Shadow Cliffs Park in Pleasanton California


With all of the rain and icky weather this past week, we thought a forward look to better weather and spring time would be a good idea. One of Pleasanton’s favorite warmer weather past times is Shadow Cliffs Park and beach.

Shadow Cliffs was once a gravel quarry pit, given away to the Park District Association in 1971. It has since been developed into a luxury boating, fishing and swimming park, less than one mile from downtown Pleasanton. It should come as no surprise this park has been a very popular spot for residents of Pleasanton, particularly at weekends.

Many East Bay Parks and Recreation areas:


There are many smaller lakes in Shadow Cliffs where boating and swimming is not permitted. These quiet areas are reserved for wildlife and those looking for a more peaceful retreat from the heat of the afternoon sun in summer.

The park covers a whopping 266 acres, which includes the massive 80-acre lake for boating and fishing. There are plenty of parking spaces, even at busier times and several picnic tables which can be reserved in advance through the park authority’s website. Usually, families can cook on provided bbq pits and play on the grassy areas beside the reserved areas. No alcohol is permitted on the park at any time.

There is a swim beach here where bathers will find soft white sand and a lifeguard on duty. The lifeguard is only on duty during the summer months, so winter swimmers must bathe at their own risk.


There are a few restrictions for swimmers to consider: pets are not permitted on the sand and any glass or bottled liquids must be transferred to a plastic container. No swimming is allowed in the arroyo (smaller lakes) areas of the park.

Shadow Cliffs is a superb place to fish. Anglers can expect to see plenty of trout and even some catfish here, as the fish are replenished on a weekly basis to keep stock levels high. Blue Gill and Black Bass fish are a common catch in the lake too. Every year the park holds a Fishing Derby which can attract hundreds of onlookers and picnickers to the event. All anglers must apply for a Park District Daily Fishing Access Permit.

Boat owners may also launch their own vessels here too. There is a 17-foot boat limit and only electric motor-powered boats are allowed. Jet skis are not welcome on the lake, ever.

Shadow Cliffs is also a peaceful recreational area to see a number of wild birds along its two walking trails. So whether you are a fisherman, birdwatcher or just want a relaxing day with your family, then Shadow Cliffs is a must see.