Upper Wohler Bridge

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Rating: C

For five years, a clothing-optional riverbank has been slowly taking hold just upstream from Lower Wohler Bridge.  Says a poster on a naturist Internet message board:  "It's worth checking out.  It gets good sun throughout the day, yet is very secluded."

Legal status:

Wohler Bridge Regional Park, consisting of Sonoma County Water Agency land. See Lower Wohler Bridge for anti-nudity enforcement policy.

How to find it:

From San Francisco, take Highway 101 north past Santa Rosa to River Road, then go west for 10 minutes to Wohler Road. Turn right onto Wohler and drive 1.4 miles to the bridge, continue across it, and, from October through mid-May, look for $6 per vehicle parking at 9765 Wohler Road.  The site has a parking lot, chemical toilet, and boat ramp.  Parking's almost impossible to find on Wohler or River the rest of the year, but you can still walk or bicycle to Wohler. On the south side of the bridge, look for a steel fence and go through a green gate with a large Keep Clear sign. Continue past the water facility. An all-weather gravel trail to the nude beach and beyond starts here. The Water Agency does not hassle bikers or hikers on the path. The walk from the gate to the nude beach is easy and takes maybe 15-20 minutes, with the path sloping down through a redwood forest next to the river. Where the trees end, you'll see a fork in the road. At the fork in the road, bear left. Take the path down and up, through some bay trees, until you arrive at a pump station. The trail to the newest Wohler Bridge Beach starts near a clump of bamboo at the northwest end of the pumphouse "mound." Follow it through the willows until it ends at a long, curved gravel beach. The main nude sunning area is to the right, with the best sand located at the downstream end of the beach.

The beach:

Either end of the beach is good for suitless sunbathing, but the preferred mix of gravel and sand is on the downstream side, where a regular visitor has cleared and leveled some nice spots. To find them, follow the trail next to the riverbank. "It's a nice secluded cove surrounded by willows," says a user.

The crowd:

A few visitors have been showing up, now that the word is out about the beach. But the site is often deserted. Gay cruising and a few incidents of public sex have been reported here.

Problems:

Same as Lower Wohler Bridge, plus a longer walk; some public sex reported.

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