BARTable by bike: Lake Chabot
BART Station:Bay Fair (San Leandro)
An oasis in the wilderness exists near Bay Fair Station in San Leandro. Photo courtesy of BARTable staff.
Editor's note: BART is currently running reduced service for essential travel. We are dispatching long trains even though ridership has been significantly reduced. We are doing this to ensure our riders can properly socially distance from one another. If you plan to ride BART, see our feature, Tips for riding BART during COVID-19.
Before heading out, make sure you understand local requirements on social distancing and wearing a mask. Alameda County and San Francisco city health officials require residents to wear face coverings any time they leave home and get within 30 feet of anyone not living in their household. If you need a mask, check out our feature, Bay Area businesses selling masks during COVID-19.
In 1866, Anthony Chabot observed the waters of San Leandro Creek colliding with Grass Valley Creek and the idea for a reservoir in the area was born. A dam was constructed, and the 315-acre Lake Chabot reservoir was built. The reservoir provided Oakland and San Leandro’s main water supply from 1876-1926. Today, the East Bay gets most of its water from the Sierra Foothills and Lake Chabot is reserved for an emergency drinking supply only. However, the lake opened to recreation in the 1960s and families have been coming to enjoy the beautiful surroundings ever since.
What to bring
Comfortable riding shoes, helmet, water bottles, sun protection (hat, sunscreen), extra layers or rain gear (just in case). A smartphone is handy for maps and looking up information or taking photos. And, of course, your Clipper card. Make sure to download the Ride with GPS app so you can easily reference the route.
How to get there
From Bay Fair Station, Lake Chabot is reached through a 1.5-mile climb up Fairmont Dr. Exiting the station, head east and pass in front of the movie theater. Cross E 14th St at the traffic light and turn left on Plaza Dr. Ride a few blocks until you reach Fairmont Dr. Turn right and follow Fairmont Dr for about two miles until you reach the Lake Chabot Marina.
Alternatively, the park can be accessed from Castro Valley Station by riding on Castro Valley Blvd to Lake Chabot Rd. This avoids the hill climb up Fairmont Dr from the western approach.
The short route is an out-and-back that brings you from the station into Lake Chabot Regional Park. From there, you'll ride along the west shore of the lake to the end of the paved trail at the junction with Bass Cove Trail.
The long route includes the official 12-mile Lake Chabot bicycle loop via Live Oak Trail. The loop gets you away from the crowds along the lakeshore and into the quiet, wooded interior of the park, but it comes at the expense of having more than twice the amount of climbing than the short route.
Highlights of the ride
San Leandro Farmers' Market at Bayfair Center
Plan your ride on a Saturday morning and on your way to the park pick up everything you'll need for a picnic. This farmers' market features over 45 vendors and includes fresh fruits, veggies, breads, cheeses, meats, flowers, and honey products.
This market is on your way to the park, located in the parking lot of the Bayfair Center and makes up a network of many Bay Area markets through the California Farmers' Markets Association, operating since 1994.
Lake Chabot Regional Park
The park has many features including fishing for trout and catfish, boating, kayaking, and sailing with guided tours available, volleyball and horseshoe pits, and picnicking areas. Plus, you can grab a bite at the Marina Café, which serves burgers, nachos, salads, sandwiches, and coffee.
When you're ready to head back into the urban world, enjoy the long descent down Fairmont Dr back to Bay Fair Station.
Visit bart.gov/bikes to check BART’s bike rules, then strap on your helmet and get out there!