The secret paths and stairs of Berkeley are great fun to explore, whether you're a new mom wandering by foot to soothe an infant strapped to her chest, or a four-year old who wants to count steps at the top of her lungs. On a recent walk, I headed up Yosemite Steps in North Berkeley and encountered a couple of points of interest.
First, a wall that was covered in poetry.
According to the Berkeley PATH Wanderer Association, “Local poetry lovers maintain a tradition of posting poems on the wooden fence here. The collection is ever-changing.”
Crossing Arlington, the path meets up with an overgrown park in the hills. Don't go looking for a playground when you arrive at John Hinkel Park. What you'll find is more exciting; the place feels like a hang-out spot that would be frequented by the kids from Stand By Me.
Paths lead up to an abandoned wooden clubhouse, which you could easily convince me is haunted. I'm quite sure no events are held in the structure which was once a rec center or meeting space.
The area is well-shaded due to an abundance of foliage.
A stone amphitheater invites kids to climb around — or put on shows for their adoring fans.
Per the City of Berkeley website: The theatre was used in the 1940’s for community gatherings, music and dance productions. In the 50’s and 60’s it was used for music and folk dances, barbershop quartets and piano. Most noteworthy, however, was its use by the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival from 1971-1991.
Looking for more secret parks and paths? Check out the Berkeley PATH Wanderer website. I think parents may find more delight than children in discovering some of these hidden gems. We have a better sense of what's predictable and what's unexpected when it comes to where the sidewalk takes us. Following a set of mysterious stairs into a neighborhood that's not your own offers a little sense of adventure that I found thrilling.