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Pulgas Water Temple Area Exploration

"I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people,"

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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 2.1 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  The Pulgas Water Temple was built at the terminus of the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct as a monument to the new water system. It’s located... more »

Tips:  Pulgas Water Temple and its parking lot are open to the public on weekdays, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. That said, ... more »

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Points of Interest

In this video, John Fournet of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission explains the origins of the Pulgas Water temple.

In 1934, the first rush of Hetch Hetchy water flowed through the gravity-driven tunnel system, across the California's central valley. It swooshed through the base of the Pulgas Water Temple and into nearby Crystal... More

2. John Fournet, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Our guide for the day, John Fournet, is the Community Liaison for SFPUC Natural Resources and Lands Management Division.

We were definitely envious of our guide's hat. Apparently this design is hard to get these days.

Horseshoe tracks lead the way across Canada Rd. from the Water Temple to the beginning of Sheep Camp trail.

Walk along the trail next ... More

3. Signs at trailhead

The gate to Sheep Camp Trail - the multitude of signs belie the mosaic of many public resources at the city, county, state and private levels that make up our Bay Area's watersheds.

As if the Poison oak was not enough of a warning....

Now that the signs have reminded you that you're on important property, begin your trek up to sweeping views of the ... More

4. Oaks and other usual suspects

Further up the ascent, hikers find themselves among common flora of the Bay Area landscape: coast live oak, coyote brush, flowering annual grasses.

Many of the oaks are hosts to Spanish Moss (Ramalina menziesii), which is actually a lichen, a combination of a fungus and an algae. The lichen doesn't harm the tree, though it can often be found on... More

5. Blueschist vignette

This blueschist is an unusual type of metamorphic rock that forms in high-pressure, low-temperature environments, such as plate subduction zones, where one of the earth's tectonic plates slides under another.

Ringing this blueschist bolder is Dipsacus fullonum, or Common Teasel. This non-native, thistle-like plant has been used for combing out... More

6. At the top, your reward

This view from the top of the hill is no ordinary vista. The body of water is Upper Crystal Springs reservoir, one of several that holds San Francisco's drinking water. The San Andreas fault runs through the valley under Crystal Spring. This means you are standing on the North American tectonic plate (which is moving south) and looking across the ... More