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Lafayette Reservoir, Lafayette

#32 of 353 in Trails in California
Must see · Hiking Trail · Nature / Park
The Lafayette Reservoir is an open-cut man-made terminal water storage reservoir owned and operated by the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). Completed in 1933, it was intended solely as a standby water supply for EBMUD customers. EBMUD opened the reservoir for public recreation in 1966. It is located off of California State Route 24 and a mile from the Lafayette BART station, in Contra Costa County, California. This all-year, day-use area is ideal for hiking, jogging, fishing, boating and picnicking. The reservoir is on the Lafayette-Orinda border. The reservoir is on a 925acre site and holds 1.4e9USgal
Construction of Lafayette Reservoir actually began in 1928, as an earth-filled structure for the dam. The fill was installed very rapidly. This was apparently too fast for the clay foundation, because as the concrete apron was being poured, the foundation began to move downhill. The dam reportedly settled, displacing the structure 200yd from the toe of the dam 26feet between September 17 and 21.
EBMUD engineers had to quickly redesign the project, first by reducing the reservoir capacity to one-third of its original design. Then they delayed further construction by three years, to see whether more settling would occur. The design change was apparently satisfactory, and the dam was completed in 1933.
An observation tower built at the southwestern corner of the lake was left unchanged when the dam was redesigned. Thus, the tower seems too tall for its intended use. The top is accessible only by scaling metal rungs embedded in its side. Therefore, the tiny observation booth is almost always deserted, and the antique doors have turned green from oxidation.
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Lafayette Reservoir reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
289 reviews
  • And hike! This place is real nice. 2 good hiking trails. Lots of opportunityfor pictures. Hourly parking with day parking.  more »
  • This makes for a beautiful walk on a nice day. A 2.7 mile paved walkway will take you all the way around this reservoir. The walk can be somewhat challenging in certain spots (mild uphill climbs...  more »
  • $1.50 for 2 hrs of parking. My wife and I did the lake walk took us about 1.5 hours to complete the loop.
  • Beautiful park. Parking is $7 for all day. Short term parking fills up too quickly.

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