North Bay Camping
Marin has camping available at Mount Tamalpais State Park (near the Mount Tamalpais bouldering areas), Samuel P. Taylor State Park (15 minutes west of US-101 on Sir Francis Drake Blvd.) and Point Reyes National Seashore. For reservations at Mount Tamalpais or Samuel P. Taylor contact Reserve America or for information about camping at Point Reyes call (415) 663-8054.
Napa Lake Berryessa
Lake Berryessa has seven private resorts that have camping. Most of the resorts are on the west and south shores off CA-128 or Knoxville Rd. only a few miles from the Vacaville and Putah Creek bouldering areas. Napa has a good campground: Skyline Wilderness Park on 2201 Imola Ave., which is about 15 miles west of Lake Berryessa and the Putah Creek bouldering area. Call (707) 252-0481.
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park off CA-12 just west of Kenwood and east of US-101 in Santa Rosa has good boulders within walking distance of the campground. Take Adobe Canyon Rd. from CA-12 for a few miles to the park entrance and campground. Call (800) 444-PARK
North Bay Dining and Amenities
High Tech Burrito at 484 Las Gallinas or 2042 4th St.,
San Rafael. Just off US-101 in Corte Madera (south of San Rafael)
is an REI with almost everything you’ll need for climbing
or camping. Take the same Paradise Dr./Tamalpais Dr. exit as for
the Ring Mountain bouldering area, but go to the shopping center
on the west side of US-101 off Tamalpais Dr. A couple miles west
of 101 on Tamalpais Dr. is downtown Larkspur and the historic Lark
Creek Inn at 234 Magnolia Ave. Partake in the happy hour (M-F half
off beer and cocktails) and enjoy delicious, seasonal, farm fresh
cuisine. The Oceanside town of Stinson Beach (near Stinson and
Mickey’s Beach bouldering areas) has a good market: Beckers
by the Beach has good food, drink, and supplies. Our favorite Stinson
Napa Lake Berryessa
An assortment of gas stations, stores and restaurants can be found off CA-12 and CA-29 in downtown Napa or Sonoma. In Napa try the muy bueno High Tech Burrito 641 Trancas St. (off CA-29). In Sonoma enjoy a Bay Area original, the delicious Mary’s Pizza Shack in the Sonoma Plaza and on Sonoma Hwy. (CA-12).
Santa Rosa is one hour north of San Francisco on US-101 and has all the amenities you might need: gas, climbing/camping gear (Sonoma Outfitters, REI and Vertex) and indoor climbing at Vertex. A wide variety of dining is available in Santa Rosa. Try the Russian River Brewing Company on Fourth St. in downtown or the tasty Taqueria Santa Rosa or China Room in Rincon Valley. Or just east of Santa Rosa in quiet little Kenwood try the Mexican/Spanish cuisine at the Vineyards Inn on the corner of Sonoma Hwy (CA-12) and Adobe Canyon Rd. (the road to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park bouldering area and campground).
East Bay Camping
Southeast of Oakland and Berkeley camping is available at Lake Chabot in Anthony Chabot Regional Park. From I-580 east in Castro Valley take the Redwood Rd. exit and turn left onto Redwood Rd. or from I-580 west take the Castro Valley exit and turn left onto Castro Valley Blvd., then right onto Redwood Rd and follow it to the park. Call in advance (510) 562-2267.
Camping is available in the hills between Oakland and San Jose at Sunol Regional Wilderness near Pleasanton. Take I-580 east to I-680 south to Calaveras Rd/CA-84, turn left onto Calaveras, then take Geary Rd. to the park. Enjoy a short hike and some fine basalt cragging at Indian Joe Caves on Indian Joe Creek Trail inside the park.
Call in advance (510) 562-2267
Lake Berryessa has seven private resorts that have camping. Most of the resorts are on the west and south shores off CA-128 or Knoxville Rd. only a few miles from the Putah Creek and Vacaville bouldering areas
East Bay Dining and Amenities
Try the eclectic mix of food vendors at the Emeryville Public Market (5959 Shellmound St.). It’s off I-80/I-580/I-880 in Emeryville south of Berkeley and north of Oakland. Take the Powell St. exit east to Shellmound St.
Gas, food, climbing/camping gear (REI and Marmot), and the largest indoor climbing gym in the Bay Area: Berkeley Ironworks. Enjoy an eccentric assortment of food and shops on the busy Telegraph Ave. in downtown Bezerkly (take Ashby Ave. a few miles east of I-80).
Gas, food and shopping malls right off I-80 only a few miles from the Vacaville Open Space bouldering areas.
South Bay Camping
There is not much camping in San Francisco so your best bet is to
look for a San
Francisco hotel deal
Big Basin Redwoods State Park (the first State Park in California) – 25
miles north of Santa Cruz and about 65 miles south of San Francisco
on CA-236 near the town of Boulder Creek and just a short drive
from the Castle Rock, Aquarian Valley and Skyline bouldering areas.
Call (800) 444-PARK
San Jose/Castle Rock
Camping is available at Castle Rock State Park about a three mile hike from the parking lot. The primitive sites are about $10 per night and are first come, first serve. Near the city of Saratoga on Big Basin Way is a nice campground called Saratoga Springs with RV and tent camping.
South of Monterey, Carmel, the Granite Creek bouldering area and the Bay Area, the bold and beautiful Big Sur has an abundance of camping available in State Parks, National Forest, and private resorts.
Try Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Call (837) 667-2315
South Bay Dining and Amenities
San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the largest outside of Asia and offers fine food all day and all night. Mission Cliffs has indoor climbing and gear in a good atmosphere. For gear go to The North Face at 180 Post St. Get gas and food on either CA-1 or US-101.
San Jose/Santa Cruz
For great beer and food at reasonable prices enjoy Gordon Biersch Brewing Company on 33 E. San Fernando St. (downtown San Jose). A gas station/mini mart/deli and popular motorcycle hangout is at the intersection of CA-35 (Skyline Blvd.) and CA-84 in Sky Londa a few miles north of the Aquarian Valley and Skyline bouldering areas and across the street from the infamous Alice’s Restaurant (where you can get what you want). Pacific Edge is a great indoor climbing gym and gear retailer in Santa Cruz (104 Bronson St.). If you feel like having more fun in the sun then don’t miss the oldest amusement park in California: the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Gas, food, supplies, climbing gear and indoor climbing (Sanctuary
Rock Gym in Sand City) are all located just a few miles apart near
CA-1. Don’t miss the restaurants on the famous Canery Row.
Related rock climbing guidebooks
Bay Area Rock by Jim Thornburg is a great guide by the longtime
local photographer, climber, writer, first ascentionist and all
around good guy.
Rock Climbing the San Francisco Bay Area by Tresa Black
is the most thorough guide for the Bay Area with information on
all types of climbing at all the best areas. Top rope, sport, traditional
and bouldering are all covered.
Rock Climbing Guide to the Castle Rock Area by Bruce Morris
is the first edition of the complete guide to top rope, sport and
traditional climbing and bouldering in and around Castle Rock State
Wine Country Rocks by Chris Summit covers top rope, sport
and traditional climbing as well as almost all of the legit bouldering
found in and near the North Bay's "Wine Country".