It’s an East Bay classic. Lafayette Reservoir is a hub for a little of this, and a little of that: Hiking, picnicking, paddling, you decide. This time of year we recommend simply stretching your legs on the 2.7-mile Lakeside Nature Trail encompassing the reservoir.
Start at the dam and get unobstructed views of the reservoir, flanked by oak- and pine-covered hills. From the northwest end of the dam, follow the paved path along the shoreline towards the nature center.
Continuing around the reservoir, you’ll gain big views of the water from wooded sections, which may still be eking out some lovely fall colors thanks to a mix of deciduous understory trees and hulking oaks.
Keep an eye on the lake to see osprey dive-bombing the water for a fish meal. Serenading birds, fluttering leaves, and even the occasional wild turkey keep things interesting. There’s also a redwood grove planted by schoolchildren.
Parking is $7 unless you have an Annual Gate Card, purchased from the visitor center located on the north end of the reservoir. Boat rentals are available on a first-come, first-served basis with a $40 deposit required (must be 18+ years old to rent). Boat rentals cost $15 for 1 hour or $25 for up to 5 hours. Trail is dog-friendly! No dogs in boats.