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Come See the Most Beautiful Lakes in Livermore, CA

The Livermore Valley is one of California\’s most beautiful regions. The lakes in Livermore, CA, and the natural environments surrounding them, offer a stunning snapshot of what outdoor life and natural habitats exist in the region. Here are three of our favorite lakes in Livermore, CA for you to visit…

Del Valle

Del Valle is like a lakeside resort, deep in a valley surrounded oak-covered hills, but this lake in just 10 miles south of Livermore. The lake is the park\’s centerpiece and features a variety of water-oriented recreation, like windsurfing and boating, surrounded by 4,395 acres of beautiful land for hiking, horseback riding, and nature study. (Currently Del Valle is not available for swimming because of an algae bloom.)

Hikers take note: Del Valle also is the eastern gateway to the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, 28 miles of scenic back-country trail.

Of all the lakes in Livermore, CA, The Rocky Ridge Visitor Center at Del Valle provides extra incentive to go. The center is open 10:30am through 5:00pm Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Located on the lake\’s west side, the visitor center features exhibits and information about the natural history of Del Valle and surrounding wilderness.

Naturalists and students are readily available to talk about the park and the lake, and to take guide the exciting programs slated for each summer. A favorite are the Campfire programs at the campground amphitheater begin Memorial Day weekend. On Sundays, park visitors can enjoy a scenic boat tour of the lake with naturalist staff. (You can buy tickets at the marina store on the lake\’s east side at the boat launch area.)

For budding naturalists, you can even download a Wildflower Photo Guide on the Del Valle website.

Los Vaqueros

One of the lakes in Livermore, CA is not merely a lake; it\’s a watershed. Los Vaqueros is a nearly 20,000 acre protected watershed that offers outstanding fishing, challenging hikes and an opportunity to learn about the history of the area.

The John Muir Interpretive Center is at the north end of the watershed. From here, you can hike to the top of the dam, exploring the challenging trails that promise stunning views. Another special feature that sets Los Vaqueros apart from other lakes in Livermore, CA, is the Podcast Trail Tour, a guided hike that you can download, which starts from the Interpretive Center. Save Mount Diablo produced a second tour for smart phones that starts at the Marina.

The south end of the watershed near Livermore is open with trails, boat rentals and shoreline fishing. The Marina has moved, and has complete fishing supplies and and electric boat rentals. No private boats are allowed on the reservoir.

View the extensive trail system on the website\’s trail guide.

Special Activities at John Muir Interpretive Center are worth planning your visit around. Here\’s a list of upcoming ones:
9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, February 20
Los Vaqueros Marina
$5 fee per person

This popular program is led by Naturalist John Mottashed. It\’s a two-hour pontoon boat ride on the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, where you\’ll watch and identify various birds. Expect chilly weather and dress accordingly. Space is very limited and reservations are required. Please call 925-371-2628

8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, February 27
John Muir Interpretive Center

Examine the earth under our feet as we peruse nature’s “newspaper” with Naturalist Cat Taylor and learn to observe and read the clues left behind. Best for ages 10 and above. Very slow-paced investigative amble with plenty of “dirt time!”


9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 19
Los Vaqueros Marina

Fishing on the lakes in Livermore, CA
Fishing on the lakes in Livermore, CA

Program is limited to 10 participants. Everything you wanted to know about lake fishing, from tying knots to casting. Led by Naturalist John Mottashed, this program is best for kids aged 5 to 10 years. A limited number of loaner rods are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Call 925-688-8010 to register.

April 1 through April 30
Los Vaqueros Marina

Experience some of the best lake fishing in the Bay Area and win great prizes! This derby will run the entire month of April with prizes going to the three largest trout. Registration is required and participants may weigh up to the daily legal limit of five fish per day at the Marina. Call 925-371-2628 for details.

10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 16
John Muir Interpretive Center

Take a springtime nature hike with Naturalist Michael Marchiano along Kellogg Creek and meet the fascinating flora and fauna. Visit the home of threatened red-legged frogs, fence lizards, coyotes and golden eagles. Plants and animals are all out in full spring time regalia.

Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area

If you\’re a fan of swimming and fishing, Shadow Cliffs has one of the best lakes in Livermore, CA. And it\’s only a mile from downtown Pleasanton on Stanley Boulevard.

Shadow Cliffs, formerly a gravel quarry, is now a 266-acre park including an 80-acre lake. Besides the main lake, Shadow Cliffs has an arroyo with a chain of smaller lakes and ponds. No swimming or boating is allowed here; the shady areas and quiet waters make for a peaceful retreat on hot summer days.

If the relaxation of beauty of a lake is what you\’re craving, a stay and spa experience at Livermore\’s The Purple Orchid will complete your getaway. Check our website for availability.

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