15 Best Outdoor Activities in the Tri-Valley
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15 Best Outdoor Activities in the Tri-Valley

The Tri-Valley is a Northern California region packed with gorgeous landscapes and outdoor adventures for nature-lovers and thrill-seekers alike. From breathtaking hikes to exhilarating bike rides, serene swimming holes to challenging rock climbing routes, and tranquil nature viewing to heart-pumping BMX tracks, the Tri-Valley offers an array of activities for every outdoor enthusiast. 

1. Hiking

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging ascent, the Tri-Valley boasts a variety of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. Tackle steep inclines to take in sweeping views or meander through woodlands and meadows. Here are some of the top outdoor recreation spaces to get your hike on.

  • Mount Diablo State Park
    As one of the highest peaks in the Bay Area, Mount Diablo State Park remains a popular destination for hikers, bikers, sightseers, and more. One of the most popular hiking trails at this park is the Summit Trail, which leads hikers to the mountain’s highest peak at 3,849 feet, allowing for breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
  • Las Trampas Regional Park
    Featuring nearly 6,000 acres of open space, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness spans across two counties and three towns. During spring, this park is known as one of the best places to find wildflowers. The most popular hiking trail at Las Trampas is the Rocky Ridge View Trail, offering sweeping views of the Diablo Range and San Francisco Bay. 
  • Del Valle Regional Park
    Del Valle Regional Park is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers have the option between low-lying oak-studded canyons, lakeside trails, or lofty ridge line views. One of the most popular hiking trails at Del Valle Regional Park is the East Shore Trail, offering picturesque views of Lake Del Valle and ample opportunities for wildlife spotting.

2. Cyling/Biking

If you’re looking for a mellow trail that weaves past wineries or challenging cycling routes that are fit for high-level competitions, the Tri-Valley has plenty of variety for bicyclists. Check out some of our top cycling and biking trails in the Tri-Valley.

  • Iron Horse Trail
    The Iron Horse Regional Trail is a beloved cycling route that spans approximately 32 miles, connecting Tri-Valley cities of Dublin, Danville and Pleasanton. This scenic, partially shaded trail follows the path of a former railway and offers a smooth, paved surface perfect for road cycling. 
  • Livermore Valley Wine Country
    For a unique cycling experience, explore the scenic vineyards and rolling hills of Livermore Valley Wine Country. This picturesque region offers a network of roads and cycling routes that wind through vineyards, olive groves, and breathtaking landscapes. Download our Livermore Valley Wine Country map!
  • Mount Diablo State Park
    The ride up this iconic peak, standing at 3,849 feet tall, is known for its demanding climb and rewarding views along the way. As you pedal up the winding roads, you’ll be treated to panoramic views that reach as far as the Sierra Nevada Mountains. One of the most popular cycling routes at Mount Diablo State Park is the Summit Climb starting from Danville’s South Gate Entrance.  
For those looking for a more leisurely ride, rent an electric bike or book a guided tour at Pedego in Livermore
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3. Swimming

Beat the heat and take a refreshing dip in one of the Tri-Valley’s various swimming holes. Whether you prefer remote reservoirs, community splash pads, or bustling waterparks, you’ll find ample opportunities to cool off. See our favorite outdoor swim spots below! 

  • Lake Del Valle 
    Located within Del Valle Regional Park, this picturesque lake offers a perfect setting for swimming and water activities. There are two swimming beaches located in the park, but swimming is allowed throughout most of this lengthy 5-mile lake.
  • The Wave Waterpark
    This family-friendly waterpark features thrilling water slides, a splash pad playground, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The Wave Waterpark offers an exciting aquatic experience for visitors of all ages. View our What to Do in Dublin guide for nearby restaurant recommendations and other actitivities.
  • Sycamore Valley Park
    This kid-friendly water play area is a favorite destination for families with young children. Enjoy the rest of the park grounds after drying off, which include sports fields, basketball courts, and large lawns to picnic on.

