Hey all… looks like I unofficially abandoned my blog last week. My apologies… June was tough and I’m hoping that now that I’ve officially moved (and mostly unpacked), celebrated two birthdays, hosted our first gathering, and nearly finished the remodel projects on my loft, that July will be a bit smoother sailing…
As last weekend’s temps hit into the 80’s and my BBQ guests wilted into the shady patches of my yard, I decided it might be nice to feature some of the best summertime hang spots in Oaktown. Here’s one of my favorites…
Lake Temescal (in Temescal Park)
Named for the Temescal Creek that flows into this waterway, this gem is perched at the intersections of highways 24 and 13 in the Oakland foothills, and as far as I know, is the only unclorinated body of water available for swimming in Oakland, other than the bay and your bathtub.
The creek was dammed in 1868 to create a drinking water reservoir for the greater East Bay. According to Wikipedia, “the bulk of the manual labor of removing soil and digging to bedrock was provided by Chinese immigrants, who probably immigrated to work to build the railroads, [and] herds of wild mustangs were used to compact the tons of dirt that were brought to create the dam.” Can you imagine herds of wild mustangs in the hills?
Temescal Park (including the lake) opened in 1936 as one of the East Bay Regional Park District’s first three parks. It features lovely lawns (ideal for croquet, badmitton, etc), picnic areas galore under mature shady trees, and small trails that skirt the lake. I’ve hosted at least three birthday parties here and they’ve all been beautiful fun-filled days!
We rushed over there during a particularly searing Saturday (a week ago) when we realized our local pool was already closed due to the late hour of the day… the beach was packed, the water temperature perfect, and the beach attendant had just put away his cash box. Woo hoo! (though the $3 fee normally required is certainly reasonable.)
The swimming area is roped off… shallow areas for free swim and a deeper section for lane swimming. Lifeguards are on duty from 11am to 6pm, but you can swim at your own risk during any open park hours – 5am to 10pm – though the lake is closed to swimming from November thru March.
There’s a nice little beach area for sunbathing, a historic beachhouse constructed from stone by the WPA in 1940, and trails that surround the lake providing access for fishing. The lake is stocked in the summer with catfish and rainbow trout in the winter, but also hosts largemouth bass, red-eared sunfish, and bluegill.
I love this spot!
NOTES: parking lots are $5 and dogs are not allowed on swimming beach or in swimming area of lake