A weekend getaway in Oakland’s own backyard
on June 16, 2011
For less than a quarter of a tank of gas and 25 minutes of driving, Anthony Chabot Regional Park and campground is an easy, mini getaway from most anywhere in Oakland.
The trails and campground of this East Oakland park are buried in a surprisingly secluded natural world. Thousands of eucalyptus trees and rolling hills spill over the horizon in every direction, giving the senses a break from the city sounds and lights just over the ridge.
Coffee berry, redwoods and big-leaf maple trees try to stick out amongst the think coverage of eucalyptus trees. At night the hum of Great Horned Owls and frogs dominate the sound waves. During the day, red-tailed hawks can be spotted gliding in the sky over the lake.
The park got its name from the businessman responsible for building water systems throughout the Bay Area in the late 19th Century. After building Temescal Creek and Lake Temescal, Chabot and his company built a dam at San Leandro Creek. It created a reservoir known today as Lake Chabot. It’s become a popular boating and fishing area in the East Bay, regularly stocked by the park district with rainbow trout.
Although swimming is not allowed since the reservoir still serves as an emergency water supply for the East Bay, there are plenty of other activities. Dozens of trails for hiking, cycling and horseback riding surround the campgrounds and lead into the varying topography of the park and around Lake Chabot.
On the south corner of the lake, the marina offers boat rentals — rowboats, canoes, electric boats, pedal boats and kayaks — starting at $13 for an hour or $32 for the whole day.
Located at an elevation of 600 feet along a long ridge, the numerous campsites are close together with limited privacy. There are several options, from drive-in sites, to park and walk sites that take 10-15 minutes to walk from car to campsite with gear.
All the sites include a long, wooden picnic table and fire pit with a grilling plate on top. Collecting wood is not permitted; however, the kiosk at the campground entrance sells a bundle of wood for $6 and it’s enough to last for a night.
Well-maintained restrooms are easily accessible throughout the campground and include free hot showers. Although campers can come and go from their site, they should be sure to arrive at their site before the park gates close at 10 p.m.
Camping costs $15 a night and the spots fill up fast on the weekend during the summer months. Visit the East Bay Park District’s website for camping reservations and more information about the park.
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