Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area
Guide

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Introduction

A five-mile long lake and 4,395 acres of forested hills make Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area the quintessential lakeside getaway.

During the summer months, the lake is dotted with visitors as they sail, boat, windsurf, and swim. On shore, outdoor enthusiasts explore the countryside on foot and on horseback.

The lake serves as the eastern entrance to the scenic Ohlone Wilderness trail, which stretches over 28 miles of pristine backcountry. During the cooler fall months, visitors can use this trail to access Murietta Falls, the Bay Area’s tallest waterfall measuring in at 100 feet.

With almost 16 miles of shoreline, Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area is a favorite haunt for local and visiting fishermen. The lake’s waters are stocked with trout, catfish, and bass.

Del Valle Regional Park Campground is open all year and features 21 RV campsites with full hookups. Two of the sites are handicap accessible. Each site offers a fire ring and access to restrooms and shower facilities. With its close proximity to the lake and San Francisco’s east bay, the campground is popular in the summer peak season and often fills quickly. Reservations can be made in advance.

RV Rentals in Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area

Transportation in Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area

Driving

Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area is located in California’s Bay Area about five miles south of Livermore, California, and about an hour drive from San Jose, California.

The park is easily accessed from Interstate 580 via Del Valle Road. All park roads are paved and designed to be easily navigated by RV or with a trailer.

Visitors can enter the park by car, bike, on foot, or on horseback. An extensive trail system aids in park navigation. Paved trails are for hikers and bikers only. All bikers under the age of 18 must wear helmets. Every biker should be equipped with a headlight and reflectors.

All vehicles must remain on paved roads and park only in designated parking sites. Parking is also available at campsites, the visitor center, the equestrian staging area, the marina, and designated beaches.

All restrooms in Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area are ADA accessible. Paved and gently sloping paths for easier transportation can be found in portions of the Westshore and Eastshore trails. More information and instructions to these areas is given at the visitor center and Ranger Station.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area

Campsites in Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area

Reservations camping

Del Valle Regional Park Campground

The Del Valle Regional Park Campground features 21 RV campsites with full hookups and an additional 129 campsites for primitive or tent camping. RV sites can accommodate trailers up to 20 feet long and parking for one vehicle. Campers can easily access centrally located restrooms and showers as well as hiking and biking trails and designated swim beaches. Each site includes a fire ring and is pet friendly. The campground store is open during peak season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, but the campground itself is open year round. Reservations can be made up to 12 weeks in advance.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area

In-Season

Visitor Center

Campers can enjoy the Lake Del Valle Visitor Center on weekends June through September. Located on the west side of the lake, the center features interactive exhibits on the natural history of the area. Visitors can speak with park rangers and naturalists to learn more about the cultural history of Lake Del Valle. Throughout the summer, the center hosts campfire programs for visitors in the amphitheater with songs, stories, games, and, of course, roasted marshmallows.

Boating

Lake Del Valle is best known for being spotted with boats of every shape and size. The five-mile long lake allows any form of watercraft. Boats can be launched from the public boat ramp. Visitors can rent motorboats, patio boats, paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks at the park marina. Frequent wind makes the area popular with sailboats and windsurfers. Park staff offer natural and cultural history boat tours on Lake Del Valle for visitors throughout the year.

Swimming

During peak summer months, visitors can beat the heat in the cool waters of Lake Del Valle. The park offers two designated swim beaches with lifeguards on duty during posted times. Visitors should be advised that beaches are small gravel, not sand. While swimming is permitted any time of the year, California waters are quite cool, and are best enjoyed during the hottest months of the year. Visitors can drive, walk, or bike to swim areas from the campground.

Off-Season

Fishing

With 16 miles of pristine, open shoreline, Lake Del Valle is a favorite fishing spot for anglers of all skill levels. The water is stocked with trout, large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, catfish, and panfish. Park at the marina and walk down to the water, or take a short hike using one of the park’s many hiking trails down to the lakeshore. Fishermen age 16 and over are required to carry a valid California fishing license.

Horseback Riding

The forested hills surrounding Lake Del Valle offer a variety of horse-friendly trails up to 28 miles long. Some trails even take riders along the 16 miles of lakeshore. A designated equestrian camp area at The Little Chaparral Horse Camp features four paddocks, each with room for up to two horses, four people, and parking for a trailer or rig. An equestrian staging area close to several major trailheads is available at the end of Arroyo Road.

Hiking

An extensive trail system covers Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area’s 4,395 acres. Trails give visitors access to the lakeshore, oak forests, and deep California backcountry. The lake serves as the eastern entrance to the scenic Ohlone Wilderness trail, which stretches over 28 miles. Visitors can use this trail to access Murietta Falls, the Bay Area’s tallest waterfall measuring in at 100 feet. The hike is strenuous, and park rangers recommend the excursion in the cooler fall months when the waterfall is at peak flow.

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