Friday, January 23, 2009

Berkeley Backyard Hidden Waterfalls

Backyard Waterfall!!

Tucked among the hillside houses of North Berkeley is a stairway that leads to a waterfall. It's not marked; you just need to know how to find it. The adventure starts at the partly hidden stairway behind the playground at Codornices Park (across from the Rose Garden). These stairs lead to a path, which leads to a second set of stairs and then a small gate. Beyond that gate is another world: a lush green canyon with a grove of redwood trees, a rushing creek, and a 40-foot series of cascading waterfalls. Walk across the creek via a wooden slab to get a better perspective on this hidden oasis.

The waterfall is at its best in the rainy months. Park at the entrance of Codornices Park, across from the Rose Garden, on Euclid Ave. and Eunice St. (map). Behind the wooden trolley in the playground are two sets of stairs; take the left set. At the top, continue left. Then look right for a winding concrete staircase; take these up, but not all the way. Twenty feet past the first green lamp post there's a small gate on the left with a "Private Property" sign. Enter the gate (it's OK, they allow you to visit) and veer left at the first junction. Follow your ears to the falls.

Dec 20, 2007
Walk around the UC Berkeley campus over the next couple of weeks and your only company will probably be chubby squirrels and crowing blackbirds. Students and faculty have vacated the university's 1,230 acres, leaving you plenty of space to roam one of the most sylvan campuses around. At no other time of year is Cal so tranquil; even usually chaotic Sproul Plaza is silent. Start at the historic Sather Gate, make a right, and wander along Strawberry Creek to the grassy, amphitheater-shaped Faculty Glade (once thought to be home to Ohlone Native Americans). On the western side of the glade, check out the Arleigh and Ruthie Williams Redwood Grove. When we were there last week, the branches were trimmed with paper snowflakes some holiday-spirited students had hung. Just look out for those Cal bears—they pop up in the most unexpected places.

TIP: End your wanderings on the leafy terrace of the Caffe Strada just across from the campus at the corner of College Ave. and Bancroft Way.

For a map of Berkeley campus click here.

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