Burton Valley is the peaceful Mayberry of Lafayette – a neighborhood full of kids on bikes, grassy parks, creek walks, a top-rated elementary school and swim clubs. And it is just minutes from charming downtown Lafayette with chic shops, delicious dining and popular town festivals.
Tucked in the “back” of Lafayette, away from the bustle of the freeway and downtown, Burton Valley is one of Lafayette’s four main neighborhoods, which also include Reliez Valley, Happy Valley and Downtown Lafayette.
It is a quiet and coveted neighborhood once filled with pear and walnut orchards prior to the 1920s. Now Burton Valley is known for sprawling ranch and traditional homes built between 1937 and 2016, with lawns and oaks in front and swimming pools in back. The median listing price on a house for sale has held steady at $1.3 million for the last few years.
Ranch-style homes and friendly neighbors
Abio Properties agent Mariah Bradford, a lifelong resident of Lamorinda, says original ranchers abound — and original mailboxes. “You can do a walking tour of Burton Valley just to admire the old kooky mailboxes! I have a plan to take photos and make a ‘Mailboxes of Lafayette’ yearly calendar (which will be followed by the ‘Obligatory Driveway Basketball Hoops That No One Uses’ yearly calendar),” she jokes.
Naturally, many houses have been updated and converted with Craftsman-style accents.
Burton Valley is an especially welcoming ‘burb — a mostly flat area where neighbors are out walking dogs, pushing strollers and pedaling to school on bikes. Epic Halloween nights bring the community together, especially along the favorite trick-or-treating loop near Burton Valley Elementary School.
Top schools, parks and trails
Burton Valley has it all, but the biggest draw might be the K-5 school, which earned a perfect score of 10 from Greatschools.org. Even on non-school days, you’ll find families and Little Leaguers enjoying Burton Valley Elementary’s generous fields.
The area’s Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for outdoor living, recreation, barbeques and gardening (happy tomatoes and lavender!). Parks, trails and sports facilities are just minutes away. Las Trampas and Grizzly creeks wind through Burton Valley.
Mariah says locals love their “secret” Silverado Park, shaded by towering oak trees. Walk through the little park for an easy shortcut to Lafayette Community Center and the Community Park.
Lafayette Community Park is 68 acres of sports fields, playgrounds, nature trails and a pétanque court (French bocce). Walk, bike or ride horses along the nearby Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail, a 7.65-mile park that parallels St. Mary’s Road through Lafayette and Moraga.
(Trail fun fact: Mule trains used to carry redwood from Oakland to Sacramento along this trail before steam trains replaced them. In later years, the parks system took over the abandoned Sacramento Northern Railroad tracks to create one of the first rail-trails in California.)
Got hockey? Yes Burton Valley does! The outdoor Lafayette Rink on St. Mary’s Road is equipped with full sized hockey dasher boards, basketball hoops, hockey goals and a sport court surface.
Got goggles? This neighborhood also is home to two swim clubs: Rancho Colorados Swim & Tennis Club, nestled in scenic oak studded hills, and Las Trampas Pool, located on the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail.
Burton Valley may be tucked away in Lafayette, but it is not isolated. Mariah notes how easy it is to get to Moraga and Orinda. “You just hop over the hill and you can catch a flick at the awesome Rheem Theatre in Moraga or cut over to Orinda.”