Concord’s Hillcrest Park holds a treasure trove of hidden gems

Concord's Hillcrest Park holds a treasure trove of hidden gems
The reflective pond at Hillcrest Park in Concord offers a peaceful oasis in a hectic world.

CONCORD, CA—Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of features on parks in Concord and Clayton.

Parks are all about fun, fresh air and exercise, as well as giving us a quiet break from daily stress.

With the pandemic, time spent at a neighborhood park has become even more vital to both our physical and mental well-being, as it offers one of the safest ways to leave the house.

Hillcrest Park, comprised of 26 acres at Grant Street and Olivera Road in Concord, looks pretty basic at first glance – with a big athletic field next to a playground with plenty of parking. However, it’s filled with so much more character than you can see from a drive-by.

Social distancing

While we’re currently restricted from playing team sports, the open field and the path around it are nice for walking the dog without other people in close proximity. There’s a designated area at the west end for flying model airplanes, a time-honored hobby that market researchers say is growing again with recent advancements in technology.

Along the southeast side of the park you’ll find a nine-hole disc golf course. “I’ve seen just how cool this sport is,” says Kevin Cabral, president of the Concord Chamber of Commerce. “Families play together, and individuals hustle through on a lunch break. There’s enough open space to keep the course safe for everyone.

“I’ve lived in Concord my entire life and had only been to Hillcrest a few times. But now with disc golf, I’m at this park every week,” Cabral adds.

Matteo’s Dream

The playground, named Matteo’s Dream, was designed so that children who cannot walk, see or hear can play safely alongside children who can.

North Concord residents Lauren and Matt Mahlke have been taking their two daughters, now 5 and 7, there since they were toddlers.
“We loved the separate playground for little kids. Now that they’re a bit older, they enjoy climbing the rock wall and playing on the monkey bars,” Lauren Mahlke says. “We also take family bike rides down the path in back of the park because it connects to the Iron Horse trail.”

That path starts behind the historic Don Fernando Pacheco Adobe, adjacent to the park. “The first stop is a lovely reflective pond, surrounded by weeping willows and a couple benches,” says North Concord resident Jennifer Granat. “By sitting a while to watch the ducks, all the stress just melts away. It’s also a scenic spot to set up an easel for plein air painting.”

From the pond, take a leisurely stroll through a small grove of redwood trees, and you’ll feel like you’re miles away, deep in a forest. But stay on the lookout for the occasional Frisbee fly-by.

Visit Concord’s Parks & Recreation website at for park hours and rules. For details on the currently vacant adobe property, visit the Neto Community Network blog at

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