Right now, with all the rain and cold weather, it might be hard to envision the magical appeal that the Inkwells swimming holes have in the warm months. With Kent Lake filled to capacity, sending tons of icy water down Lagunitas Creek, the wells are brimming full and the rapids between them frothing and splashing. Take advantage of this season when you can have them all to yourselves because as soon as it warms up, crowds descend!
I first came upon them by accident, when Noah and I had set out on an accidentally way-too-ambitious (for me) hike that took us about twice as far along the Bolinas Ridge Trail as we had anticipated. We ended up following Shafter Grade down which dumps us out at the Inkwells, which lie just off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard west of Lagunitas. It was a warm Fall Saturday, and there were dozens of people splashing in the pools, jumping off the rocks into the water and hanging out in the sun. What I really wanted to do was to collapse right there, strip off my boots and enjoy the water, but we were still about a two-hour walk from where we had parked the car so, no luck. We did, at least, get a great view of the pools from up above on Inkwells Bridge.
In winter, go any time (watch out for poison oak if you’re climbing down to the pools) and you can usually get a parking spot in the small lot across Sir Francis Drake Blvd. In summer, go early on the weekends, because parking and good spots around the pools go quickly. Bring food, drinks and beach towels and spend a real kicked-back day. Or, do the opposite and start with a strenuous hike or bike ride in the area and end at the Inkwells for a really nice and refreshing reward.