Visiting Watershed Lands
Visiting Watershed Lands
"The Mt. Tamalpais Watershed … is held in trust as a natural wildland of great biological diversity, as scenic open space and as an area for passive outdoor recreation for Marin and much of the Bay Area. Passive outdoor recreation is defined as those activities that are based on nature and that require little or no development or facilities.” (Marin Municipal Water District's Mt. Tamalpais Watershed Management Policy).
The watershed is open to the public for recreational use from 7 a.m. to sunset and may be closed during extreme fire-hazard conditions. Sky Oaks Watershed Headquarters is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (For the most current information regarding land use restrictions during fire season please call the Marin County Fire Department’s Public Information Line at 415-499-7191 or MMWD's Sky Oaks Watershed Headquarters at 415-945-1195.)
Hikers may choose from 130 miles of trails and unpaved roads, many of which connect with adjacent national and state parks and county open space district lands. To minimize human disturbance to sensitive habitat and to protect listed and endangered species that inhabit district land please stay on authorized routes (link to maps).
To protect our natural resources and to ensure a pleasant watershed experience for our visitors we ask that for all canine companions, “love ‘em and leash ‘em”. Dogs are permitted on district lands only when restrained by a leash and under the control of the owner. Aggressive canines have been known to intimidate wildlife, endanger newborn deer, disturb aquatic habitat and disrupt the tranquility of other watershed visitors. Most of the MMWD Mt. Tamalpais Watershed is within the boundary of the Mt. Tamalpais State Game Refuge and is governed by California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G) and MMWD rules and regulations. The main purpose of the refuge system is to ensure survival of wildlife by providing suitable cover, food and protection for fish and wildlife from humans.
Bicyclists can travel some 73 miles of unpaved roads but are prohibited from riding or possessing a bike on the narrow hiking and equestrian trails. Because of the potential for visitor conflict and related safety concerns the district has established a maximum speed limit of 15 MPH for bicycles. In addition, district regulations stipulate that bicyclists are to slow to 5 MPH when passing others or when in blind turns.
Horses are allowed on unpaved roads and some designated trails. Horses may not enter streams and reservoirs, travel cross-country or graze on watershed lands.
Fishing is allowed at all seven of the district reservoirs and is regulated by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). Fishing licenses are required for anyone 16 years of age and older. For a recorded message with the most current fishing information, please call (415) 945-1194. Click here for more information about fishing on watershed lands.
Picnic areas have been developed at Lagunitas Lake. The public can reserve the group-site ($125) and shelter ($75) at Lake Lagunitas by calling (415) 945-1180. Barbecues are provided at this site and open flames are restricted to the facilities provided by the district. You can also enjoy remote and undeveloped picnic sites. To locate them, check the watershed map.
Click here to download a PDF document of MMWD's Land Use and Regulations.
Mountain Lion Sightings
MMWD Watershed Management staff occasionally receive reports of mountain lion sightings on Mt. Tamalpais Watershed lands. These sightings are not cause for alarm but the district recommends that visitors to public lands follow the mountain lion precautions provided by the California Department of Fish and Game.
On Oct. 14, 2004 the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and the State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment issued an interim health advisory regarding certain fish caught in MMWD reservoirs. Click here for a summary of MMWD's health advisory.
Watershed Closures May Occasionally Impact Recreation Opportunities
During extreme fire weather conditions, i.e., Red Flag Warnings, and other emergencies, vehicle access is prohibited into Bon Tempe and Lagunitas Lakes (at Sky Oaks watershed headquarters) and to Natalie Coffin Greene Park (Phoenix Lake). To get the most current information regarding land use restrictions during fire season please call the Marin County Fire Department’s Public Information Line at (415) 499-7191 where you can listen to a recording of the latest conditions, or Sky Oaks watershed headquarters at (415) 945-1195.