take I-580 North in San Leandro. exit Fairmont Drive. make a quick left at the exit then get over on the right lane and make a right on Fairmont Dr. this turns into Lake Chabot Rd. entrance is on the left. park outside (free) or inside (pay) the park.
Summary: Preface this with "I am new to biking, and this was a my first REAL ride".
I went clockwise starting at the golflinks road enterence. It was a .5 mile easy smooth downhill, and then a seemingly endless climb (only about a 2mile section or steady mostly easy climbing). After that it was almost entirely cruising for the next ~5 miles to and around the lake.
There is a rather obnoxious (seemingly even for intermediate riders) drop/climb just before the paved lake trail, that was baddly rutted and steep. I walked down it. I saw many decent looking riders walking up it.
For a first time ride, This seems to be a really good, not too strenuous, almost empty on weekday afternoons, ride. I did it in 2:15 minutes, with no cutoffs and about 11 miles (~2 miles of walking).
In places it is horribly signed, and it is easy to go a ways down a trail and have no idea where you are.
The views are not great, but sections are very decent. The lake and the grassy highlands are surely the highlights.
Recommended Route: I would recommend starting at the Marina (I will from now on... I dont like finishing a ride with a long steady climb, I would rather do it in the middle or start).
Clockwise, there is a relatively easy climb (~4miles), then a short easy downhill to a stone bridge(~.5), an "above easy" uphill(~2), a moderate downhill (~2 mile), and then a decently difficult downhill that lasts about a half mile, and the a cruise to the packing lot.
Conversely, you can start going counter clockwise (lake on your left), and climb the first Crazy hill for about 2.5 miles, and have an almost uninteruppted (aside from a .5 mile climb at the end) downhill all the way home.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Redwood has a good loop, that connects to JM park just a ways up skyline. You can actually access it from the Chabot Loop, if you have the legs for it by rolling past the stone bridge close to Golf Links Road.
This trail, like most, has a silly number of big people with little dogs that will either chase your bike, or try to get caught under it, regarless of your speed, for about the first 3 miles going clockwise. The problem is that there is more than one start point along Skyline, so people show up everywhere, even on week days.
Summary: I usually ride the Chabot trails two to three times a month. The trail system(s) are really fun! I've been riding there since I was itty bitty, even though I'm only 16 now. Recommended trail for intermediate riders. But fun for all!
Recommended Route: Take Brandon Trail (near golf course) up, then theres other trails!
Live Oak is an awsome downhill, but tiring to go up.
The main paived trails are usually packed with people walking on the weekends, so I recommend riding mostly in the back of the park.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Lots, since I live in the Bay Area, but too lazy to write them all.
Summary: I am a beginner and regularly ride my bike to commute about 2.1 mile one way. I have a GMC Topkick heavy as hell piece of sh** and planning to destroy it so that I can justify to my boss (wife) to get a new bike. So, I brought it to lake chabot and did the bike loop thing with my friends (who all have super-duper bikes, yikes!) Despite my bike sux, I still have a ton of fun. We started from the entrance parking lot and go east. There was quite some uphill that tested my endurance and I was having some hard time in the beginning. Once I got totally warm up and found my rhythm, I just kept plowing and plowing. Then, came the rewarding downhill and twist and turn. I fall twice because I was riding too hard and lost my traction. Another time I did not lean enough into the turn and got panic and threw my bike. I was about 2ft away from the edge of the cliff, like, so close to got my ass whooped.. Got some scratches all over my elbow and legs, but sh**, no biggie. Then came this rock garden, my comrade in front shout me a warning "ROCKKKKKSSSSS!!!!!!" I was like, what? what? before I know it, I was fr**king airborned and flying through air. It was rad, too rad for a beginner. My POS bike did not break though and I landed safely and blurted "F*** me". That was the highlight. Other than that, a lot of up and down throughout the trail and good time. I boomed downhill and tried to hit things and see how much abuse my bike could take. At the end of day, it was still in one piece and perfectly fine. But I will be back... and tried harder....
Recommended Route: Get a map at the entrance and follow the bike loops. From the entrance's parking lot, take east shore trail. If you are not into climbing big hills, skip Live Oak Trail (major workout here). Instead, use Cameron go east, then 10 hills north. You will see a Golf Course at the end of 10 hills. Take a bio-break, eat some sh** or something because some more workout soon to follow. Once you depart from the golf course, you will take Brandon Trail and go uphill for another 1.6++ mile. As it is more manageable than the Live Oak, it will still work you out big time. Be prepare, if you have a piece of sh** bike like mine and a beginner, just take your time and don't kill yourself. Once the trail merge with the Bike Loop just follow it and be careful of some downhill and will finally bring you back to the parking lot. There will still be some climbs, but not that bad.
Summary: Do not under estimate Lake Chabot. I approached this trail as to being a loop around the scenery....and found out that it was very much not a stroll through the park....I was very grateful when I was heading downhill at high speeds and slightly losing control of the bike because of the uneven terrain....it was exciting and definitely has become my favorite in this area. If only I could find more trails like this. Please post of any trails that you are aware of and don't hesitate to add your two cents on the experience.
Recommended Route: Lake Chabot Bike Loop
Review Date September 17, 2003
Overall Rating 3 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 2 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a week
Visitors rate this review 3.40 of 5,
Cross Country Rider
Summary: DON'T PARK YOUR CAR IN THE STAGING AREA OFF OF REDWOOD ROAD!! Last Friday I had over $5K worth of sh!t ripped off out of my car from some life sucking azzholes from Castro Valley. This parking area is a PRIME target for these MF'ers because after dusk it's secluded and dark. I‘m WARNING YOU. If you like having your windows smashed and all your sh!t taken, please park there. Otherwise park somewhere else with more light and more people.
Recommended Route: It was: Brandon, red tail, grass valley, goldenrod, west shore, east shore, ten hills. But now that there's no place to park on that side of the park so whos where the hell I'll park/ride tonight.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Skeggs Point(San Mateo). This has got the be some of the best riding on the Bay Area.