This is another path-and-stairways walk from Charles Fleming’s book Secret Stairs East Bay; his description of the homes and streets is good, but I’m here to talk about the geology you’ll see en route.
The walk starts on Park Boulevard, which is one of Oakland’s premier ridge routes, maybe its best. On its north is Indian Gulch, later known as Trestle Glen, and on its south is Dimond Canyon. Trestle Glen Creek is now culverted, although its waters still run free upstream in Piedmont. Dimond Canyon and points downstream, of course, feature Sausal Creek. The whole idea of Glenview the neighborhood is that from Park Boulevard you could overlook glenssecluded wooded stream valleyson either side. (Such honesty in marketing may seem quaint today.) The walk route (created using gmap-pedometer) traverses stairs and pathways on the Trestle Glen side:
Here’s the topography, courtesy Google Maps, with the photo stops marked as well as the bedrock line between the Piedmont block and the Pleistocene alluvial fan at Oakland’s heart. See the Oakland geologic map for context.
The walk begins on Park Boulevard, going up the gentle slope of the remnant fan. I would love to see what’s beneath these homes, but how likely is that?
As you rise, the hills emerge as does the occasional vista. The Glenview really is the everything-view.
At this point the walk leaves the spine of the fan and wanders the slopes and floor of Indian Gulch. The mature palms and lush vegetation combine with steep slopes (though not the insane slopes of the high hills) for a distinctive charm.
Again, watch where the trees allow a peep through. Homeowners with their upper stories are privileged over streetwalkers in this respect.
On Elbert Street, a patch of rustic funk, emerges bedrockjust a prosaic Franciscan sandstone here. Perhaps more crops out along the power line through this neighborhood, but I was here to follow instructions and did not check.
The walk delivers us to the floor of Indian Gulch, long since vacated by its namesake indigenes, converted from a park (with trestle) and turned into a classic upper-middle-class residential district. The narrow road and steep-walled valley give it a uniquely intimate feel. Farther up the valley, what looks like real woods is just the hinterland of what appears to be Piedmont’s largest private lot.
The walk leaves the valley floor at the foot of Barrows Road. Higher up you begin to glimpse the high hills again above the densely settled slopes.
It appears to me that the bedrock portion of the stream valley is a bit steeper than the alluvial-fan part, but not by much. The transition between them is quite subtle. The fan sediments are well compacted and bound with firm clay.