Water Trail LogoSan Francisco Bay Area Water Trail
Major funding
provided by
Coastal Conservancy logo
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  • Brochure


    The Water Trail is a regional, nine-county program implemented under the leadership of the Coastal Conservancy in close collaboration with Association of Bay Area Governments, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

    Major funding for the Water Trail is provided by the Coastal Conservancy.



Kayakers, Petaluma River

Download a pdf of the Water Trail brochure!

Explore the Bay Area’s Largest Open Space

Imagine a trail with no beginning or end, a non-linear path that takes you to world-class destinations…

This is the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, a growing network of launching and landing sites, or “trailheads,” around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Each trailhead allows non-motorized small boat users to enjoy the historic, scenic, cultural, and environmental richness of San Francisco Bay. This unique network of sites will allow people to explore San Francisco Bay in different boat types and in a variety of settings through single-and multi-day trips.

Paddler and child on a stand up paddle board

Stand up paddler, by Lyrinda Snyderman

The vision for the Water Trail began with Bay Access, a non-profit working to ensure a future for the Bay with access for non-motorized small boat users. This vision became law in 2005 with the passage of the Water Trail Act by the California Legislature. Multiple agencies and partners are working together to make the Water Trail a reality.

From each Water Trail “trailhead,” discover jaw dropping views, amazing wildlife, and rich history – the possibilities are limitless.

Many of us have walked, jogged, or biked along the Bay, enjoying our shoreline for exercise, relaxation, wildlife watching, or for personal reflection. The Bay also offers a completely different type of experience – out on its waters. This great 450-square-mile estuary provides many opportunities for recreation for those who venture out beyond land. Some Bay experiences are thrilling, and others are quiet and peaceful. We invite you to explore, discover, learn, and enjoy!

A Growing Network

There are more than 100 existing and planned launching and landing sites identified in the Water Trail Plan. Sites join the growing Water Trail network through a designation process. Once sites become designated, information about the site, including maps and a description of site features, is added to our website. We will be designating many more sites, so stay tuned.

Two rowers rowing

Rowers, by Daniel Mannisto

The Water Trail will improve boat launch facilities, develop more opportunities for overnight getaways, promote safe boating practices, reduce impacts to sensitive wildlife and habitat, and foster stewardship and appreciation for the Bay.

Explore our website to find out about launch and landing sites, outfitters you can rent from, clubs you can join, grant opportunities, and recreational programs that offer boating programs. Our website has ideas on what to see and do while on the Bay and information to plan your perfect day or overnight getaway.

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