Petaluma Marsh Cabins

I had the pleasure of visiting the Petaluma Marsh Cabins yesterday with fellow paddler and nature photographer Lyrinda Snyderman.

It was a perfect day for a trip out to the cabins: sunny and surprisingly warm for January with a noon high tide accompanied by calm winds. Before we had paddled a mile, the sun burned off the fog that had socked in the marina as we launched.

A pair of swans flew overhead as we arrived.

A hawk stood on a cabin roof.

Only the MARSH MELLOW cabin appears to be in active use and good repair.

Others are in various stages of disrepair.

Some of the cabins are not much more than piles of used lumber ready for recycling.

Lyrinda wanted to paddle around the area before stopping for lunch.

We spent some time with a herd of curious and friendly cows.

The Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) tracks run along the western edge of the cabin area. The SMART trains go by regularly, running empty on trial runs. They plan to begin service late spring 2017, though the date of opening for passenger service has not yet been set.

Paddling out to the cabins used to be a little tricky. The channels can be narrow and intertwine in confusing ways. If the tide goes out too much, you lose the ability to see beyond the banks to the channel and enter into a labyrinth which can become impassible in the falling tide and disappearing water.

Thanks to iPhones and the Stava app, I was able to see where I was on the map and avoid taking some wrong turns on the way back to the marina where we arrived safe and sound for lunch.

Here is a map of our outing.

A link to Lyrinda’s excellent photos of our trip:


More about the Petaluma Marsh Cabins.