Lake Chabot is a popular place to go for a boat ride, have a picnic, or, of course, go for a walk around the lake. There's a busy little marina that rents kayaks and motorized fishing boats, a cafe that offers pretty good burgers and sandwiches to enjoy on a patio overlooking the lake, and some picnic areas surrounded by a small lawn.
Lake Chabot adjoins, and was once part of, Anthony Chabot Regional Park. Like Lake Chabot, Anthony Chabot still has much of the extensive development characteristic of older parks. The park has a large wooded family campground, seven group campgrounds for groups of up to 300 people, an 18-hole golf course, and horse stables. There used to be a shooting range, an archery range, and an off-road motorcycle area (where the Soaring Hawk Trail is now), but those have been closed, making the park a considerably more peaceful place. The development is concentrated at the southern end of the park, leaving the rest of the park surprisingly remote and woodsy.
Chabot's most distinctive natural features are the open meadows of Grass Valley (the park was originally known as "Grass Valley Regional Park"), and one of California's largest eucalyptus groves, which was originally planted for lumber. The park also has a few second-growth redwoods, the paltry remains of a naturally occurring stand that was logged in the 1800s.
* * * Lake Chabot (9.7 miles, 780 ft)
Half of this popular hike around Castro Valley's scenic Lake Chabot hike is on busy and mostly paved lakeshore trails, but the rest runs through quiet woods with much more of a backcountry feel. The contrast between the two halves of the loop makes for an enjoyable and memorable hike.
* * Lake Chabot Bicycle Loop (11.1 miles, 1300 ft)
* Bort Meadow and Big Trees (8.3 miles, 1180 ft)
© 2018 David Baselt