Trail of the Week 33 & 34: The Duke and Earl Trail (#35) and the Betty Lane Path (#36)

Another two-fer this week. Making up for missing last week, we feature two more trails that are impassible now, but could be made passable in the future, the Duke and Earl trail and the Betty Lane path.

Earl Court [TJ Gehling]

Earl Court [TJ Gehling]

The King Court entrance to the Hillside Natural Area probably ranks second only to Schmidt Lane as the most used trailhead in the park. And with Schmidt it spans the entire range of options for entering the park from the south. For although there is park to the south of these entrances, no passable trail connects the southern border of the park to the rest of the Natural Area. The Duke and Earl Trail is an attempt to remedy this situation.

The trail, as it were [TJ Gehling]

The trail, as it were [TJ Gehling]

The Duke and Earl Trail starts at the end of Earl Court, one of the four “noble” courts that open west off Shevlin (The four are, south to north, Earl, Duke, Baron and the already mentioned King. There actually is a Noble Court in El Cerrito, but it is on the other side of the Hillside Area.) The trail follows a creek through a narrow canyon, mostly on a steep hillside that has suffered slumps and fallen trees in the past. The trail is unclear and overgrown and, in fact, the final route is still in question.

The end at the Ken Smith Trail [TJ Gehling]

The end at the Ken Smith Trail [TJ Gehling]

But in the end it should connect to the Ken Smith trail. To do this it is presently necessarly to hop the creek. There is also plentiful poison oak, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. A second possiblity would be to end the trail at the King Ct. trailhead. or even to make a path on the other, western side of the creek. But however it is completed, this trail would add a much needed connection to the Great Western Power Trail, under the power poles next to Moeser Lane.

The lower end of the Betty Lane path [TJ Gehling]

The lower end of the Betty Lane path [TJ Gehling]

Leaving the Hillside Area via King Ct., there are several options for continuing up hill towards Arlington Blvd. One is the Shevlin to Arlington Path, a subject for a future post. Another is our second trail this week, the Betty Lane path. Our old trail list refers to this as the “abandoned but not forgotten Betty Lane Path.” It begins across from the entrance to King Court, at the confluence of Shevlin and King Drives. Begins is probably an overstatement. It certainly should begin there. but there is no trace of an entrance. Instead there is thick vegatation. The trail should run uphill between the two telephone poles pictured at the right. If this path were to be reopened, it would probably be necessary to install many treads, since the right of way is narrow and the hill is steep. Landscaping to separate the trail from adjacent properties would probably be necessary too.

The view from the end of Betty lane [TJ Gehling]

The view from the end of Betty lane [TJ Gehling]

The is also a lot of vegetation at the top, where the path ends under another telephone pole. Across the street (Contra Costa Dr.) is the end of Betty Lane. Following this up hill, you can reach, via Brewster, Arlington Park and the top of the Shevlin to Arlington path. This could be a very useful addition to the city’s path network, but given the amount of work that would needed to go into making it passable, and the availability of the nearby Shevlin to Arlington path, this path will probably be a low priority for the foreseeable future.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s