Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area
& Alameda Creek Regional Trail,
East Bay Regional Park District,
Alameda County

In brief:
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 perfectly flat.

Full sun.

Trail traffic:

Trail surfaces:
Dirt and paved fire roads.

Hiking time:
1 1/2 hours.

Nice all year. Best bird watching in winter.

Getting there:
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:
Latitude 3734'19.44"N
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 camping.

Trailhead details
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:
EBRPD's Quarry Lakes page
EBRPD's Alameda Creek Trail page

Map Choices:
• Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
• Quarry Lakes map from EBRPD
• Alameda Creek Regional Trail map from EBRPD
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.
• The Bay Trail website has photos and descriptions of Alameda Creek Trail.

Quarry Lakes in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.

View photos from this hike.

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Quarry Lakes, one of the newest bay area parks, is a 462 acre destination hosting hiking, swimming, boating, and fishing. Isherwood Staging AreaOld 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. Alameda Creek Trail
     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.Old Creek Trail
      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.View of Lago Los Osos
     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