Two Trails Reopened At Los Vaqueros; five remain closed to protect golden eagle nests

April 6, 2017 -  Two trails at the Los Vaqueros Watershed have been reopened after the golden eagle nest that was being protected failed. 

The Miwok and Adobe trails in the northwest portion of the watershed have been reopened as of today. Hikers can once again access the watershed from Round Valley or Morgan Territory preserves.   

There remain five temporarily closed trails within the watershed.

Three pairs of golden eagles are exhibiting nesting behavior, leading to the trail closures, and biologists believe there are eggs in at least two of the nests. 

As the nesting season progresses, additional trails may be closed and some reopened depending on where the raptors nest and how the successful the nests are. Check back before you plan a hike in the watershed.   

Normally, golden eagle trail closures last into late May or June when the young golden eagles are fledged. 

The following trails remain closed:
  • Mariposa Canyon Trail
  • Crest Trail
  • Los Vaqueros Trail from Black Hills Trail to Canada Trail
  • Homestead Trail
  • Eagle Ridge Trail from Walnut Trail to Vista Grande Trail
Last year, four golden eagles fledged from three nests in the watershed. 

Golden eagles are commonly found 12-months a year within the nearly 20,000-acre watershed.

During the spring and early summer months, CCWD is required to close trails and other public areas near active nesting sites. 

Golden Eagle Nest Closing Facts

  • Nesting golden eagles are extremely sensitive to the presence of people. They will leave their nest if they see people nearby. (Their eyesight is much better than human eyesight!)
  • People must stay at least one-half mile from the eagles to ensure the best chances of a successful nest. CCWD closes trails near active nests.
  • Eagles who are disturbed are likely to leave the nest. This could cause eggs or chicks to die.
  • Nesting usually occurs from mid February to late June.
  • The coastal range in the greater Bay Area has the largest golden eagle population in the world. Some golden eagles live at Los Vaqueros year-round, while others just pass through the area.
Year Golden Eagles Fledged at Los Vaqueros
 2016  4
 2015  0
2014 3
2013 5
2012 8
2011 4
2010 5
2009 3
2008 4
2007 5

Facts About Golden Eagles

  • The golden eagle is one of the largest, fastest, nimblest raptors in North America. 
  • They typically prey on mammals ranging in size from ground squirrels up to prairie-dogs, marmots, and jackrabbits.
  • Golden eagles can have a wingspan of up to seven feet and weigh more than seven pounds.  

Click on the Map to See the Map in Detail

2017 Golden Eagle Trail Closures A
Golden eagle at Los Vaqueros.  Photo by Jean Douglas