Hacienda and Pleasanton Offer Plenty of Parks for Outdoor Relaxation and Enjoyment

A wonderful California spring is here again and with it, the opportunity to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. Whether your idea of fun involves organized sports, nature hikes, or simply taking a stroll to get some fresh air, the hundreds of acres of parklands in Hacienda and Pleasanton have something for you.

Hacienda Parks

For park employees and residents, the search for a park ends just steps outside your door.

On the south side of the park, Creekside Park - accessible from W. Las Positas Boulevard between Owens Drive and Stoneridge Drive - provides a 6.6 acre open lawn for activities such as soccer and softball, in addition to basketball and volleyball courts, a picnic area, and a special area with play structures that were refreshed just last year.

Walking north from Creekside Park will take you to Hacienda's Linear Park, a 2.85 acre recreational areas to rest in or walk. The Linear Park is also the location of a segment of the Iron Horse Trail as it passes through Hacienda. Further north, it connects with Owens Plaza Park, a three acre space adjacent to the Park Hacienda apartment complex which is accessible off Owens Drive at Rosewood Drive. Owens Plaza Park features more play areas, picnic space, and a handsome pergola.

Creekside Park, the Linear Park, and Owens Plaza Park are also all part of the Iron Horse Trail, a multi-use trail between the cities of Concord and Pleasanton which follows the Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way established in 1891 and abandoned in 1977. As of 2014, the completed segments of this trail span a distance of 32 miles. The latest segment of the Trail, which closed a gap of 1.8 miles from the Pleasanton/Dublin BART station to Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton, opened to the public on August 19, 2014, after almost 30 years of planning and funding efforts.

Hacienda also hosts a 2.3 mile, 18 station outdoor parcourse which provides a variety of exercises and equipment to round out a running oriented workout. A map showing each station is available from the Hacienda Owners Association at 4305 Hacienda Drive. The most recent park addition to Hacienda is Harding Park, newly finished from construction, which is located immediately west of the new Galloway at Hacienda project off Gibraltar Drive. Harding Park will be opening in just a few weeks and will offer a pleasant respite in a new Hacienda location.

City Parks

The City of Pleasanton provides a veritable wonderland of parks. There are 44 community and neighborhood parks, over 24 miles of trails, and more than 600 acres of undeveloped open space.

Near Hacienda you'll find the 2.7 acre Sutter Gate Neighborhood Park at 4801 Sutter Gate Avenue, which offers a children's play area and picnic tables. Also nearby is Woodthrush Neighborhood Park, a 3.5 acre space at 5099 Woodthrush Road, a good place for an afternoon walk or reading under a shade tree. The 14 acres of Fairlands Neighborhood Park, at 4100 Churchill Drive, include two tennis courts and a children's play area.

2008 saw the opening of the Alviso Adobe Community Park, a $4.5 million interpretive park that tells the story of California from its earliest human history, with a special focus on the Amador Valley. The crown jewel of the 7 acre park is an adobe home that was constructed in 1854 by Francisco Alviso and was in continuous use until 1969. The structure, registered as a California Historical Landmark, is the centerpiece of a site which offers dramatic views of the surrounding area. The general public can take self-guided tours of Alviso Adobe Community Park during the week each Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The park is closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and holidays.

Sports Parks

Pleasanton's sports facilities are numerous and impressive. Baseball and soccer fields abound but there are also specialized facilities for golf, tennis, swimming, skateboarding, BMX, and bocce, as well as for our canine companions.

Not far from Hacienda is the 103 acre Ken Mercer Sports & Recreation Community Park, at 5800 Parkside Drive, just off Hopyard Road. It boasts nearly two dozen playing fields - for soccer, hardball, Little League, adult softball, softball, football, basketball, and volleyball. Other highlights include batting cages and a skateboard track. The park has a number of additional amenities, from a picnic area and a youth play lot to a concession stand and restrooms. A 2.15 mile peripheral path around the park is perfect for walks and runs. There is also a footbridge over the Pleasanton Canal. For information about league sports, contact the city's Parks & Community Services Department at (925) 931-5340.

Also nearby is the Tennis and Community Park at 5801 Valley Avenue, at the corner of Hopyard Road. This facility offers 10 lighted courts which open to the public from 8:00 a.m. each day, weather permitting, along with leagues and lessons at both the youth and adult level. The courts are occasionally available on a drop-in basis, but reservations are suggested. Call (925) 931-3449 for information.