4. Rock Climbing

See the Tri-Valley from an entirely different perspective while scaling heights at Mount Diablo State Park. Rock climbers of all skill levels are welcome to explore the variety of rock formations and climbing routes housed in this California State Park. Rock City, located within Mount Diablo State Par, is home to the Boy Scout Rocks, a popular climbing site with over 12 routes. 

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5. Golfing

Tee off amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Tri-Valley’s award-winning golf courses. Challenge yourself on meticulously manicured fairways, and navigate difficult greens at some of the best golf courses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out some of our favorite places to yell “fore”!

  • The Course at Wente Vineyards 
    Known for its three distinct topographies, this Tri-Valley golf course was designed by golf great Greg Norman. The 18-hole championship course is a picturesque 7,181-yard, par-72, golf course tucked away in the scenic Livermore Valley Wine Country.
  • Callippe Preserve Golf Course
    Located in Pleasanton, this picturesque course blends challenging holes with stunning natural surroundings, making it a favorite destination for golf enthusiasts.

6. Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a popular outdoor activity the Tri-Valley, calling back to its longstanding history when farming, ranching and cowboy communities flourished in this region. Equestrians have a multitude of open park spaces to choose from. Read below for the top parks in the Tri-Valley for horseback riding.

  • Del Valle Regional Park
    This regional park frames a 5-mile long lake, which is surrounded by a complex network of lake-side trails. There are numerous staging areas within the park and also the sound end of Arroyo Road. 
  • Mount Diablo State Park
    Equestrians are welcome to ride their horses throughout the entirety of the 20,000-acre park with the exception of the Mary Bowerman Trail and anywhere above the lower summit parking lot. The park also features one approved horse camp site, which can hold up to 50 people and 50 horses

7. Star Gazing

With virtually zero light pollution for up to 100 miles south of Del Valle Regional Park, visitors are able to spot star clusters, nebulae, and based on the time of the year, even Jupiter! While some of these celestial beauties can be seen from the naked eye, we recommend bringing a telescope. 

8. Mountain Biking

For adrenaline junkies, the Tri-Valley is home to a number of outdoor areas which feature mountain biking trails for all skill levels. Ride through rugged terrain, navigate exciting single track trails, and enjoy the region’s stunning scenery. Check out the following outdoor recreation spaces that feature ideal terrain and biking trails for mountain biking. 

  • Del Valle Regional Park
    Located in Livermore, Del Valle Regional Park features over 4,300 acres of open space. Popular mountain biking trails include the East Shore Trail, which offers fantastic views of Lake Del Valle. 
  • Brushy Peak Regional Preserve
    This scenic park is home to the popular technical single track trail, Brushy Peak Loop Trail. During spring, the hillsides throughout the park are usually sprinkled with various wildflowers.
  • Sycamore Grove Park
    This picturesque 847-acre open space features a network of trails throughout the park fit for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Both Meadowlark Loop Trail and Cattail Pond Loop feature mellow single track terrain. 

9. Fishing

World-class anglers and amateur fishers alike will find plenty of opportunities to cast their lines in the Tri-Valley. Here are a few of the most popular fishing spots.

  • Lake Del Valle
    Known for its excellent fishing, Lake Del Valle is regularly stocked with catfish and trout. Fishers may also reel up large and small mouth bass, striped bass and panfish. 
  • Los Vaqueros Reservoir
    Situated on the outskirts of Livermore and known as one of the best fishing venues in the area. 
  • Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area
    Shadow Cliffs lake is stocked weekly with trout and catfish, but there are also bluegill and black bass. This park features a wheelchair accessible fishing pier. Located just a mile from Downtown Pleasanton.

10. Camping

Pitch your tent or park your RV at a Tri-Valley campground to enjoy temperate year-round weather and incredible scenery. Whether you’re looking for a rustic, remote experience, a group or equestrian camp, or a place with modern, “glamping” amenities, there are plenty of campsites to choose from for those willing to rough it. 

