Trails and bicycle paths connect it to Coyote Hills and the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge on Highway 84’s south side through a path across the top of the toll plaza structure. Access to the campground is from Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont. Reservations can be made online at reserveamerica.com or by calling 888-327-2757 and selecting option 2. There’s also lots of good information about the campground at ebparks.org/DQC.
Upcoming holiday: Labor Day weekend is usually one of the more crowded times in the East Bay Regional Parks. This may be especially true this year, as wildfires have required closures of many other parklands and open spaces statewide. All the regional parks and trails are scheduled to be open during the holiday weekend. If you’re planning a picnic, try to early to be sure of securing a table. This is especially true at regional parks with swim areas. On Labor Day itself, picnic tables are available only on a first-come, first-served. COVID-19 remains a concern. Masks are recommended for indoor venues and crowded outdoor activities.
Of course, fire prevention is also a priority. No smoking is allowed in the regional parks. Campfires are allowed only in established fire circles at campgrounds. If you barbecue, please use the barbecue stands. Portable barbecues are OK if set up on bare ground next to an existing picnic table, but not on lawn areas or in tall, dry grass. Dispose of coals only in the concrete receptacles designed for that purpose, not in regular trash barrels.
For up-to-date information on the status of any regional park, visit the park district’s website at ebparks.org before setting out. Once in the park, please cooperate with any instructions from rangers, police, firefighters or other district staff, especially if there is an emergency.
In the water: Speaking of swim areas above, swimming is available on weekends at the pools in Castle Rock in Walnut Creek and Roberts Regional Recreation Area on Skyline Boulevard in Oakland. Lagoons and beaches are also open at Contra Loma in Antioch, Cull Canyon in Castro Valley, Del Valle south of Livermore, Don Castro in Hayward and Quarry Lakes in Fremont.
These parklands have lifeguard service, depending on weather and attendance. You can also swim at your own risk at Crown and Encinal beaches in Alameda and in Keller Cove at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline in Point Richmond. These three beaches have no lifeguard service. For complete information on swim hours and fees, visit ebparks.org/activities/swimming online.
Check out chickens: For a farmyard experience on Labor Day weekend, try Ardenwood Historic Farm’s “Meet the Chickens” program in Fremont from 10:30 to 11:30 am Sept. 5. Visitors can check out the farm’s chicken coop and learn a bit about chicken behavior while feeding the birds a snack. It’s a free program, and no registration is required. The Ardenwood farm is on Ardenwood Boulevard just off Highway 84. There’s an entry fee, but parking is free. For information, call 510-544-2797.
El Sobrante hike: After Labor Day weekend, the Over-the-Hills Gang will meet for a hike from 10 am to 12:30 pm Sept. 7 at Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area in El Sobrante. Led by naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder, the gang is an informal group of hikers 55 and older interested in nature study, history, fitness and fun. Wear layered clothing and sturdy shoes. Bring water, a snack, sunscreen and a mask. Kennedy Grove is on San Pablo Dam Road between El Sobrante and Orinda. The hike is free, and registration is not necessary. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Ned MacKay writes about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at [email protected]