We have another short trail for you this week. So short that it could easily be mistaken for someone’s driveway, if it were paved, and looks just like a bit of yard between to houses, except that it is fenced on both sides. It doesn’t even go back as far as the property lines. But the reason it stops is the reason it is of interest: access to a creek.
The creek in question is a tributary to Cerrito Creek, and though it is open to the sky at various places along its way before it joins the main creek near Albany Hill, most of those places are in the back of someone’s yard, inaccessible to the interested, but law-abiding hiker. This is the creek that passes through nearby Huber Park. It goes underground just above the play area, but is joined by another branch just west of the park and is open for most of the next block along Terrace, a fact you can see by looking down peoples driveways. But with the Terrace creek-view trail, trespassing is not necessary (nor in any circumstance encouraged).
The trail itself is not much more than 100 feet long, starting on Terrace just east of Shevlin, between 8106 and 8118, and ending in a tangle of bushes above the creek. So we aren’t kidding about the name; it is a creek view, not a creek where you can go stick your feet in. There doesn’t seem to be a continuation of the trail on the other side of the creek. Beside the fact that there is a fence there, the houses on the far bank are in Kensington, not El Cerrito. There isn’t a lot to see here as it is, but there is potential for the future. Maybe someday there will be a bench, and perhaps an interpretive sign. Certainly some clearing of the bank would be an improvement. Anyway, if you are in the area, it is worth a look.
There are a few other places where this creek is visible. It is open along Hotchkiss, between Colusa and Pomona, and some of it is visible from Colusa, though most of it is in backyards. A much better view can be had on the flats. The creek is visible on the 700 block Clayton (the last block before it dead-ends into Ashbury, just north of the high school.) The creek is open between Clayton and Eureka, and can be easily viewed through a wire fence from Clayton. It passes under Eureka just before Albemarle (look for some stonework under the fence on the north side of the street), and is open again between Albemarle and Norvell, on the 600 block, but, alas, only behind high fences. But it is visible again on the 600 block of Everett, just north of Lincoln, were it reappears in the front yard of the second house north of Lincoln, on the west side of the street. The front path of that house is actually a bridge over the creek.
If you are interested in the creeks of El Cerrito, the city has a creek map available on their maps page. Also available on that page is the storm sewer map, which also shows the creeks and has much greater detail. Another invaluable resource is a map produced by the Oakland Museum of California called “Creek and Watershed Map of Richmond and Vicinity.” The author of this post has had many occasions to refer to this map and every interested hiker aught to have one.