Lafayette Reservoir, Contra Costa County, California

Story by staff writer Judy Clement Wall. Photos Copyright © Judy Clement Wall.

OVER THE Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I headed back up to Mt. Diablo to see if I could get some pictures of the breathtaking view that was less than breathtaking last time I visited. (See Rock City and The Legendary View from Mt. Diablo, California.)

It had drizzled for about two days prior and I was hoping that was enough rain to wash the smoggy air clean. It wasn’t, so this isn’t the post where I dazzle you with the view that is reportedly “second only to Mt. Kilimanjaro.” Stay tuned; that one’s coming. (You should see my determined expression right now.)

In the meantime, this post is to share with you the walk I took instead. Not wanting the trip to be a total waste, I hopped over to Lafayette Reservoir a few miles away.

Lafayette is a small water storage reservoir, encircled by a pretty, mostly paved, 2.7-mile path. I’ve been there many times, though not usually in the fall. I was struck by how peaceful it was. There was a quiet serenity about it that I haven’t found when I’ve visited in the spring and summer—when children and dogs and picnickers and wildlife make the park hum with life. On Thanksgiving weekend, the boats were all put away, the docks clean and empty, fallen leaves drifted over the path as I walked.

I took some pictures to share with you.

Lafeyette Reservoir


Lafeyette Reservoir

Reaching for the sky

Lafeyette Reservoir

Until next summer . . .

Lafeyette Reservoir

A trail guide with numbered steps is available in the Visitors Center
to identify the plants seen along the trail

Lafeyette Reservoir

Pelican moods



Bay Area Hiker: Lafayette Reservoir Recreation Area


Judy Clement Wall at Patrick's Point, Wedding Rock, Humboldt, California

j at Patrick's Point State Park, California

Judy Clement Wall (aka j) is a freelance writer who lives, works and plays in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s in love with the California coast; everything from combing the beaches of San Diego to hiking the coastal trails of Humboldt County. You can read and link to more of her work through her blog, Zebra Sounds.



  1. If this isn’t the view you were looking for – we’re in for a treat with your next post! Your walk was absolutely lovely….

  2. Wonderful pictures!.. I love the pelicans.
    Everything looks so peaceful.
    I have to say Fall is my favorite time of year.

    • I’ve never appreciated fall as much as I do this year. I’m a hot weather girl – all over the summer – but this year, the slow change of season, the quiet sense of anticipation… it’s wooing me.

  3. Great photos, J! I thought that pelican was posing for you.

  4. He did seem to pose just as I snapped the shot. Thank you, Terre.

  5. Pingback: You can almost unwrap this one | Zebra Sounds

  6. j, the captions on your photographs add to their awesome-ness! Ah, that never ending beautiful California sky. “Reaching for the sky” makes me yearn to be back in California. I’ve not lived there, but have visited a handful of times.
    Mt. Diablo seems like Denali (a.k.a. Mt. McKinley) in Alaska. Denali is only visible 35% of the time. I was there on a 65% day so I didn’t get to see it from the park.
    Looks like a great day for hiking! Thank you for sharing this and sharing those wonderful photographs. It’s been like a field trip!

    • Ah, thank you, but Milli gets all the credit for the captions. She is magic, that girl!

      I’ve had terrible luck with the view from Mt. Diablo. We’ve had way too many spare the air days around here.

      But I will go after the next big rain, and see what I (and therefore all of us) can see. 🙂

  7. Judy, your photos make me want to move to California, something this native New Yorker has NEVER wanted to do before, despite the pull of my wonderful cousin and her family who live there. Do you think they’d let me build a house (shed, tent) by that reservoir? I would promise the powers-that-be at the Visitors’ Center that I’d be very quiet and neat–really. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your walk. I can’t wait to take a walk around your new website!

  8. You’re so sweet! Thank you, Lucy. If your cousin lives close (I’m in the east SF Bay Area), maybe we can take a walk along the reservoir during your next visit!

  9. Beautiful scenery j, glad the trip wasn’t wasted.
    Of course looking forward to seeing the photo’s from Mt Diablo if it ever deigns to give you a clear day 🙂

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