Paths Less Taken: The Hidden Footpaths of Berkeley

Anya
Anya
Jun 25, 2018 · 6 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
In Berkeley, CA, hundreds of secret paths wind through the residential neighborhoods of Berkeley Hills. Left: Wooden blocks form a rural staircase on one of the city’s hidden paths. Center: Trees form a natural arch over Vine Street Path, which cuts through a residential neighborhood. Right: Man-made stone stairs allow easy pedestrian access on the Tamalpais Trail, kept in place by iron rods drilled 3 feet into the ground (Rachel Lin)
Image for post
Image for post
Stairs engraved on Indian Rock allow for pedestrians to easily climb to the top of the 50 foot boulder, giving them a view of the San Francisco skyline. (Rachel Lin)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Right: Iron sign in front of the entrance to Vine Street Path. Whereas most paths do not feature a sign, Vine Street Path makes itself very explicit. Center: Michael Finn climbs the backside of Indian Rock without rope. The 50 ft rock is featured on Indian Rock Path and attracts climbers and pedestrians alike. Right: A secluded bench located on Tamalpais Path offers a quiet place for pedestrians to sit and take in the forest scenery. (Rachel Lin)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Left: El Mirador Path hidden between two houses. The path blends into the houses. Center: A bus stops in front of Redwood Path. Buses offer pedestrians who don’t have cars a way to access paths. There is a bus stop located on many of the Berkeley Paths. Right: The steps of El Mirador are maintained and allow for easy access up through the hills into an adjacent neighborhood. (Rachel Lin)
Image for post
Image for post
Redwood Path offers no sign or indication that a path exists. Although, the paved road seems to be a residential driveway, the road is a part of the Berkeley Paths. (Rachel Lin)

“When you’re adding to the city, you’re not just cleaning up a mess.”

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Left: Greg, 69 along with other path members, clear away wild brush that obscures pedestrian access to the paths. Center: Paul, 65 carries a bag made out of recycled cardboard carrying plant debris to the street corner. The bag will be picked up by the city and taken to compost. Right: Elsa, 63, carries more plant debris out of the pathway after trimming the overgrown brush. (Rachel Lin)
Image for post
Image for post
“Private” sign posted on a gate entrance to a path. Some locals who live adjacent to the paths try to deter public access by posting misleading signs. Despite the misconception, the paths are public property. (Rachel Lin)
Image for post
Image for post
Path entrance to Moss Wood Lane is hidden behind houses and offers a tantalizing glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge as it meanders through the neighborhood. (Rachel Lin)

“…you walk up onto a path and all of a sudden, it’s leafy and it’s green and it’s quiet, and the noisy street is behind you.”

Image for post
Image for post
View of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge atop the peak of Indian Rock. The rock is about 50ft in size and attracts a diverse group of people. From rock climbers, to tourists, to locals alike, many come to this path to hang out on the giant rock. (Rachel Lin)

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store