The Inkwell

Pub date July 7, 2010
WriterGary Hanauer

Rating: C

Located next to Samuel P. Taylor State Park, which was recently saved from closure, the Inkwell is The Bay Area’s only creekside skinny-dipping hole, although it gets far more nonnude users than nudists. A local favorite among teens and hikers, bicyclists sometimes use the Lagunitas site as a stop-off point too. A few “dippers” are seen from time to time at the Inkwell, which takes its name from two water-filled, stone “wells” that are used for swimming by local residents.

Legal status:

Private property next to Samuel P. Taylor State Park.  Threatened in 2011 with closure due to lack of funding, the park’s demise was prevented when the National Park Service agreed to take over SPT’s security and operations.

How to find it: 

Take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard west through San Anselmo, Fairfax, and San Geronimo to Lagunitas.  After passing Lagunitas you will soon (1.5 miles later) come to the green Shafer Bridge.  Park on the other (west) side of the bridge as soon as it is safe to do so and where parking is allowed.  Walk back to the bridge.  Take the trail that starts 15 feet east of the bridge.  Access is also available from Taylor from various trails.

The beach: 

The site’s stone tubs really do resemble inkwells.  From the bridge, the first one you come to is a six foot deep pool that measures about 15 by 20 feet.  Some 10 feet away from it and to the left is a smaller pool that’s maybe 20 feet deep.  The water’s pretty cool.

The crowd: 

The Inkwell is often deserted. In the past, when in use, there were usually a few visitors to 25, with 8-12 being typical. One reader counted 14 visitors, split evenly between the sexes on a warm weekday. Percentage of nude use varies, but is usually tiny.  


No parking and no trespassing signs posted; cold water; rocks obscured by water; difficult parking; jumping off rocks into water not advised.