Waterdog Lake, Belmont, California

Sometimes we don’t have to travel far for good photography, hiking, riding or just enjoying the outdoors. The images below were all taken in a neighborhood park right in my town.

The hills around the park are very steep and there is a deep valley with an old reservoir. It might have been the early water source for the town. It is called “Waterdog Lake” and sometimes you see it spelled “Water Dog Lake”. Which one is correct?

  • waterdog: small to moderate-sized terrestrial or semiaquatic New World salamander
  • water dog: a person (such as a skilled sailor) who is quite at ease in or on water
  • water dog and waterdog: a dog who swims especially well, especially one that retreives water fowl
  • Since the lake is too small for sailboats, and hunting isn’t allowed,  it makes more sense to me to call it ‘Waterdog Lake’ as there are quite a few salamanders in the area!

Waterdog Lake is more of a reservoir than a lake as it is defined by a big dam across the valley. Nowadays they keep the water level low and the water is apparently used for feeding the stream below. There is a dock that provides access to the big drain underneath the lake. The lake is always teaming with wildlife.

The image below was taken from the dam in the early morning when the sun rose just enough to illuminate the trees lining the opposite side of the valley.

A person standing on a dock watching a lake with a pair of ducks

There is always activity on the lake. Here a pair of ducks feeding while a person watching from the dock

The main path through the park is ‘Lake Road Trail’. I think this is a remanent of an old road ‘Lake Road’, which once must have been the main path from the valley below to the mountain above. Today Ralston Avenue is the main road through Bemont. The Lake Road Trail is a very pleasant walk meandering back and forth along the valley. There are many benches for hiker to rest and admire the view along Lake Road Trail. Belmont’s residents have a nice place to walk because this road would have been difficult to widen enough to carry the traffic that travels on Ralston Avenue.

One of my favorite early spring vistas is the sunrise one can see sitting on the bench high along Lake Road Trail. Higher up, the John Brooks Trail offers a view of the same area from a different angle.

A person sitting on a bench watching the sunrise

Watching the sunrise over a distance hill from one of the many benches along the Lake Road Trail.

A tree lined valley with fog and early morning sun

Oak and bay tree line the hillside glittering in the early morning sun under clear blue sky and the valley is filled with low hanging fog, Waterdog Lake Park, Belmont, California

In the early morning, the north side of the valley gets the first soft light which brings out the color in the trees. In many places, the trees form a canopy over the trails as if to create a tunnel. The soft morning light illuminates the inside of the tunnel in a pleasant way. In other places, the sun shines right through the vegetation creating scenes that resemble Sci-Fai movies where the hero might be going towards the bright light passing into a different world.

Being so close to the city, the park has more than its fair share of junk. There are several old rusted automobile that found a way to get deep into the woods. It is sometimes difficult to get close to them and there is poison oak, so be careful trying to photograph them. One must assume that there were fewer trees in the area at the time the vehicles were rolled down the hill, because today it would have been impossible to get through.

Abandoned old rusty car

Another one of the old rusty wracked cars that decorate the park. This one is on the John Boorks Trail


The Map of Waterdog Lake Park below is from http://www.mappery.com/map-of/Water-Dog-Lake-Park-Trail-Map