Elsewhere on Russian River

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Rating: C

Several sandy areas along the Russian River attract skinny-dippers who like to start their own clothing-optional sunbathing sites. The best way to find such a spot: simply walk along the river's edge or a nearby path or paddle upstream or downstream. Places that are fully or partially shielded from public view work best. If local residents or passing river users complain, then you may be cited, so please use these hangouts with discretion.

Public access areas of private land. For policy, see Lower Wohler Bridge.

How to find it:

From San Francisco, take Highway 101 north to Healdsburg, north of Santa Rosa. Favorite skinny-dipping locales that have not been raided often include the riverbanks off North Fitch Mountain Road and West Side Road, which parallels the Russian River between Guerneville and Healdsburg, and Steelhead Beach, across form the Rusty Nail Bar, in the Mirabel area of Guerneville. Reader Doug wrote us, saying, "As long as people are well behaved, the locals don't mind" topless and nude sunbathing off a hard to find path near 2500 North Fitch Mountain Road. We investigated and were told by operators of a parking lot at 2636 North Fitch Mountain that nudists seldom appear and when they do local residents are quick to call deputies.

The beach:

Sandy stretches of riverbank, except off North Fitch, which is a mix of gravel and sand.

The crowd:

It will probably be just you!

Problems:

Needs better directions; areas open to view by canoeists; possible raids by deputies; limited parking on North Fitch Mountain Road and elsewhere.

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