OUP Walk: Rockridge Ramble

On November 10th over 30 walkers and three dogs convened for the Oakland Urban Paths Rockridge Ramble. The 4-mile walk benefited from a post rain glow of sun and a hardy group of walkers well suited for the vigorous outing. The route covered 12 stair/pathway runs of varying styles and conditions and a pedestrian overcrossing. Walkers had a chance to appreciate pathways with and without wayfinding signs. Other memorable features of the walk included great views, a variety of street lamp styles, vacant lots (gap tooth reminders of the ’91 Berkeley Oakland Hills fire), and a diversity of post-fire architecture. All along the way, curious neighbors who asked what we are doing nodded and smiled knowingly when we told them we were checking out the stairs.

Check out our route below:
Rockridge Ramble at EveryTrail

The walk started at the recently refurbished Rockridge BART Plaza. To start we ducked underneath SR 24 and headed east along Miles. The route was designed to give the group an up close look at the underbelly of SR 24 and gain a further appreciation of the tranquility of the neighborhoods we would soon encounter.

Crossing over Boadway via pedestrian bridge, we were able to spy a small park between Brodway and the freeway with a marker for Byron Rumford. Mr. Rumford was a local politician and African American civic leader, and a member of the CA legislature from 1948-1966. Highway 24 is the Rumford Freeway named in his honor. You can learn more about him on the City of Oakland’s New Era, New Politics tour walking tour.

As the group climbed and plunged into the bends and folds of Rockridge, we were able to appreciate the retrofitted handrails at Brookside Lane.

At the top of Brookside Lane, the vegetation and housing are distinctly post-fire. When descending the lower run of Chaumont Path south of Buena Vista we had a chance to take a printed copy of poetry from the poetry steps, tended to by a caring neighbor. At the bottom of those same steps we met a long-time resident who told us about the day of the hills fire and how the winds blew in a favorable direction to spare his house.

The intersection of Romany and Golden Gate is interesting for a couple of reasons.

  1. While currently signed as Romany and Golden Gate, the sidewalk is stamped with two totally different street names.
  2. There are two very unique street lamp styles, in very close proximity. On this walk there were a total of three unique street lamp styles.

We wound along the pleasantly shady sidewalk of Romany and crossed the four-point intersection of Romany and Cross for our final bits of climbing. The Locarno Path is always fun to walk. It’s double-wide with balustrades and makes you feel grand as you get ready for the grand view on Alpine.

At the top of the Locarno Path on Apline, I was told by one of our walkers that we were indeed near the fabled Rockridge Rock. The exact location of said rock has been a topic of discussion on Andrew Alden’s blog.

We completed the ramble by descending the Margardio steps that were refurbished by the City of Oakland in 2010. On those stairs a couple of years ago, I had the chance to meet the owner of the adjacent house who apologized for contributing to the previous stairs demise. He told me that as a boy, his dad asked him to pull out a young tree growing near the stairs. He told his dad he had done this chore, but hadn’t and years later the mature tree would grow to uproot the stairs and landing.

Thanks to all our happy walkers, we’re looking forward to closing out this year’s walking tours with you next month on our Walk and Shop III.


Great April and May walks coming up…

There are a couple of great walks coming up. Join us!

April 14 – Laurel to the Redwoods

Join us on Saturday, April 14th to trek from the Laurel District to the Redwoods. We are very excited to have Oakland historian Dennis Evanosky joining us to share area history with us.

  • This strenuous 5-mile walk includes stairs, hills and uneven terrain. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and snacks. Strong walkers only, please.
  • Meet in front of St. Lawrence O’Toole Roman Catholic Church at 10:00am. We will return no later than 1:00pm. Taking a #54 AC bus back to the starting point from Merritt College is an option for a quicker return.
  • Heavy rain cancels, light rain doesn’t (Walking in the rain is ok, ‘ya know we need it).
  • Sorry, no dogs allowed.

We’ll start at the church and head for McCrea Memorial Park to check out Oakland’s own casting ponds. After crossing Highway 13 via pedestrian overcrossing, we’ll check out the Leona Lodge before climbing alongside the waterfalls of Leona Heights Park and end our exploration with a great bay view from the Merritt College parking lot.

May 6th – Jane’s Walk: Exploring Oakland’s History on Foot with
Interactive Audio

We’re planning to continue our tradition of hosting walk(s) as part of the Jane’s Walk celebration, in coordination with the California Preservation Foundation’s annual conference (in Oakland!) during the first week in May.

  • 5/6, 10am
  • Meet at NE Corner of 11th and Broadway in front of the Key System Building Mural.


Time to Rock and Walk

Thanks to all who turned out for our first Rock and Walk and especially to Andrew Alden for sharing his geologic insights with us. Our route map is displayed below and a copy of the brochure we handed out is available here for you to use and share with your friends. A nifty blog post with pictures, route and historical links is available at ouroakland.net and Andrew Alden’s own comments are online, with comments from around the world.









