Shift Gears at San Leonard’s Lake Chabot Bike Trails

Richard Duboc

Richard Duboc

For those looking for a scenic, off-road ride, Lake Chabot offers some of the best bike trails in the East Bay.

Just a half-hour to 45-minute bike ride from campus, and still within sight of Warren Hall in the distance, CSU East Bay students can experience the scenic landscape of Lake Chabot.

Emphasis should be placed on the bike ride, because that is truly the best way to experience one of the East Bay Regional Park District’s best attractions.

The 315-acre lake is surrounded by over 20 miles of hiking trails, many of which allow and are accessible to mountain and street-mountain hybrid bicycles. With the rains hopefully at bay for the time being, the trails are dry and open for exploration.

The best way to traverse the expanses of the park is to ride along the designated bike loop, which can be easily joined just off Lake Chabot Road at the marina. The loop takes anywhere from 2-4 hours to get through depending on rider speed and the condition of the trail.

For those not looking for the off-road experience or those whose bikes just won’t allow it, the paved road, which stretches along the southern and western edges of the lake, offers a smooth ride and great views.

If you can press on up the Live Oak Trail, it is well worth your while as the lake’s true beauty can better be enjoyed, as are many things in life, with a little distance and elevation. The truly adventurous rider can explore many of the connecting trails which shoot off from the main trail—however, it is difficult to know for sure how the terrain may change and where the trail will end up, so you might have to hike out carrying your bike.

But a few scuffs and scrapes are to be expected and probably desired. The main reason to go out into nature in the first place is to get a little muddy, and now that the streams are overflowing, there is plenty of mud to go around.

The nice thing about Lake Chabot Regional Park is that it is bordered to the north by Anthony Chabot Regional Park, which is bordered to its north by Redwood Regional Park and connected by the MacDonald Trail. Like all good parks, the trails lead to other trails, so it is important to know the way back and bring plenty of water.

You don’t have to be limited to the trails, since the park also offers boat and kayak rentals for a nominal fee. And for the anglers, the lake is well populated by bass, bluegill and crappie. Fishing licenses can be purchased on site at the Marina Cafe.

As the weather continues to heat up, people will continue to leave the confines of the concrete jungle and flock to more natural surroundings. Lake Chabot is the perfect getaway when you cannot get away very far.