Walk a mile or two through history at Lydia Lane Park

Walk a mile or two through history at Lydia Lane Park
Longtime Clayton resident Liz Roberts enjoys walking on the Cardinet Trail with her dog, Henry. The park is one of Clayton’s hidden gems. (Lisa Fulmer photo)

CLAYTON, CA – Editor’s note: Third in a series on Concord and Clayton parks.

Lydia Lane Park has some features that make it a joy to visit – most notably its friendly atmosphere.

Dogwalkers warmly greet young parents with toddlers, offering plenty of quality petting time. Kids politely take turns circling down the spiral slide. An older couple sitting at a table sternly but kindly warn the boys speeding by on their little bikes to slow down … and they do.

Listed as one of seven public parks in Clayton, it’s tucked away at the end of a quiet residential street. The play structure is small and the parking spaces may be few, but the park is very clean with plenty of lush green in the center to bring your lawn chairs and visit with friends. There’s a paved walking path surrounding the park, with a horseshoe pit at the far end (bring your own horseshoes). A posted sign reminds us, however, that horses and golfers are not allowed on the grass.

Cardinet Trail

The main attraction is the George Cardinet Trail – a gravelly route that starts at the park and follows Mt. Diablo Creek about a mile and a half to the Clayton Library. One side of the trail is filled with mature trees amidst rough and tumble bushes growing up through thatchy ground. The other side is adjacent to the backyards of neighborhood homes. Whether you’re on foot or on horseback, with your friend or with your dog, this scenic nature walk is quiet and peaceful.

The trail’s namesake, George Cardinet, is known throughout the state and nation as the “grandfather of trails.” A resident of Concord for 67 years who died in 2007, Cardinet was a lifetime advocate for the development of parks and trails and the preservation of open space in Contra Costa County. He’s credited with mapping and routing more than 200 miles of trails throughout the greater East Bay region.

Cardinet’s work on trails in our county not only served as a model for establishing two California state trails acts in 1945 and 1974, he was also a significant contributor to the National Trails System Act of 1968, which established an extensive system of scenic and historic trails across the country. He was invited to the White House by two separate administrations, Presidents Johnson and Clinton, to receive formal recognition for his accomplishments.

Visit the city of Clayton’s website at ci.clayton.ca.us for more information on its 27 miles of trails and 515 acres of open space.