Address:18627 Cull Canyon Rd, Castro Valley, CA 94552 Parking: Free parking lot at the address above Hours: Mar-Nov: 8 A.M. to 10 P.M., Dec-Feb: 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Type: Hike (easy) Dog Rules: Dogs allowed on-leash. Best time to visit: Anytime, except on a very hot day.
NOTE: As of 2023, the park has diverted water from the lake, so this is not the scenic hike it used to be. Hopefully the park will be able to restore the water flow in the near future.
Description: Take an easy hike around the scenic lake at Cull Canyon, which only has a couple hills and intermittent shade on the trails. During our hike, we crossed the main bridge near the parking lot, proceeded right past the picnic tables and volleyball court, and took the Chabot-to-Garin Regional Trail to the right, which snakes down into the trees along the creek. After a short distance you will come to a wide creek crossing. If it hasn’t rained recently, you could cross without getting too wet. However, if you look to your left you will see that people have made a trail above the over the pipe, which only requires a short scramble up. After crossing the creek, we continued to the right, passing the entrance, the park residence, and more picnic areas. Soon you will have a great view of the lake and can enjoy the view from a nearby picnic table. Continue hiking along the lake and the trail will climb slowly, eventually joining the shoulder of Cull Canyon Road. One you see Heyer Ave, make a right. The trail continues along the side of this road, and at the far edge of the lake you will see a set of wooden stairs descending down through the trees. This trail is easy to miss but it’s right before the fire gate marked “5050.” The trail narrows and continues along the other side of the lake, but unfortunately the trees block the view of the lake. There’s a bench mid-way down this trail, next to a section of the lake that has pooled into its own pond. From here the trail climbs back up and you’ll have to cross a wide trail and head uphill via the Lake View Trail. When we visited there were some border collies here (presumably to heard goats, because we saw signs for them). The dogs were barking so we decided to turn back at this point. You can continue hiking for 0.7 miles until the trail reaches Columbia Drive. Unfortunately there’s not a safe shoulder to walk back from Columbia Drive to the parking lot, so you would need to retrace your steps. This hike would be about 3 miles round trip. This park has pit toilets and a water faucet near the main picnic area. There are also picnic tables, BBQ pits, a volleyball court and even horseshoe pits.