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Lafayette Rim Trail





by Transit & Trails


Wildlife Sightings

by iNaturalist


Length: 5.09 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Duration: Halfday
Created by Ken Dyleski

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.

Good for:
  • Beaches/Shore
  • Birding
  • Dogs
  • Views
  • Forests and Woodlands
  • Other Freshwater
  • Accessible Parking


This is one of area’s most popular trails at a reservoir opened in 1928. In spite of the challenging elevation profile, it sees a lot of use and is very accessible. Lafayette BART is just under a mile away, there’s a bus stop at the entrance and free untimed parking is available on streets off Mt. Diablo Blvd. a quarter of a mile east of the entrance. It’s managed by EBMUD but on this property a hiking pass is not needed. Dogs are allowed on leash, but bikes are allowed on trails Tues. and Thurs. only. There’s an EBMUD office near the boat docks with maps, permits and general information.

Walk up the paved path from Mt. Diablo Blvd. alongside the automobile road. At the top of the dam, there’s a fish cleaning station and restrooms where the Rim Trail starts out as an unsigned  road heading right, uphill through sparse woodland. It’s a sunny climb and continues to get more exposure to the sun as the hike progresses so carry extra water. Signed trails periodically head left and downhill to the trail encircling the reservoir shoreline, so stay high and to the right. At one point the Rim Trail dips down close to the backyards of homes but climbs back up quickly to even better views near the halfway mark of this hike.

The Rim Trail itself is infrequently marked by trail signs, so follow the trail close by homes until it swings back north on very steep up and down fire road with tricky footing. As you get close back to the Lafayette reservoir on this counterclockwise high tour, continue on course by heading mostly downhill and left to the dam area. End by walking across the dam parking area to the restrooms where the trail began. It’s a worthwhile diversion to visit the shoreline for the variety of birds found there. Self-propelled water craft can also be rented there and permits obtained for hikes on other EBMUD properties.


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