It’s time to Rock and Walk! Join us on Saturday, February 11th to explore Oakland’s unique geology and quarry legacy with Oakland geologist Andrew Alden of Oakland Geology.

If this topic gets you excited, you might also want to consider attending Andrew’s talk with the Oakland Heritage Alliance on Thursday, February 9th.

We’ll start at the southeast corner of the Rockridge Shopping Center next to the quarry pond and walk to three other former quarries in close proximity: the locations currently known as Davie Tennis Stadium, Dracena Park and the Morcom Rose Garden.

Of course, paths and stairs will connect our journey.

This 5-mile walk will take three hours to complete.

* Meet at the southeast corner of the Rockridge Shopping Center parking lot at 10:00am.
* Return to starting point by 1pm
* Heavy rain cancels, light rain doesn’t (Walking in the rain is ok, ‘ya know we need it).
* Dogs OK! 

First walk of 2012: Lakeshore to Park Blvd.

Great walk and awesome turnout, despite the threat of rain. Check out the writeup and pics at ouroakland.net

We’re walking from Lakeshore to Park Blvd. via stairs and paths on Saturday, 1/21.
Come get your walk on!

* Meet at Mandana Plaza on Lakeshore (corner of Lakeshore and Mandana) at 10:00am.
* Arrive on Park Blvd. around 11am for coffee break
* Return to Lakeshore around noon
* Heavy rain cancels, light rain doesn’t.
* Dogs OK!

Second Annual Walk and Shop: Saturday, December 10th

We’ll explore the neighborhoods and stores of Crocker Highlands, Grand Lake, Piedmont Avenue, Adams Point and others via the historic stairways and pathways that once served the Key Route Street Car.

When we get to Piedmont Avenue, we’ll take a break for some shopping. Walkers from last years event appreciated having this dedicated time to get gifts and support Oakland businesses.

  • Meet at Mandana Plaza on Lakeshore (corner of Lakeshore and Prince) at 10:00am.
  • Shop on Piedmont Avenue from 11:15am to Noon.
  • Arrive at Grand Avenue by 1:00pm.
  • Heavy rain cancels, light rain doesn’t.
  • Dogs OK! 

OUP related items, including shirts, maps and books will be for sale at great holiday prices!

Oakland Urban Paths Fall 2011 Walk Schedule

Oakland Urban Paths is very excited to announce its Fall 2011 walk schedule with a Saturday walk in October (This Saturday, 10/15!), November and December.

Check out our nifty brochure with all the details that you can send to your friends, or read on below:

October 15th: Sausal/Peralta watershed wander (4:00-5:30) and Anza Trail lecture (6:00)pm
Come for the walk, stay for the lecture.
Walk starts at 4:00 pm, historic lecture on Women and Children of the Anza Trail starts at 6:00 pm at the Peralta Hacienda. We’ll finish the walk with enough time to pick up a burrito or pupusa on Foothill Ave. Snacks and drinks will also be available at the lecture.
Meet at Peralta Hacienda House,  2465 34th Avenue. There is ample parking on Coolidge or Hyde.
More info on the lecture at www.peraltahacienda.org

November 12th: Secret Stairs, Fire and BART (10 amNoon)
Check out stairs, Vicente Creek and a special BART stairway along the Oakland/Berkeley borderlands.
Meet at 10am at the Peet’s at 2916 Domingo (in Berkeley, just barely). Walk includes some hills, be ready to climb.

December 10th: Walk and Shop (10 am-1 pm)
Get in some holiday shopping on foot in Oakland. Meet at the park area on Lakeshore (east side of street) between Longridge and Mandana. We’ll walk to Piedmont, take a break to hit the stores and walk back via stairs and paths.



Montclair Walk: Sunday, August 21st

We’re out there…

Please join us this Sunday (August 21st) to walk some of Oakland’s steepest and woodsiest stairs.

We’ll meet at 10am in front of the Montclair Library and return to the same location before noon, giving you plenty of time to make it to Art and Soul’s heavy-hitting Main Stage afternoon set.

This walk includes uphill walking, please wear sturdy shoes.

Oakland Urban Paths Walk
Sunday, August 21st
Meet at Montclair Library at 10am

Secret Stairs of the East Bay Book Talk, August 5th

Please join us this Friday night at Pegasus Books on Solano Avenue to hear Charles Fleming speak about his new book, Secret Stairs of the East Bay.

Fleming’s book is an excellent compendium that puts you right where we want you, on the paths and stairs of Oakland. Representatives from other local paths, stairs and walking groups will be in attendance.

Secret Stairs of the East Bay Book Talk
THIS Friday (August 5th) at 7:30pm

Pegasus Books

1855 Solano Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 525-6888