The Lafayette Reservoir is a human-made terminal water storage reservoir owned and operated by the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). Completed in 1933, it was intended solely as a standby water supply to EBMUD customers. EBMUD opened a public recreation reservoir in 1966. It is located off California State Route 24 and a mile from Lafayette BART station in Contra Costa County, California, United States. This year-round, day-use area is ideal for hiking, jogging, fishing, boating and picnicking. The reservoir is on the border of Lafayette-Orinda. The reservoir is located on a site of 925 acres (3,74 km2) and holds 1,4 billion US gallons (5,300,000 m3).
The construction of the Lafayette reservoir began in 1928 as an earth-filled dam structure. The filling was installed very quickly. [b] This was apparently too fast for the foundation of clay because as the concrete apron was poured, the foundation began to move downhill. The dam reportedly settled, displacing 200 yards (180 m) from the toe of the dam 26 feet (7.9 m) between September 17 and 21.
The EBMUD engineers had to quickly redesign the project, first by reducing the reservoir capacity to one-third of its original design. Then the further construction was delayed by three years, to see whether more settlement would take place. Apparently, the design change was satisfactory, and the dam was completed in 1933.
The observation tower, built at the southwest corner of the lake, remained unchanged when the dam was redesigned. As a result, the tower seems too tall for its intended use. The top is accessible only by scaling the metal rungs on its side. As a result, the tiny observation booth is almost always deserted, and the antique doors have turned green from oxidation.
During 1935, the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), a Federal New Deal program, began planting 5,000 Monterey pine seedlings at San Pablo Reservoir, many of which were to be used for soil stabilization on the slopes around Lafayette and other EBMU reservoirs. By 1940, the program had planted some 57,000 trees around all of the EBMUD reservoirs. After 80 years, the Monterey pines are nearing the end of their life cycle, and some are being removed under a thinning program.
The children's playground is located on the eastern lawn. Picnic tables (125) are available on a first-come, first-served basis; 44 barbecues are available for cooking your favorite outdoor meals. Four group sites are available for reservation; the Large, Stage, and Upper sites are all home to 250 people each. The small site could hold up to 75. EBMUD plant trout during the fall, winter, and spring months, and plant catfish in the summer months. Come to the visitor center to pick up the basic fishing gear and bait to get a line in the water. A daily fishing permit is required.
Rent rowboats, pedal boats and kayaks in the Visitor Center. If you're bringing your own boat, there's a launch area (fees apply) and you'll need to have your boat inspected to keep EBMUD waterways safe from Quagga Mussels. Gasoline engines and trailers are not permitted. At Lafayette Reservoir, there are two main trails. The Lakeside Nature Trail (paved, 2.7 miles) and the Rim Trail (paved, 4.7 miles). In addition, there are 928 acres of open space for hiking, wildlife viewing, photography, and beautiful views.
Bicyclists and people on roller skates, rollerblades and scooters are allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon until the end of the day and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. The paved Lakeside Trail and the roads. Dogs are allowed to go. Animal leashes can not be longer than 6 feet in length.
This amazing landmark in Orinda, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
- Tilden Regional Park
- Chabot Space & Science Center
- Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park
- Redwood Valley Railway
- Grizzly Peak
- Joaquin Miller Park
- Regional Parks Botanic Garden
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek California! Stop by for a visit anytime!