Bay Area Hiking

Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District Preserves

The Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) administers 23 preserves totalling nearly 41,000 acres of land, along the middle of the San Francisco Peninsula, from the Bay to the Santa Cruz Mountains. The district's purpose is to purchase, preserve, and protect open greenbelt areas. Lands under its jurisdiction encompass 3 counties, northwestern Santa Clara County, southwestern San Mateo County, and a small part of Santa Cruz County. Over 200 miles of trails are found in the district's preserves, which are open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Unlike the state parks and some county parks, access to all the preserves is free. However, amenities are minimal. Gravel parking lots, if they exist at all, are small. Only a few have restrooms. There is only one campground--the trail camp at Monte Bello. Forget about gift shops, snack bars, playing fields, playgrounds, BBQ pits, fishing, or boating. You may find a few picnic tables and benches (usually dedicated as a memorial to someone) scattered here and there. There is a nature center at Alpine Lake and a farm for kids (run by Mountain View) at Rancho San Antonio. But the district's primary purpose is to preserve the lands, not to entertain people. However, these are wild, gorgeous, precious lands. It's a tremendous honor and a privilege to be able to have access to them. Some public agencies, such as the San Francisco Water District, jealously guard their lands and won't let anyone touch them. The MROSD's policies allow the public to enjoy the open spaces, but still preserve their wild, unspoiled character. Here are descriptions of some of the preserves: Click here to return to my Bay Area Hiking Page

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Ron Horii, San Jose
Created 10/8/97. Last update: 8/1/98