While many visitors to the Concord/East Bay are familiar with the expansive East Bay Regional Park District, the preserves managed by the East Bay Municipal Utility District are off-the-grid for most. Yet two recreation areas surrounding reservoirs offer plenty of sights, sounds and sniffs to keep your tail-wagger engaged, although she’s not allowed in the water.
Lafayette Reservoir Recreation Area has the most options for leashed dogs; it’s open daily and features a two-lane, 2.7-mile paved trail winding around the shoreline. Cyclists, roller-bladers and scooters are welcome on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings. Combined with joggers, dog-walkers and the stroller set, the trail can get a little crowded!
For more solitude, head to the ridgetop on a 4.5-mile trail. Bring water and anything else you’ll need, as you won’t find any along the way. You can also reserve picnic areas, barbecue pits and other amenities. A heads-up: harmful algae are present in the reservoir, so it’s critical to keep your dog away. Also, you’ll need to buy a trail use permit (available online). Picnic spots also can be reserved ahead of time
San Pablo Reservoir is another family-friendly gem, although dogs aren’t allowed in the water or away from campsites and paved roads. The recreation area is near Orinda and El Sobrante not far from Interstate 80 and Highway 24.
Three other EBMUD trails to trot your dog out on: The Kings Canyon Loop Trail near Moraga and the Hampton and Oursan Trails near Martinez.