Are you looking for a great place in California to enjoy your summer weekends with your friends or family? Do you want to experience the beach vibe amidst park trails? The ‘oasis in Antioch‘ is probably the place you want.
Located in Contra Costa County of California, the Contra Loma Regional Park is one of the best places to enjoy summertime swimming. There are plenty of things to do at Contra Loma Regional Park, including hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, and picnicking.
The 779-acre park was inaugurated in 1968 to assist in calming the social turmoil of the 60s. For residents of California and tourists, this park has become a favorite spot to spend weekends. Visit here anytime in the year, and you can enjoy fishing, windsurfing, and boating. Please note that you will have to pay access fee for each activity.
Are you ready to beat the summer heat at Contra Loma? Dive straight into the five best Contra Loma Regional Park attractions.
List of 5 Best Contra Loma Regional Park Attractions
1. Contra Loma Swim Lagoon
Get ready to immerse yourself in the sandy beach and calm waters of the Contra Loma swim lagoon! It is a fenced area close to the water reservoir. This lifeguarded swim lagoon with abundant life jackets is a haven for kids and adults to enjoy swimming.
A concession stand (small vendor or booth) is near the public swim lagoon. The management has made the place accessible through a wheelchair. One can also find an accessible pool lift in the area.
Surrounding the swimming lagoon is the West Shore Trail of Contra Loma. You will also find a daily fishing permit machine beside the Quail Cove near the Lower Vista Viewpoint. Picnicking is an ideal experience around the swimming lagoon.
1.1 Cattail Cove
To enhance your holiday experience is the Cattail Cove picnic area on a large lawn. It has shaded and partially shaded areas with a maximum capacity of 150 people. Cattail Cove also has an accessible drinking fountain and a barbeque.
1.2 Meadow Lark
Unlike Cattail Cove, the maximum accommodating capacity of Meadow Lark is 50 people. The area has a drinking fountain and four single barbeques.
Redwing is another picnicking area near the lagoon. However, it has very little to no shade. Redwing has similar facilities as Meadow Lark.
2. Contra Loma Reservoir
2.1 Flora & Fauna
The Contra Loma reservoir becomes the wintering ground of migratory waterfowl. Mourning doves and quails are the natives of the area. The park is a rich habitat for smaller mammals like coyotes, foxes, mule deer, and many more. Dogs are not allowed in the reservoir area.
Year-round fishing near Antioch? The Contra Loma Regional Park has you covered. The reservoir contains various fishes, including catfish, black and striped bass fish, red-eared sunfish, and many more.
The park charges a minimal daily fishing access fee. Two fishing docks are also present near the West Shore Trail. One can easily access the south fishing dock through a wheelchair. A Daily Fishing access permit is a must and is available at the park entry kiosks.
2.3 Contra Costa Water District
The Contra Costa Water District maintains the central attraction of the park: the 80-acre water reservoir. They also overlook the watercraft inspection.
Before you can enjoy boating, watercraft must pass this inspection. This way, the Water District prevents invasive mussels in local lakes and reservoirs.
3. Picnicking at Contra Loma
The Contra Loma Regional Park has several picnic areas with reservation facilities. There are also multiple first-come, first-served tables. Besides Cattail Cove and Meadow Lark, there are three more picnicking areas.
3.1 Locust Grove
This site can accommodate up to 200 people at a time. Locust Grove is a partially shaded area & is close to the boat launch area. One can find this picnic area beside the park entrance.
3.2 Loma Island
Accommodating a maximum of 150 people is the hike-in picnicking area of Loma Island. It is situated 75 feet over a bridge. Loma Island is adjacent to a lawn area. A parking facility is available 200 yards away. A popular wedding location, one can find both shady and partially shaded areas.
3.3 Lupine Rocks
Like Loma Island, the Lupin Rocks picnicking area also contains complete and partially shaded areas. A lawn and a parking facility are available nearby. A maximum of 50 people can be here at one time.
All picnic areas are great for children to enjoy various activities. Each site has multiple tables. Enjoy a variety of activities here, ranging from backpacking to horse camping. Dogs should be on the lease in all the picnicking areas. Sometimes, the locations can have temporary closures. Be sure to check the full schedule at the official website of the East Bay Regional Park District.
With trails being slippery, rocky, and steep, the hike difficulty ranges from moderate to challenging. Be sure to carry and drink plenty of water because the summer heat is a leading cause of dehydration.
Here are the top 3 hiking trails of the Contra Loma Regional Park.
4.1 Delta De Anza Regional Trail
Spanning over 15 miles, this inter-park trail is paved for multi-use hiking, bicycling, and equestrian. It provides access to the Contra Loma Regional Park and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve through the Antioch Community Park. Delta De Anza connects Concord, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch, and Oakley.
4.2 Contra Loma Loop from Antioch Community Park
This loop trail can be accessed from the adjacent Antioch Community Park. This trail can be covered through hiking, walking, running, or mountain biking, and is very kid-friendly.
Get stunning views of the lake and wildflowers.
4.3 Old Ranch Loop Trail
A scenic and circular hiking trail, the Old Ranch offers scenic vistas of the Contra Loma reservoir and the neighboring golf course. It is an unpaved trail that passes through oak woods and rolling grasslands. The loop trail is at an elevation of 46 m, and you can also spot wildflowers here.
The Mt. Diablo to Black Diamond regional trail also passes through the Contra Loma Regional Park. Watch the horses on the trails on your hiking adventure.
Imagine bringing your boat near a water body! It is a possibility at the Contra Loma Regional Park. Now, get ready to launch a boat of up to 17 feet. Enjoy sailing and boating throughout the year in this 80-acre reservoir.
One can only bring an electric motorboat. The gasoline-powered engines are strictly not allowed due to the emergency backup water supply for the Contra Costa Water District. Anyone using float tubes should carry a life jacket with them.
The Contra Costa Water District advises all windsurfers and paddle boarders to shower (minimum of 2 minutes) before entering the reservoir. They should also wear at least a short wetsuit. One can also go for kayaking here. The park charges fees for both boat launch and inspection.
6. Pro Tips for Visiting Contra Loma Regional Park
- To reach the Contra Loma Regional Park, turn on the Golf Course Road. Reach your holiday destination by taking another right on Fredrickson Lane. Proceed to the park entrance near the Homestead Trail. From dog to parking and boat access, the management charges varied fees.
- The Water Resource Management is looking to update the long-term plans for Contra Loma Regional Park, which has a previous plan written. The recent population boom led officials to revisit the plan.
- The boat launch area is near the East Shore Trail. Additionally, several lifeguards are also present near the lagoon during summertime swimming. Watercraft and accessories should be dry and clean to pass inspection. Carrying alcoholic drinks is not permitted.
- Check the gate hours on the East Bay Regional Park District’s official website, as they are subject to monthly change. There are regular water quality checks for the Contra Loma Reservoir. Danger Advisories can lead to the temporary closure of the reservoir.
- Drones and smoking are strictly prohibited. An important advice would be to be ready for sudden weather changes.
Contra Loma Regional Park is a must-visit destination for those who seek adventure yet want to stay close to nature. Enjoy the beauty of this oasis as you explore diverse, exciting things to do in the Contra Loma Regional Park.