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Los Vaqueros Reservoir
Los Vaqueros Reservoir    

Resting in a pristine valley east of San Francisco, Los Vaqueros Dam was the first major water project built in California in more than 15 years. The key reason for its success has been the Contra Costa Water District's commitment to mitigate all environmental impacts to less than significant levels.

There are 2 entrances to the watershed. The north end of the watershed near Brentwood, includes the updated John Muir Interpretive Center. You can hike to the top of the dam, and there are a variety of challenging trails available with rewarding views.

Birds:water birds, raptors

Hiking Difficulty: 2


  • Take the 680 Freeway north.
  • Take Highway 4 east.
  • Exit onto Hillcrest Ave.
  • Turn south on Hillcrest Ave and go up the hill about a mile.
  • Where the road splits at Deer Valley Rd, turn left, staying on Hillcrest for another 3 miles.
  • At the shopping center, turn left onto Lone Tree Way and stay for a mile.
  • Turn right onto the Highway 4 Bypass for 2.3 miles.
  • Turn left onto Balfour Rd and into town for about a mile.
  • Turn right onto Walnut Blvd for 4.8 miles.
  • When the road splits at Vasco Rd, turn to the right, staying on Walnut and drive to the entrance gate.



Hiking Difficulty codes:
1=Easy, very few hills to climb
2=Moderately Easy, some small hills to climb
3=Challenging, flat land ranging to gentle to some steep slopes
4=Difficult, some very steep hills to climb

Conversation with a Lion

According to a local biologist thereís a mountain lion in the area where I live. Iíve seen the remains of deer that I suspected were the leftovers of a mountain lion meal, but Iíve never actually seen one.

I was hiking in the hills behind my house recently looking for deer antlers when I had the uneasy feeling I was being watched. Looking around for anything--or anyone--

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