3.3 mile level loop around man-made ponds in Fremont's residential outskirts.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 3.3 mile loop hike is very easy. Trails are almost
Dirt and paved fire roads.
1 1/2 hours.
Nice all year. Best bird watching in winter.
From I 880 in Alameda County, exit Decoto Road (exit 21). Drive east on
Decoto a little more than 1 mile, then turn south (right) onto Paseo Padre
Parkway. Drive about 0.7 mile, then turn left onto Isherwood Way. Almost
immediately, just past the bridge over Alameda Creek, turn right into
the signed Isherwood Staging Area parking lot. (Note: if you want to park
inside Quarry Lakes, continue past the Isherwood Staging Area, about 0.6
mile to the main park entrance on the right. There is a fee to park inside
the recreation area.)
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Longitude 122° 0'45.60"W
(* based on Google
Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, stores, and restaurants a few miles northwest on Decoto Road. No
No parking or entrance fees (at this trailhead -- there is a $5 entrance
fee if you park inside Quarry Lakes, and a $2 fee for dogs). Paved parking
lot with 34 parking spots. There are 2 designated handicapped parking
spots, and some of the trails are suitable for wheelchairs. Portable toilet,
maps, and drinking water at the edge of the parking lot, with more developed
facilities inside Quarry Lakes. Pay phones inside Quarry Lakes, near the
main entrance. This park/trail is accessible by public transportation.
Visit the Transit
Info website for details.
Park hours fluctuate with the seasons, but generally Quarry Lakes is open
from sunrise to sunset. Alameda Creek Trail has a curfew from 10 p.m.
to 5 a.m. Dogs are permitted on this hike. They are allowed, on leash
only, in Quarry Lakes. On Alameda Creek Trail dogs are permitted (gravel
side only) under voice control.
The Official Story:
Creek Trail page
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Quarry Lakes map
Alameda Creek Regional Trail map
South Bay Trails, by Jean Rusmore, Betsy Crowder, and Frances Spangle (order
this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions
of Alameda Creek Trail.
Trail website has photos and descriptions of Alameda Creek Trail.
Lakes in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured
photos from this hike.
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
Lakes, one of the newest bay area parks, is a 462 acre destination hosting
hiking, swimming, boating, and fishing. Old quarry pits, now filled with
water, form the heart of the recreation area. Two lakes are designated
for fishing (with one area set aside for swimming), and another pond and
slough are reserved for wildlife, with no water contact permitted. A handful
of short trails circuit the ponds, making Quarry Lakes a good track for
a daily run or stroll. Alameda Creek Trail runs along one side of the
park boundary, permitting a Quarry Lakes hike (or run) to be extended
for many miles either northeast to Niles, or west toward Coyote Hills.
The wildlife population is already surprisingly
varied and healthy. You'll probably see familiar park creatures such as
geese and squirrels, but the recreation area is also a haven for kestrels, great
blue herons, ducks, deer, and jackrabbits. There's not much vegetation,
but the park district has planted some appropriate trees, including blue
elderberry and coast live oak.
If you want to make a day of it at Quarry
Lakes, the best place to start is the main park entrance. You'll find
plenty of parking, and access to picnic areas, changing rooms, restrooms,
volleyball courts, fish cleaning stations, and the swim complex. For a
quick walk or run, you can enter the park (without paying the $5 entry
fee) via Alameda Creek Trail, starting at the Isherwood Staging Area.
Begin at the eastern edge of the parking
lot, on wide gravel Alameda Creek Trail. Quarry Lakes' Californio
Trail is visible on the left, but a tall fence blocks access from this
point; you must enter through a gate about 1/2 mile down the trail. Flat
Alameda Creek Trail is partially shaded by mostly exotic trees, including
locust, peppertree, pine, and eucalyptus, although there are a few coast
live oaks, sycamores, and cottonwoods.Alameda Creek, on the right, is
usually just a damp trickle where you might see geese, ducks, and shorebirds
picking their way through the mud. At 0.56 mile, turn left and enter
Quarry Lakes through a gate.
Turn right onto signed Wood Duck Trail.
The broad multi-use trail edges past Willow Slough, where you might
see groups of deer feeding on tender young leaves. After rising slightly,
the trail levels out and curves left. Lago Los Osos sprawls on the right,
and often hundreds of birds can be spotted on a thin island in the middle
of the lake. To the left in Willow Slough, look for kestrels and great
blue herons. An interpretive display near a bench explains the park's
riparian restoration effort. After a straight stretch, Wood Duck Trail
ends at 0.94 mile. Turn
right, walk a few feet, then turn right again, onto Old Creek Trail.
The flat and wide trail is open to hikers,
cyclists, and equestrians. With water on both sides it feels like a levee
path. In spring and summer you might notice a yellow flowered shrub called
tree tobacco, which is common near watercourses. Yellow bush lupine and
thistles also line the trail. At 1.40 miles, Old Creek Trail ends at a
signed junction. Turn right onto Western Pacific Trail.
BART tracks sit just over the park boundary
to the left, and trains regularly buzz past. As the level multi-use trail
winds south, look for jackrabbits scampering through mustard, grass, and
poison hemlock. Red-winged blackbirds are common. In spring, you might
get a glimpse of little fuzzy goose babies tottering between protective
parents. At 1.96 miles, Western Pacific Trail ends at the park boundary
and Niles Gate. Go through the gate, then turn right.
Back on flat Alameda Creek Trail, you'll
have an easy walk back toward the staging area. At 2.62 miles you'll pass
Sequoia Bridge, on the left, and then at 2.72 miles, you'll reach the
previously encountered junction with the gate into Quarry Lakes. Continue
straight back to the trailhead.
Total distance: 3.28 miles
Last hiked: Friday, April 26, 2002