birds. Check the website for updates on when they start up again.

For the most up to date information, visit the Loch Lomond website. Loch Lomond is open daily from March 1st through Labor Day and then only on the weekends through mid October. 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 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.  

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