Toll Free: 888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 3, extension 4534
Parking: $5 seasonal--weekends and holidays. $4 per trailered vehicle. Buses: $25/per bus. Fees are charged from April 1 to October 31
Dogs: $2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free
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Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area offers a comfortable setting for either small or large group picnics (some by reservation) or informal gatherings of friends and families.
Long before this 222-acre area became a park, it was the site of ranchos, wheat fields, and stations for a narrow-gauge railroad that ran from Oakland to Orinda through Richmond and the Sobrante Hills. Kennedy Grove was once a portion of the 17,754-acre Rancho San Pablo. Francisco Castro took possession of the rancho in 1823. Later the grove was the site of the Clancy Ranch. In 1886 there were scheduled railroad stops of the California and Nevada Railroad at Frenchman's Curve and Laurel Glen. The park's picnic areas are named for some of these historic railroad stops. The eucalyptus trees were planted in 1910. The park was dedicated on October 22, 1967. It was named to honor the late President John F. Kennedy. The area is owned and operated by the East Bay Regional Park District.
This indoor/outdoor facility is popular for corporate events, weddings, parties, etc. The setting is beautifully landscaped, casual and rustic. It accommodates 60 seated or 130 standing guests. It features a kitchen, two rooms connected into an L shape, a private enclosed backyard and two decks. Catering is available. For more information call 1-888-EBPARKS OR 1-888-327-2757, press option 2. This facility is wheelchair accessible. See the Fern Cottage page for more information.
Other features in the park include:
The grove is situated at the base of San Pablo Dam, and its whispering eucalyptus trees offer a fragrant, calm setting for all kinds of activities from company picnics to family reunions. The centrally located turf meadow provides additional play space for picnickers with enough room to toss a Frisbee, pass a football, or set up an informal softball game. (Hardball is not permitted.) Volleyball and horseshoes are popular with all ages, and equipment may be rented for a minimal fee.
Other popular activities include hiking, day camps, bird watching, walking around the lawn asphalt path, special events such as cross country meets. Bounce house permits can be obtained from reservations for certain sites.
To make an indoor facility reservation, call 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2. For more information on our indoor facilities:
Kennedy Grove has certain features which allow some handicapped access to areas of the park. We have 9 handicapped parking spots available and, upon prior arrangement, additional parking can be set aside to accommodate larger groups. There are accessible paths leading from the parking lots into the main grove. Many of our sites can be accessed from the Kennedy Loop Trail which circumnavigates the main lawn (approximately .3 mile) and is a paved level surface.
Hitching Post and Whistle Stop picnic sites have picnic tables which have been modified to accommodate wheelchairs. Hitching Post and Clancy’s place have ADA approved drinking fountains installed. The Fern Cottage reservable facility has a wheelchair ramp up to the building and includes wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Certain unpaved trails such as the Laurel Loop Trail (approximately .53 mile) have minimal elevation gain and loss. Other trails such as the Kennedy Creek Trail leading to the Black Oak Loop Trail have more significant elevation gain/loss but are not necessarily unattainable by persons in wheelchairs. Such persons may be advised to have an assistant.
From the Richmond area:
From I-80 east, take the San Pablo Dam Road exit (Exit 18) and turn right. Proceed through El Sobrante on San Pablo Dam Road to the park entrance on the left, about 0.25 mile south of the intersection with Castro Ranch Road.
From I-80 west, take exit 19A for El Portal Drive. Turn left onto El Portal Drive. Turn left onto San Pablo Dam Road and continue to the park entrance on the left, about 0.25 mile south of the intersection with Castro Ranch Road.
From the Oakland/Orinda/Walnut Creek area:
Take Highway 24 to the Orinda exit and turn north on Camino Pablo, which becomes San Pablo Dam Road. Proceed north on San Pablo Dam Road, past the San Pablo Reservoir Recreation Area entrance, for about one mile to the Kennedy Grove entrance.
Kennedy Grove can be accessed by public transportation via Richmond BART station. The closest stop to the park currently is on the AC Transit 74 line, at the corner of Castro Ranch Road and Sherwood Forest Drive. To reach the park you must go back 1 block to Hillside Drive, and travel about one-half mile to Patra Drive. The park entrance gate just past there, at the end of Hillside Drive, is open during park hours on weekdays only. On weekends you may access the park through the gate at the upper end of Patra Drive, and continue around on Kennedy Creek Trail to Laurel Loop Trail.
There is a fee for parking on weekends and holidays, April through October.
Click the map image below to see an enlarged version.