General Question

helena's avatar

What is your favorite lake within 4 hours from Berkeley?

Asked by helena (244points) August 8th, 2007

My friend from Spain is here and we want to go to a beautiful place for the weekend. I love fresh water bodies. Where are the places you love the most?

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9 Answers

rosedog's avatar

Bass Lake in Marin county.

occ's avatar

I haven't been to Lake Madrid, but I love Bass lake! You should really check it out, it's one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. You have to hike in 3 miles to get there. Go to Stinson, turn off towards Bolinas on the road into town and turn right when you see the sign for Point Reyes Bird Observatory (before you hit the main drag in Bolinas). Drive to the end of the road, a few miles, it turns into a dirt road, and there's a trailhead to Bass Lake. It's a beautiful secluded peaceful lake with a great rope swing. There is a field nearby where you can sunbathe, but there is no beach. This time of year it might be foggy there...I don't think you can camp there but it's definitely an easy day trip from Berkeley.

Other favorite lakes are up in the Tahoe area, which about 4 hours away. Lake Tahoe is of course stunning...but if you want a more peaceful place away from the crowds, try Fallen Leaf lake, which is an exquisite green lake just south of Tahoe (Go to South Lake Tahoe and take 89 towards Emerald Bay. Stop at the ranger station and they can tell you how to get to Fallen Leaf. It's just about 10 min from South Lake Tahoe. There are dozens of other crystal alpine lakes up there, so you might want to hike into Desolation Wilderness (you don't need a permit if it's a day hike) and jump into some of those lakes (freezing, but refreshing).

I'd love to hear more info about Madrid Lake--does it have a beach where you can lounge? Do you hike in or drive in? is it crowded?


c_harris08's avatar

Ok fine, i made up lake madrid

Jill_E's avatar

Cant pick one..these are our favorites...Lake Berryessa, Clear Lake, Lafayette Resivour (its a dam but great walking trail around the lake, paddleboating, picnic gorgeous) Lake Shasta and Lake Tahoe (go to North Shore, Marriot, they have adronack chairs outside of the restaurant overlooking the lake and a huge stone fireplace indoor where you can order drinks and appetizer)

This is not a lake, but the Delta during sunset...go over Antioch bridge,drive along 160, along Sacramento River. Stop by Ko Ket in Walnut Grove..they have the best burgers and fries, take out and sit outside along the river.

helena's avatar

Thank you occ! I appreciate all your helpful descriptions! I am excited to see Bass Lake sometime. Fallen Leaf Lake is such a romantic name, maybe we will go there because it sounds beautiful. I saw also other lakes south of Yosemite. Have you been to any of those? I want my friend to be so taken by the beauty of this place that she will move here! Is Bass Lake or Fallen Leaf Lake better to seduce her?

Dear c_harris,
What do you mean you made up Lake Madrid? You are confusing. Tell me if it exists?

Dear Jill E,
This sounds very good, I will try the Sacramento Delta where you mention. Do you know any other special rivers and favorite spots? I don't like to raft, but I love to be near rivers.

bpeoples's avatar

A quick trip is Lake Chabot -- really cute little lake in the Castro Valley.

And, no, there is no Lake Madrid -- and I-40 ends in Bakersfield (6 hours south of Berkeley)

occ's avatar

If you want your friend to fall in love with the bay area and move here, both bass lake and tahoe/fallenleaf lake are good options, for different reasons. Bass lake is great because your friend will see how you can live in an urban area and yet be so close to untouched unspoiled outdoor areas (it takes less than an hour to drive there from berkeley). However, if it happens to be foggy and cold on the day you go to Bass Lake, your friend might not want to move to a place where the sun doesn't shine in August! Tahoe is a much longer drive, and traffic can suck. For someone from Spain it probably won't feel like it's " in the area" because in Europe a four-hour drive takes you to another country! but I do think it's majestic, beautiful, and well worth a long drive. Make sure to check out Emerald Bay while you're in the area. I haven't been to the Yosemite lakes... One thing you should know about Fallen Leaf is that there isn't really a beach there. There is a pier where you can sunbathe and a small patch of sand, but it's nothing like the beaches 15 min away at Lake Tahoe. If you drive to the end of the road at Fallen Leaf Lake you get to a big community building/cafe where you can rent kayaks and paddle out into the lake. My vote would be to take your friend on a lake tour and go to both places!

Jill_E's avatar

Another river we like to go to is American River...theres a hidden camp called Camp Lotus in Lotus, CA (near Placerville) on the way to this campground...theres a huge park pretty much next door, they have picnic tables and the river is right there. Very clean and just really nice. You can see rafters go by. If you are in the Lotus area, check out nearby Placerville area, 'Apple Hill' it is a bunch of farms, orchards etc. in the falls. They have great apples, apple pies, cider etc. I believe if you google "apple hill, placerville, california, map, farms" they would have a map of the farms open to the public. Some close during other seasons than fall.

Russian River, i remember went long ago with my family tubing down the slow moving river. I will have to rediscover that river again and look for nice spots. I heard the town of Guervneville (spell?) is nice.

I heard Truckee River is beautiful too. Thats the next river we will check out. Will let you know.

occ's avatar

Ok, so this question was asked a while ago, but I remembered it and wanted to let you know that I found a great lake within an hour’s drive of Berkeley – check out Del Valle lake/reservoir in Livermore. It’s a beautiful big lake – you can rent boats, kayaks, etc and there’s plenty of nice spots for picnics, swimming, and fishing. Enjoy!

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