  • Whiskey Ranch
    Located in the rolling hills of Livermore, this unique campsite shares its space with a wheat farm that’s made into whiskey at a local distillery. Each campsite features a bell tent equipped with furniture, picnic table, and camping stove.
  • Mount Diablo State Park 
    This park is popular spot for hikers, cyclists, equestrians, rock climbers, air gliders, nature enthusiasts, and campers alike, featuring panoramic views of the entire Bay Area. Mount Diablo State Park features three family campgrounds: Live Oak, Juniper, and Junction, as well as five group campgrounds: Buckeye, Barbecue Terrace, Wildcat, Stagecoach and Boundary. 
  • Del Valle Regional Park
    Del Valle Regional Park is a great place for year-round camping and features several water activities, swimming beaches, and a Visitors Center. The park is home to  150 tent and RV campsites, including 5 cabins, two wheelchair accessible sites, and  21 sites with water and sewage and electrical hook ups (120 volt, 50 and 30 amp). 

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11. BMX

Located near Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area and Downtown Pleasanton, the Pleasanton BMX Park is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s last public BMX parks that feature jumps and tracks for all ages. Sparing visitors the bells and whistles, there is no admission, parking, or other fees associated with visiting. Just show up and ride!

12. Picnicking

There are plenty of places to picnic in the Tri-Valley and picking a spot is made easy with our Picnic Planning Guide. Whether you’re planning a family-friendly day, a date with your loved one, or a big group outing with friends or colleagues, here are some of our top picnic areas in the Tri-Valley.

  • Emerald Glen Park
    This Dublin park is not only centrally located and easily accessible, it also features a variety of amenities like spacious grassy areas, sports fields, playgrounds, and an aquatic park. This community park has 5 picnic sites that can host anywhere from 24-200 guests. 
  • Morgan Territory Regional Preserve
    The views from Morgan Territory are breathtaking, and make for a perfect picnic backdrop. On clear days, visitors can see Mt. Diablo to the west, Mount St. Helena towards the north, and even the snow-capped Sierras to the east from the top of the preserves’ ridges.
  • Retzlaff Vineyards
    Retzlaff Vineyards boasts award-winning wines while being the only California Certified Organic vineyard in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Their large, shaded lawn is the perfect venue for a picnic with family or friends. 

13. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

The calm conditions at Lake Del Valle make it the perfect place to try your hand at a variety of water activities like stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, wind surfing and more. If you don’t own your own gear, rent a stand up paddle board, kayak, or windsurf from the rental stand on the swimming beach closest to the marina. 

14. Nature Viewing

From tranquil parks to expansive open spaces, the Tri-Valley is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Whether you like to birdwatch, learn about rare and endangered species, or simply enjoy being in the great outdoors, the Tri-Valley is home to several opportunities for to view wildlife.

  • Sycamore Grove Park
    This Livermore park is home to a variety of wildlife. Along the Arroyo Del Valle you might see frogs, pond turtles, dragonflies, ducks or even muskrats. Visitors often see deer, ground squirrels, butterflies, lizards and birds such as red-tail hawks, white-tail kites, scrub jays, magpies and meadowlarks.
  • Del Valle Regional Park
    Del Valle Regional Park features a 5-mile lake teeming with wildlife and wildflowers. Throughout the year, several water birds can be spotted in and around the lake. Most notably, bald eagles are frequently seen nesting in the trees surrounding the lake. There are also large colonies of cliff swallows, which build thousands of gourd-shaped nests on rocks and caves along the shoreline.
  • Brushy Peak Regional Preserve
    This park’s rugged rock formations served as hideouts for bandits during California’s Gold Rush era, including the notorious Mexican outlaw, Joaquin Murietta. Today, it’s grasslands and woodlands provide homes for a variety of wildlife species, including the federally protected California red-legged frogs and the California tiger salamanders.

15. Boating

Luckily for all the skippers out there, boating in the Tri-Valley is easy and accessible. Launch any size boat at Lake Del Valle (launching fees apply) or select from a variety of rental vessels at the marina. Pick from the fleet of paddle boats, motorboats, pontoons. Boat rentals are first come first serve, and they go quickly, so make sure to get to the marina early to secure your spot! 

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