Thursday, August 27, 2015
Sausal Creek, 3.1 miles (5.0 km) long, is one of the principal watercourses in Oakland, California. The north fork of the creek, also known as Shepherd Creek, begins in the hills above Oakland, running down Shepherd Canyon. The south fork, also known as Palo Seco Creek, also begins in the hills, and runs down Palo Seco Canyon to a confluence with the north fork in the linear valley where the Montclair district is situated. The creek then cuts through the shutter ridge which defines the linear valley (formed by the Hayward Fault), and runs down to the flatlands through Dimond Canyon, where it passes under historic Leimert Bridge. It then runs southwest through the San Antonio district to empty into the Oakland Estuary. The creek is mostly open in the hills section, and runs in culverts as it approaches the bay. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausal_Creek_(Alameda_County,_California))
This scenic hike goes through the beautiful redwoods around Dimond Canyon up to the Bridgeview Trail. Zig-zag your way on the Dimond Canyon Trail along the remote Sausal Creek to the south end of the trail at Dimond Rec Center. Return along Sausal Creek to the Park Blvd Trail before re-connecting to the Dimond Canyon and Bridgeview Trails.
Begin this hike from the Dimond Canyon Bridgeview Trail at its north end on Monterey Blvd in Oakland. The trail leads you into the canyon through a beautiful dense redwood forest.
At the bottom, cross the Palo Seco Creek on the old concrete pad onto the steps; the trail snakes its way up through the redwoods to a staircase climb to Upper Dimond Canyon. The traffic noise from the freeway appears to be pretty loud but it slowly dissipates as you move closer into the canyon area.
Bridgeview Trail levels out as it continues above the canyon through thick vegetation-watch out for poison oak! The trail emerges out to an beautiful open area with fun rope swings attached to the bent overhanging bay trees.
Bridgeview Trail narrows a bit as it goes along the fenced in section adjacent to the driving range at Monclair Golf to the small bridge crossing. The green netting stretched across the canyon catches all the golf balls-it’s an odd sight.
The trail continues on a wider path to the Dimond canyon Trail junction-go straight to stay on Bridgeview Trail to its south end trailgate at Bridgeview Dr. The open area has tons of blackberry bushes-bring your baskets and pick to your heart’s delight!
Turn around and retrace your steps on Bridgview Trail to the Dimond Canyon Trail junction.
The Dimond Canyon Trail zig-zags its way down the steep canyon under the splendid canopy of trees with grown ivy dominating the hillside-watch for poison oak!
The trail leads down to the flat creek bed with lots of colorful graffiti art and lush ivy growing over the retaining walls.
At the Bridgeview Trail junction: turn left to stay on Dimond Canyon Trail. The trail continues underneath a few fallen tree branches as it winds through the dense ivy ground cover to the concrete weir. Check out the colorful graffiti art!
Cross over the creek atop the wall below the tunnel; the tunnel was built to protect the creek from the sliding hillside.
The creek bed is now the trail: this is the impassable section during the rainy season. Watch your footing-some of the rocks are slippery and unstable!
The segment of the hike is quite beautiful; the hillside has a dense ivy cover while the tree branches arches across the canyon creating a gorgeous shaded canopy with dappled sunlight. Enjoy the quiet beauty and the lush riparian landscape along Dimond Canyon and Sausal Creek!
Continue downstream across another weir; you’ll see more graffiti on the walls!
Stay along the creek bed:
Look to your left and you’ll see a concrete flood control flume that drains the hillside. A sewer line apparently runs underground alongside Sausal Creek; manhole covers and old pipes are visible along the concrete portion of the trail.
The trail continues atop of the concrete wall along the creek; it leads to the covered scaffold walkway underneath the historic Leimert Bridge.
Look up and across the creek-you’ll see the underbelly of the bridge covered in graffiti!
The trail goes through another covered scaffold walkway as it travels further downstream to a trail junction-go straight to stay on Dimond Canyon Trail.
There’s a little bit of water in this section of the creek; the path has water seeping up from underground as you make your way out of the canyon through the dense brush and ivy.
The trail follows the curvature of the creek out to the south end of Dimond Canyon at El Centro Ave.
Cross El Centro Ave and take the path into Dimond Recreation Center; the trail emerges out at the children’s play area. Water & restrooms are available inside the Dimond Rec Center.
Retrace your steps back through the play area to the Dimond Canyon Hiking Trail trailhead and take the Dimond Canyon Trail back to the graffiti covered trail post.
At the trail junction: go left, cross over the creek and make another left onto the unsigned Old Canon Trail. Old Canon Trail leads you away from the creek area through the dense trees and ivy ground cover.
At the unsigned trail junction-at the right hand bend: turn right onto Park Blvd Trail; this section of the hike has a bit more sun exposure, you can quickly feel the temperature change!
Park Blvd Trail sits above the creek and travels underneath the span of the Lemiert Bridge through another covered scaffold walkway. You can hear the steady sound of traffic along Park Blvd.
The trail becomes a single track as it winds around the woodlands towards the north end of the bridge. Note once again the colorful graffiti art!
The trail cuts back underneath the canopy of trees as it gently heads back down into Dimond Canyon.
Interesting Rock Face-I see an image of a woman’s face with eyes, nose, cheeks, chin and hair buns. Do you see her?
Park Blvd Trail leads to the Toe Trail junction: turn left and follow the zig-zag trail back up to Bridgeview Trail-Upper Dimond Canyon.
At Bridgeview Trail-turn left, cross the little bridge and make your way back to the open swing area.
Stay on the trail and return through the magnificent redwood forest.
Go down the steps and zig-zag back down into the redwood canyon to the concrete pad.
Steps lead out of the canyon for the return to the trailhead.
This is a gorgeous hidden gem of a hike through the canyon located between the Oakmore and Trestle Glen districts in Oakland. The quiet trails follow alongside Sausal Creek through the lush riparian habitat with minimal trail-users! Now is a great time to explore the area-during the rainy season, the creek runs high and a section of the creek is impassable. Even with our current hot weather, you’ll stay cool under the shade of the splendid overhanging canopy of trees-this is a great urban hideaway!
3.8 Miles with 580′ of elevation gain
Time: 2-2.5 hours with a stop
Parking: No fee at Dimond Canyon Trailhead on Monterey Blvd in Oakland. No parking from 9AM-12 NOON 2nd Thursday of the month for street sweeping. NO FACILITIES
Water & restrooms at Dimond Recreation Center located at the south end of Sausal Creek Trail.
Dog Friendly-On Leash Only *Bridgeview Trail is very popular with dog walkers with 3-6 dogs off leash. Not so great for Shadow-she’s not dog friendly. All the off leash dogs have a tendency to charge at her and she instantly gets into protection mode!
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks
Weather: Sunny & warm. Temps ranged from the mid 70’s to high 80’s with SW winds.