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Delightful Del Valle

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

Location : Del Valle Regional Park, Livermore, CA

Parking : Del Valle Arroyo Road Staging Area (free)

Trail type : Lollipop

Trail Length : 8.1 miles

Elevation Gain : 1430 ft

Difficulty : Easy - Moderate

Trails traversed : East Shore Trail > Heron Bay Trail > East Shore Trail

Pets Allowed? : Yes

Post Hike Grub Stop : Petra Middle Eastern Cuisine, Livermore.


Del Valle Regional Park in the East Bay is a popular recreation spot all through the year. During the summer months, folks flock to the park to picnic and camp, to enjoy the many water activities the park as to offer, such as kayaking, swimming, fishing and boating. During the winter months, the park is abuzz with hikers exploring the numerous trails which run through lush green rolling hills, all around the pristine lake. East Shore Trail is one such trail currently trending on social media for the beautiful, vivid green scenery it offers at every turn. The trail is fully exposed, with little to no shade, which can be brutal in the summer months.

I hiked this trail during the first week of February, 2022. Due to an almost dry winter and unseasonably warm temperatures, spring seemed to have started early in the park, with wildflowers starting to make an appearance at the higher elevations. Parking was a challenge at the Arroyo Road Staging Area, and I was lucky enough to nab the last parking spot when I arrived at 8:20am on a Saturday. If the parking lot is full, you have three options :

1) wait patiently until someone returns from their hike

2) park about a mile down on Arroyo Road on the side of the road near Wente. There are no "No Parking" signs at this point.

3) park in Sycamore Grove Park across from Wente. ($6 fee)

DO NOT PARK anywhere else along Arroyo Road, as you are sure to get ticketed (someone in our party got a $40 parking violation ticket). Porta-potty restrooms are available at the parking lot. I would advice against using it, as people in my group reported that they were extremely filthy.

The trail starts from the gate at the parking lot and is almost flat for the first 0.3 miles. Once you cross a bridge over a beautiful creek with mirror like reflections, the trail starts going steeply uphill.


The creek with mirror reflections

Within the next 0.5 miles you gain more than 500ft in elevation. Once you reach the top of the steep hill, at 0.9 miles, you are rewarded for all your effort with the stunning view of Del Valle lake and the rolling hills surrounding it. This is a great stop for a photo op and a snack break.


First view of Del Valle Lake

From this point on, the trail mostly meanders over rolling hills providing great views of the lake all along. You may see fishing boats and platoons out in the water.


A lone fisherman patiently waits for his catch.

Continue on East Shore Trail for another 2 miles, passing hills covered with wildflowers and yellow mustards.

Wildflowers on either side of the trail


At the two mile mark, there is a small hill with a steep trail that takes you to the top. If you are feeling adventurous, climb the steep hill for beautiful views of the surrounding hills. If not, turn right at the mile marker post to start the lollipop loop along Heron Bay Trail.


Steep hill offshoot from East Shore Trail

Heron Bay Trail runs close to the water and through some lush green forests. Unlike East Shore Trail, this one does not see much foot traffic, and hence is very quiet and serene. You can even hear the twigs crack under your feet as you walk through the forest.

Life seems so peaceful along Heron Bay Trail


View of the pristine lake along Heron Bay Trail

Heron Bay Trail soon joins East Shore Trail at 4.7 miles. You will encounter a few stretches of steep inclines as you retrace your steps on East Shore Trail.

Enjoy the last few minutes of the fantastic scenery, as you turn right at the top of the hill at mile 7, and make you steep downhill climb all the way down to the bridge across the creek and then back to the parking lot.

View of the meandering trails as you back track your way to the trailhead.

This hike is best done during winter and spring when the temperatures are mild and the scenery green. Summer hikes may not be as pleasant. So plan your hikes before the hills start turning brown!


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