Open since November 2005, the 18 hole public Callippe Preserve Golf Course is set among the foothills of southeast Pleasanton at 8500 Clubhouse Drive. Ringed by three miles of hiking trails, the course is surrounded by 280 acres of public and private land destined to remain open space. Along with spectacular scenery, amenities include two practice putting greens, a driving range, and a spacious clubhouse with restaurant seating for nearly 200 people. Tee times and lessons can be booked online at www.playcallippe.com. Other options for golfers include two world-class private courses, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ruby Hill Golf Club and the Castlewood Country Club golf course, as well as public courses including Pleasanton Fairways, Canyon Lakes, Sunol Valley, Poppy Ridge, Springtown, Las Positas and The Course at Wente Vineyards.

For water lovers, the Dolores Bengtson Aquatic Center at 4455 Black Avenue offers four heated pools including a 50 meter Olympic size pool; a shallow pool with a waterslide; a 25 meter lap pool with attached diving well and two one-meter diving boards; as well as locker room facilities and areas for picnics and lounging outside. The pools are heated to 80 degrees year round. Open swim times are available, as are organized water exercise programs and aqua aerobics. Call (925) 931-3420 for information.

Another nearby facility, Val Vista Community Park, accommodates a broad variety of activities. Located west of Hacienda at 7350 Johnson Drive, Val Vista is equipped with picnic tables and barbecue pits, soccer and baseball fields, and a children's play area as well as a well-tended community garden, with plots available to rent to Pleasanton residents. Bordering a perimeter walking path, it's a great place to stroll for inspiration on the produce to plant this summer. For the high-energy set, the stand-out attraction is the 25,000 square foot sculpted concrete basin designed with input from its user community of skateboarders and inline skaters. Helmets and kneepads are required. A city-sponsored recreational roller hockey program for youth in grades 1-9 is also based in the park

At 3320 Stanley Boulevard, a special park for BMX riders serves all riding levels, with one track reserved for beginners and young children and another for more experienced riders which includes a mountain bike area and challenging jumps. Both are inspected and maintained by a former BMX pro. The park, which also includes a bike repair/work table, a viewing area and picnic tables, and parking and restrooms, is open during daylight hours year-round, weather permitting. Riders are required to wear helmets.

Bocce courts, home to beginner and advanced league teams, are located at Centennial Community Park, 5353 Sunol Boulevard next to the Senior Center.

The four-legged set will enjoy chasing Frisbees, socializing with friends, or having a good run at the linear dog park in Muirwood Community Park, 4701 Muirwood Drive. Two designated areas separate larger and smaller species.

Regional Parks

You can get a new perspective on Amador Valley from two parks on Pleasanton's western edge. Augustin Bernal Park is a 237 acre wilderness area on the Pleasanton Ridge, providing spectacular views of the valley and the opportunity to hike through a vast array of native plants. Access the park through Golden Eagle Drive off Foothill Road; non-residents must first obtain a pass at the Community Services Department or, on weekends, at Alviso Adobe Community Park. The adjacent Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park sprawls over 5,271 acres and surges up to elevations of 1,600 feet. The main staging area on Foothill Road leads to a multi-purpose trail system that accommodates hikers, equestrians, bicyclists, and visitors who use electric wheelchairs.

Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, a mile from downtown Pleasanton on Stanley Boulevard, is a former gravel quarry which was donated to the Park District by Kaiser Industries and opened as a park in 1971. Its assessed value of $250,000 was used to obtain a matching grant for development of the park from the U.S. Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. From that start, the East Bay Regional Park District has developed a 266 acre park including an 80 acre lake and ample parking and picnic grounds, as well as facilities for persons with disabilities. Besides the main lake, Shadow Cliffs has an arroyo with a chain of smaller lakes and ponds. No swimming or boating is allowed here, allowing its shady areas and quiet waters to become a peaceful retreat on hot summer days.

With a five mile long lake surrounded by 5,395 acres of land for hiking, horseback riding, and nature study, Del Valle Regional Park, on Del Valle Road just a few miles south of Interstate 580 in Livermore, offers a rich variety of activities. Under normal conditions, sailboats, sailboarders, and swimmers are welcome year-round and visitors can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes or launch their own boats from the public boat ramp. However, an infestation of toxic blue green algae means that all bodily contact with the water is forbidden. Even without aquatic activities, though, the park offers many interpretive programs on natural history and lake ecology as well as hiking, horseback riding, and nature study. The eastern gateway to the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, Del Valle also features a 150 site campground. For reservations and trail maps, go to: www.ebparks.org/parks/del_valle/.

Another option for hiking, along with picnic sites, barbecue pits, equestrian trails, and overnight camping, is the nearly 7,000 acres of the Sunol Regional Wilderness at 1895 Geary Road, Sunol. The Sunol naturalist staff provides additional opportunities to enjoy the park by leading nature hikes and coordinating special events. Artifacts from the Native Americans who first lived in this area, including bedrock mortars used for pounding acorns that were found in the area, are also found in the area. Reserve overnight tent camping sites by calling 1-888-EBPARKS. Visitors are advised that there is no drinking water in the park.

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