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Creeking usually involves descending very steep low-volume whitewater. But there is an alternative flat-water version that will appeal if you are not hooked on adrenalin and not looking to hurl yourself down some steep ravine.
Many watersheds have quiet backwaters that are worthy of exploring and can provide an entirely different kind of thrill. The pleasure of really getting to know your own backyard; of finding wildlife in unexpected places and of removing yourself from the urban hustle and bustle.
In the Bay Area of California there are many such creeks that feed into San Francisco Bay and one of my favorites is Las Gallinas Creek in Marin County. This tidal slough system is fed by intermittent streams originating from above Santa Margarita Valley and the Terra Linda housing development and drains into San Pablo Bay. It is bordered by China Camp State Park to the south and Marin County Open Space wetlands to the north and ridge lands to the west. And despite the fact that you are just a couple of miles or so from the six lane Highway 101 and the busy Northgate Shopping Mall, floating on the creek you are in an entirely different world.
Home to California Clapper Rail and Black Rail, many species of shorebirds, wildfowl and raptors, saltmarsh harvest mouse and river otters, this special place is worthy of exploration and there is no better way to do that than by kayak or SUP. Even at low tide it is possible to launch from a purpose built public dock in McInnis Park ( and another mid to high tide option is at Buck’s Launching ( ).
Aside from the natural appeal of the creek there is the human element and there are quite a few interesting houses with docks, some loved and cared for and some sad and neglected and if you yearn for a waterside home, then this could be the place for you!
A great resource to find new places to paddle is the Bay Area Sea Kayaker’s Trip Planner (, an online resource provided free by the Bay Area’s largest kayaking club which is also a great way to find new paddling partners.
And the perfect paddle craft for flat water creeking? It depends on your taste and how far you want to paddle but Jackson Kayak give you several great options including the Rogue, Journey, Ibis, Cruise and the SUPernatural.

Go and find a little piece of paradise in your own back yard….