San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail

Updated August 28, 2015

The State Coastal Conservancy is leading the implementation of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail (Water Trail), a regional access project, in close collaboration with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), and the Division of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating). The Water Trail is a growing network of access sites (or “trailheads”) that is helping people who use non-motorized, small boats or other beachable sailcraft, such as kayaks, canoes, dragon boats, stand-up paddle and windsurf boards, to safely enjoy single and multiple-day trips around San Francisco Bay. This regional trail has the potential to enhance Bay Area communities’ connections to the Bay and create new linkages to existing shoreline open space and other regional trails, such as the Bay Trail. Site owners and managers join the Water Trail on a voluntary basis. The Water Trail does not own or manage any sites.

Water Trail Map

Potential and designated or conditionally designated Water Trail sites may be viewed here.

Accessibility and the Water Trail

The Coastal Conservancy has just adopted (Jan. 2015) the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Accessibility Plan, which will guide Water Trail staff, project management team, and advisory committee members as they strive to make the Water Trail program, when viewed in its entirety, accessible to qualified persons with disabilities. The document is ready for two-sided printed. If online reading is preferred, on the Adobe menu bar under View-Page Display, be sure to select Show Cover Page During Two-Up so that the correct formatting is displayed (geo-regional maps should be viewable next to their corresponding tables in Chapter 4).

Site owners may find the 2010 ADA Standards Excerpts for Boating Facilities Booklet (Cal Boating 2013) to be quite helpful. Site owners should also be aware that California accessibility laws are sometimes more stringent than the federal (ADA) laws. We are also pleased to share Issues and Recommendations for Improved Accessibility, a report prepared by Beneficial Designs, Inc.

Water Trail Grant Program

The Water Trail program is now accepting grant applications from eligible public agencies and non-profit organizations for Water Trail site enhancement projects. Using funds authorized by the Conservancy for this purpose, Water Trail staff at ABAG are administering the grants. You will find details within the application package, available for download here or on the new Water Trail Website at

Public Meetings

Meetings at which trailhead designation decisions are made are open to the public and are held at the Coastal Conservancy at 1330 Broadway, 11th Floor Conference Room, Oakland, CA. Agendas are posted at and at in advance of each meeting. Water Trail implementation meetings in 2015 are scheduled for March 6, June 12, September 11, and     December 9.

Related documents:

Water Trail Implementation Meeting Agendas and Summaries

Meeting Agendas:


Water Trail Sub-Committee Meetings

Meeting Agendas:


Planning and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

The final draft San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan (Water Trail Plan) for the Water Trail (WT) was completed by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) in 2007 in cooperation with the Conservancy and other public agencies and organizations. The Conservancy released a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the WT Plan for public review in the summer of 2008. That 2008 DEIR was revised for clarity and to add a newly required section on the evaluation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions potentially associated with implementation of the project. The resulting 2010 Draft Revised Environmental Impact Report (DREIR) was circulated for public review August 3, 2010 – September 21, 2010. The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) was certified by the Coastal Conservancy on March 17, 2011 at its scheduled public hearing.

For more information about the Water Trail project, contact Dick Wayman, Project Manager, at (510) 286-4182 or, or visit BCDC’s website, where background information on the planning phase, including meeting summaries and planning documents may be found.

Links to the Water Trail Plan and Water Trail EIR

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Enhanced Water Trail Plan (2011) (Enhanced Water Trail Plan) was adopted by the Coastal Conservancy on March 17, 2011. It includes changes made to the draft Water Trail Plan (2007) developed by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). Download the Enhanced Water Trail Plan, including all figures, or download the text and maps separately if the file size of the integrated document is too large.

The maps (Figures 8.1.a. – 8.1.g) may be downloaded, below:

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail Plan Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) was certified by the Conservancy board on March 17, 2011. The FEIR is a two-volume document. The DREIR, with links found below, is now Volume II. Download FEIR Water Trail Volume I, which includes an introduction, the responses to comments on the DREIR, the comments themselves, and the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, to have the complete FEIR.