Black Sand Beach


Rating: C

Naturists occasionally visit this clothing-optional site, even though its trail is officially shut. In fact, readers say the days of having to scramble down the last 50 feet of the path are over. "There's a 60-foot-long staircase," says East Bay resident Trevor Murphy. "It's so easy that you could take your grandmother." At least one reader, though, thought it was harder going down the hill than the trail at Red Rock.

Legal status:

Part of GGNRA. Trail officially closed. Please see Kirby Cove listing (above) for policy details.

How to find it:

Follow the directions for Kirby, but instead of stopping at the parking lot that's 0.4 mile up the road, look for one 3.56 miles from the start of Conzelman. After Kirby, continue up Conzelman to the top, where the road becomes one-way and goes downhill. Go slow here. As the road begins to flatten out, just past a guardrail on the left, check for a parking lot with a toilet. The beach trail starts here; it sometimes has poison oak on the sides. On a warm winter day, Murphy once found the trail "was very muddy." Don't stray from the path; two hikers were injured and had to be rescued when they did so in 1998. To exit from the parking lot, go west on Conzelman half a mile, turn right on Field Road and again on Bunker Road. Follow it through the Barry-Baker tunnel under Highway 101; turn right on Alexander Avenue to 101.

The beach:

A cove that's around a half-mile long and 12 to 15 feet wide. On windy days, some visitors "insert themselves in (rocky) wind-protected alcoves," reports Murphy.

The crowd:

Black Sand's getting a mixture of users, both nude and suited, with gay male singles usually outnumbering hetero couples. Murphy stopped by once with his wife and another time by himself. "People weren't very sociable," he says. And Rich Pasco, leader of the Bay Area Naturists, says he was once part of "the only heterosexual pair" on the east end of the beach, facing the Golden Gate Bridge. "Everyone was naked." Close to the trail's end, he found a few swimsuit-wearing families.


Trail officially closed; some poison oak; reports of sex on the beach in previous years; at all of the Sausalito coves, you may encounter trash, gawkers, and water that is sometimes too cold and swift for swimming.

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