Mount Vision Pond

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Rating: C

A few years ago, authorities told us that Mount Vision Pond, in Point Reyes National Seashore, may become too clogged with debris for swimming as early as this season. The reason: the federal government won't pay to clean out and fix the dam of this half-acre manmade site. Instead, said then-PRNS district ranger Marc Yeston (currently the chief ranger at Colorado's Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and nearby Curecanti National Recreation Area): "It's going back to nature."  

Legal status:

Property of Point Reyes National Seashore.

How to find it:

From San Francisco, take Highway 101 north to the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard exit. Follow Sir Francis Drake through San Anselmo and Lagunitas. At the intersection with Highway 1, go north to the Point Reyes National Seashore office in Olema, pick up a map, and then follow Bear Valley Road to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Take Sir Francis past Inverness and Tomales Bay State Park and follow the signs to North Beach. Turn left on Mount Vision Overlook Road. Stay on Mount Vision for about 1.4 miles. Look for a wide shoulder with several parked cars on the right. Take the trail that starts here. It veers to the right down a hill 300 feet or so to the pond. If you pass some residences on the left, you're on the wrong trail. At the end, enter the water via a grassy spot on the dam face

The beach:

Mount Vision is a 150-foot-long lake surrounded by plant growth. "Half of the lake is now marsh," says Robert Carlsen, of Sacramento.

The crowd:

Sometimes no one, usually fewer than 10 people, both clothed and unclothed.

Problems:

Trail around pond becoming choked by plants; increase in reeds and mud; dam appears to be eroding; trail needs maintenance; cold, fog (but less than at Limantour); no social atmosphere; trail shoes needed.

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