Lafayette Reservoir Recreation

3849 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA


The quite famous recreation area Lafayette Reservoir gets a million visitors a year, which is very remarkable for a fairly small park. It’s easy to see why; the park is wide and beautiful enough to make you feel like you’re going out into nature, but small enough to still feel friendly and available. It helps there are no goats, horses, or motorcycle riders and the roads are generally in great shape. There is a nice mixture of wooded and open areas; mostly the outer loop is exposed, while the inner loop is wooded.

This hike incorporates the two most popular loops in the park, beginning with a clockwise circuit of the difficult 4.7-mile outer loop (the Rim Trail, basically a dirt road), followed by a counter-clockwise walk of the much easier but still very hilly paved 2.7-mile loop within. The middle section of the Rim Trail has quite a bit of up-and-down, but if you’ve had enough you can still shorten the hike by falling down into the inner loop.

It’s surprising how common it is, given how steep sections of the outer loop are. At peak times, you expect to see about one group on the outer loop every 1 or 2 minutes, and about 2 or 3 groups on the inner loop every minute. In the late afternoon, traffic on the outer loop tends to drop off quite a bit, while the inner loop remains busy.

The Rim and Lafayette Loop Trails (7.4 mi, 1500 ft)

Start at the main car park off Mount Diablo Boulevard. Parking here costs $7 all day (or $1.50 / hour if you do? Planning to be here for less than 2 hours), but at least parking is relatively easy to find. You can also park on the Campolindo Drive or Meadow Park Lane at the entrances to the Rim Trail for free; the downside is that the hike must end with a climb.

Facing the lake, go left to get the paved trail going. Take the first dirt road to your left after a few yards, just past a park, and climb through an oak grove to a hill with a good view over the lake.

The Rim Trail slowly works its way uphill along the open grassy ridge providing some spectacular views of Mount Diablo. The gradients for the first 2 miles are pretty smooth, but then the real climb starts at Campolindo Road, where the trail heads straight up an intimidatingly steep, scrub-covered hill. This slope can become so slippery when it rains, that it is almost impossible to climb.

This is the hike ‘s biggest and steepest climb, but there are still plenty of more climbs to come as the trail passes a series of three hills, one right after the other. After the Westview Trail, the trail eventually settles down into a slow descent. Highway 24 has some traffic noise while you can’t see the highway.

Turn onto the paved road at the end of the trail which leads to the parking lot of the Visitor Center, cut through the lot, and pick up the paved Lafayette Loop Trail. For much of its length, the trail is charmingly wooded. Some up-and-down but not nearly as much as the outer circle.

New Key Construction Walnut Creek General Contractor
Image Courtesy of Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash [CC BY (]

This amazing kid-friendly park is located near the following amazing must-visit parks in Lafayette, California:

  • Lafayette Community Park
  • Brook Street Park
  • Dinosaur Hill Park
  • Lafayette Plaza Park
  • Acalanes Park
  • Olympic Blvd Staging Area¬†
  • Bear Creek Staging Area
  • Briones Regional Park

All of these wonderful parks are located just a short distance from our location located at 2890 North Main Street! Stop by for a visit anytime!