As we head into the summer months, it’s (mostly) warm days and blue skies ahead, making us want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Thanks to a particularly wet winter this year in the Bay Area, our forests are looking mighty green, the flowers are blooming non-stop, and all of the lakes are seriously full. But seeing is believing, so lace up your hiking shoes and grab a few friends, it’s time for a lake hike!
LEXINGTON RESERVOIR – LOS GATOS AREA If you’re an “over-the-hill” commuter, chances are you’ve noticed how full and gorgeous Lexington Reservoir has been looking these last few months. In fact, this body of water spillith over! The Lexington Reservoir Trail is a 4.8-mile loop that offers hikers stunning views of the water and surrounding forested area. You can even bring your dog, just be sure to keep Rover on his leash.
LAKE ANZA – BERKELEY If possible, try to hit up this spot on a weekday to avoid the crowds. The 1.3-mile loop is easy enough and is a lovely spot for some relaxing bird watching. Lake Anza is only a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, but the calm, beautiful surroundings will make you feel like you’ve entered another world.
BASS LAKE TRAIL– BOLINAS The Coast Trail to Bass Lake is a 6-mile out and back trail that gives hikers the best of both worlds — ocean views and, later on, lake views. The trail doesn’t get too crowded and one can go a while without seeing fellow hikers. Be sure to stay on trail as poison oak and ticks abound in this area. Have your phone charged and ready because this hike offers more than a few Instagram-worthy photo ops.
LAKE TEMESCAL – OAKLAND The Lake Temescal loop is only about a mile, but sometimes a quick jaunt is all you’re in the mood for anyhow. The area is very peaceful and a perfect place to stop for the day and picnic with friends. There are several benches along the shore and ample shade so taking a few moments to sit and enjoy the view is a must.
LAFAYETTE RESERVOIR – LAFAYETTETE There are two main hiking trails to choose from, the shorter (and paved) Lakeside Nature Trail which is just under 3-miles, and the Rim Trail (unpaved) which is nearly 5-miles long. While both trails are lovely, the Rim Trail offers a 360-degree view of the lake, but you’ll definitely work for it! The Rim Trail is steep in several spots and makes for a great workout.
LOCH LOMOND –FELTON The 4.5-mile Loch Lomond Trail loop starts out along the shore and then gradually rises above it along a ridge that has stunning views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and lake below. The trail is moderate and the landscape changes from redwoods to oak trees and back again several times. If you have a whole day to spare, consider renting a rowboat after your hike and drifting out on the serene surface of the lake for a bit.