Trail of the Week 26: Cerrito Vista Park Trail (#43)

The main entrance [TJ Gehling]

The main entrance [TJ Gehling]

Locate along Moeser Lane across from both the Contra Costa Civic Theater and the El Cerrito Community Center / Swimming Complex, Cerrito Vista Park is an integral part of the city’s Cultural / Recreational center. In fact it might have been called Central Park, if that name hadn’t already been used. (El Cerrito’s Central Park is located, very fittingly, on Central Avenue, and very much less fittingly, mostly in Richmond.) Besides tennis courts, a children’s play area and the premiere baseball field in the city, Cerrito Vista Park hosts the annual 4th of July / World One Music Festival.

Tennis after dark
The park is spread over three levels, unequal in size. The main area is the sports field and children’s play area, located on the western, lowest level. East of this is the tennis court area on the highest level along Avis Dr. /Navellier. And the third section is another small field with picnic facilities on the south east edge of the park, above the level of the sports field but below the tennis courts. But our principle interest here is that these three areas are connected by stairways and paths. We call it Cerrito Vista Trail but, in fact, it is many trails.

Stairway and perimeter path [TJ Gehling]

Stairway and perimeter path [TJ Gehling]

First of all, there is the path around the perimeter of the baseball fields. This path, which starts at the main park entrance at the corner of Moeser and Pomona, is about 1600 feet long and is well used by walkers and joggers. About halfway along the northern section there is a stairway that connects to Moeser Ln. The western segment has two stairways that lead down to the parking area along Pomona. On the south side there is the play area in the SW corner, restrooms along the middle part of the path and then two stairways that lead up to the picnic area and smaller field. The eastern segment connects to two dirt trails that we will come to later.

Picnic area paths [TJ Gehling]

Picnic area paths [TJ Gehling]

Bedsides the two stairways to the sports field, the picnic area has a short path along the field connecting the picnic area to the stairways and other paths. Another stairway leads up to Avis Dr. and and a short, road-like paved path leads up to the tennis courts. Just before this road reaches the tennis court parking lot, a dirt path branches off down hill to the left.

IMG_4108

Left field line [TJ Gehling]

This dirt path is one of two trails that crisscross the wooded hillside between the tennis courts and sports field. From the parking lot road, this trail descends diagonally towards the home plate area of the main baseball diamond. Halfway down it crosses another trail, which starts at a gate on Moeser and descends to some bleacher seats on the left field line. Although many of the trees on the hillside seem to be pines, there have been a number of oaks planted long the paths and it is hoped that the hillside will one day take on a more natural feel. It is amazing how this small area can give you a feeling of wilderness while surrounded by the bustle of activity elsewhere in the park. Lastly, near the top of this last path is the start of another  trail that runs behind and uphill from the main baseball backstop. It mostly runs along the inside of the fence on Moeser and finally comes out behind the stands that back onto Moeser. It ends at the stairway that connects Moeser to the sportsfield perimeter path.

If you haven’t been lately, a great time to visit the park is July 4th, for the WorldOne music festival. Besides the music, there will be food, games, informational booths and venders. Look for the Trail Trekkers at the Environmental Quality Committee table. We hope to see you there!
WorldOne Music Festival

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