Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve
|Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve|
|Area||205 acres (83 ha)|
|Operated by||East Bay Regional Parks District|
Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve is a small regional park mainly located in the city of Oakland, California, and administered by the East Bay Regional Park District. The park is named for the canyon in which it's situated, Claremont Canyon, out of which Claremont Creek flows on its way to its confluence with Temescal Creek. Originally, the canyon was named "Harwood's Canyon", then "Telegraph Canyon". The name was changed to Claremont by a developer of the nearby Claremont district.
The land now called Claremont Canyon was part of an 1820 Spanish land grant called Rancho San Antonio. It was later used as a transportation route by Americans from the eastern United States who wished to settle in the area that had been dubbed California. In 1858, a transcontinental telegraph line was built through the canyon. Starting in the 1860s, the "Pony Express" carried mail through the canyon to and from the Eastern part of the United States.
EBRPD first bought an 80 acres (32 ha) parcel of surplus state land east of the U.C. Berkeley campus in 1978. Then it acquired some more acreage in the immediate area from several individuals. Finally, it bought a 64 acres (26 ha) parcel in Gwin Canyon. These acquisitions were combined to become Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve.
Despite its small size of 205 acres (83 ha), Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve forms an important link in the chain of parks that line the Berkeley Hills. It rises from a height of about 420 ft (130 m) above sea level, just behind the Clark Kerr campus of the University of California, Berkeley to the average 1300 ft (400 m) ridge of the East Bay hills, linking by way of other conserved land belonging to the University and the East Bay Municipal Utility District to other parks such as Tilden Regional Park and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. It thus offers direct pedestrian access to the park system, with connections to public transportation, from the lower-lying residential areas of Berkeley and Oakland.
The Preserve is relatively undeveloped and offers almost no amenities to visitors other than two hiking trails: Stonewall Panoramic Trail and Gwin Canyon Trail.
Stonewall Panoramic Trail
The Stonewall Panoramic Trail begins at a parking area on Stonewall Road, behind the historic Claremont Hotel. The trail is 1.6 miles (2.6 km) long and ascends 700 feet (210 m). The steep path up to the ridge gives splendid views across the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, and beyond to San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. On clear days, especially in winter, the Farallon Islands, about 44 miles (70 km) away, can be seen beyond the Golden Gate.
Gwin Canyon Trail
Within the Preserve is a side canyon called Gwin Canyon with a 2-mile (3.2 km) trail accessible from the end of Norfolk Road near Strathmoor Drive in the Oakland Hills. The trail ends just above Claremont Creek, 0.6 miles (0.97 km) from the trailhead.
While the upper reaches of Claremont Canyon are technically outside the Preserve, there are an additional 225 acres (0.91 km2) of open space contiguous to it owned and managed by the University of California. A local non-profit citizens' organization, the Claremont Canyon Conservancy, works with the public landowners offering stewardship services and educational programs.
There is very little public parking available either within or very near the Preserve. Street parking is prohibited. Visitors are encouraged to use mass transit to reach the UC Berkeley campus, then enter the Preserve by hiking.