Every once in a while it’s a good idea to set aside the hiking shoes and try something different. That’s why this week I’m going to focus on Lake Chabot and urge you to either grab a fishing pole, or jump into a buoyant vessel.
Located in Castro Valley, Lake Chabot Regional Park boasts a 315-acre lake and over 5,000 acres of open land covered in a plethora of trails. Coupled with beauty and diverse fauna and flora, it’s no surprise that Lake Chabot is one of the most popular parks of the East Bay Regional Park District.
While the trail network is fantastic, in this article I will focus on water recreation. (Look for a feature on hiking Lake Chabot Park in a few weeks).
There are quite a few entrances into Lake Chabot, but for our purposes I suggest parking in the staging area near the marina. This is where you will be able to rent boats, or launch your own canoe or kayak.
To get there, head westbound on Interstate 580, take the Strobridge Avenue exit and turn right. Make another right onto Castro Valley Boulevard, and then a left onto Lake Chabot Road. This will lead you to the park, and a sign will alert you to a right turn into the staging area. There is a $5 parking fee.
If you have a canoe, kayak, or scull 20 feet or shorter, you can carry it from the parking lot to the nearby boat launch. There is a $2 launch fee, and $5 boat inspection fee. If you don’t have your own vessel, head into the main building at the marina.
Inside, a staff member can help you rent a watercraft of your choice. You have your pick among rowboats, kayaks, pedal boats, canoes, patio boats, and a variety of motorboats. Rates and hours for the rental service can be found at this link.
Choose whatever boat you think will suit you and your party. Having tried most of these vessels, I prefer a single kayak myself. For those fishing while boating, renting a wider vessel with a motor is wise. If you’re looking to lounge on the water with a larger group, a patio boat is perfect. Just keep in mind that and canoes can be difficult for beginners.
Exploring the lake takes about two to three hours (without a motorboat). Be sure to head into the nooks and crannies of the lake, as interesting plants and gnarled old trees densely cover parts of the shore. Towering groves of eucalyptus cover the surrounding hillsides as well, making for wonderful views.
If you prefer to stay on land, fishing is a great option. Fishing docks are scattered around the shore of Lake Chabot, and finding a quiet spot to settle down with your pole is easy. Keep in mind that a California State fishing license and a $4 access permit are required to fish Lake Chabot. This fee helps ensure that the lake is well stocked with bass, trout, catfish, crappie, bluegill and carp.
Whatever activity you choose, Lake Chabot can provide a day of fun for the entire family and solo visitors alike. Just visit soon, as the dwindling days of summer are the best for some fun at the water.
At a Glance:
Lake Chabot Regional Park
Address: 17600 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley
Hours: Open daily, 5 a.m.-10 p.m.
Best time to visit: A warm sunny day.
Cost: $5 parking fee, $2 dog fee, various boat fees
Great for: All sorts of water recreation.
Could be better if: You bring water, sunscreen and a hat for the journey. There is not much shade on the open lake.