Ken Dyleski helps Save Mount Diablo with mapping and on-the-ground stewardship work. He collaborated on producing the first edition of the Mt. Diablo map published by Save Mt. Diablo. His GPS enabled digital trail map of the Diablo Grand Loop was published on the National Geographic Topo site. He has a California State Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Diablo Valley College.
Mr. Dyleski's previous articles on the outdoors have been published in Sierra magazine, Northern California Explorer, and the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Forests and Woodlands
Much has changed along this trail corridor which was once used by mule trains to carry redwood from Oakland to Sacramento and later on served as a steam train route for railroads like the San Francisco-Sacramento. Today it’s a paved multi-use E. Bay Parks Regional Trail reflecting the laid back character of the communities for which it is named. It’s frequently used by residents, hikers, bikers, sometimes equestrians, commuters linking to BART, shoppers shuttling to Lafayette stores, students on their way to several schools near the trail, and mothers pushing strollers for a chance to get out and exercise. Judging by the volume of self-propelled traffic, and the “regulars” using it almost daily, it’s a great way to meet the neighbors and eliminate some dependence on motor vehicles. This brief description of some of its features hopefully will get more readers to think about adopting a more involved, healthier, and self propelled lifestyle using any of the many Regional Trails in our East Bay, starting with this world class example.
Begin at Olympic and Reliez or the big lot at Olympic Blvd. Staging Area and Pleasant Hill Rd. The Lafayette Moraga Trail passes through quiet, mostly wooded neighborhoods for more than 7 miles. Locals enjoy visiting the “backyard chickens” near the half mile mark and viewing the collection of artistic bird houses in a nearby tree. Mileage markers are painted on the trail surface every quarter mile for those wanting to keep track, and drinking water is available a little past Foye Dr. on the trail, at the back of the fire station soon after you cross Glenside Dr., and at Moraga Commons. As you cross bridges over Las Trampas Creek, especially after a significant rainstorm, look down into the steep sided creek side and imagine how these must have been “fair weather only crossings” when the heavily loaded mule trains passed through what was then a remote wilderness area. During the summer, it’s fun to hit the trail early and return to downtown Lafayette on School St. and then Moraga Rd. for the refreshment available along Lafayette Circle or Mt. Diablo Blvd. before the afternoon heat starts. The trail has numerous benches in the shade, “doggie bag” holders throughout the route, and frequently spaced trash cans, but restrooms only at Moraga Commons. The stretch between Rheem Blvd. and Moraga Commons is especially nice, with a PAR Course, Redwood trees and even old remnant pear trees still bearing fruit.
A great overview and planning tool is the EBRP map “Central Contra Costa Regional Trails”. It’s available free from kiosks at the staging area lot at Olympic and Reliez Station Rd., the small lot at S. Lucile Ln. and St. Mary’s Rd., at Moraga Commons, and at the Valle Vista Staging Area at the Moraga terminus on Canyon Rd. A brief study of the route of the Lafayette Moraga Regional Trail on the map should generate some thoughts of possible future connecting hikes or bike rides. From Valle Vista, trails lead into Las Trampas and Redwood Regional Parks. From Olympic-Reliez it’s a short walk to the Briones to Diablo Regional Trail. And, cyclists can turn off the Lafayette Moraga at Moraga Way (NOT on nearby Moraga Rd.) and make the ride into a longer 17 mile loop on the Lamorinda Bicycle Trail. Take a look at the rest of the map and you will find the Regional trails make it possible to connect to shopping, entertainment, Alameda County and, using BART to access other transportation hubs, much of the rest of the Bay Area. Now that’s a life changing thought to put into action!