Tanglewood-Stonewall-Panoramic-Clark Kerr Loop

Contributed by: Friends of Five Creeks

This loop, with steep uphills and knee-pounding descents, offers spectacular views, elegant historic staircases, and a look at UC Berkeley's Clark Kerr Campus, built as the state school for deaf and blind children. The elevation gain exceeds 600 feet -- wear hiking shoes with good traction and ...


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This loop, with steep uphills and knee-pounding descents, offers spectacular views, elegant historic staircases, and a look at UC Berkeley's Clark Kerr Campus, built as the state school for deaf and blind children. The elevation gain exceeds 600 feet -- wear hiking shoes with good traction and bring water, a snack, and sticks if you use them.

The easiest start, by bus or car, is Tanglewood and Derby, one block above Derby and Belrose (AC Transit 49; two-hour parking is enough for this walk).

Walk up gentle Tanglewood Path to the signed entrance to Stonewall-Panoramic Trail. Usually, you'll find trail maps here. Follow the service road uphill, without veering left to the Clark Kerr track or right to the EB MUD tank. Don't take the seeming shortcut left of the better fire road -- it's too steep and eroded to be worth it.

You'll huff and puff, but steep stretches are punctuated by easier ones. Enjoy chaparral, spring wildflowers, and views out to the Bay and down into the bowl of Derby Creek Canyon. Near the top, a bench rewards you with a plaque explaining how residents saved the area from development.

A short way beyond, go left on paved Panoramic Way. (You can see on the map that you could also continue right for a longer loop on the Upper Fire Trail -- but you'd miss spectacular homes!)

Beyond a gate, Panormic makes a hairpin turn to snake downhill. In shady woodland, cut over on Panoramic Place and the Upper Fire Trail instead, following them down to rejoin Panoramic Way.  To your right, the woods drop sharply to Strawberry Creek Canyon. You will see the popular Lower Fire Road that leads down to Centennial Drive.

Back on Panoramic Way, at another bend look for signed Arden Path and then Arden Steps heading right, downhill. The Berkeley Path Wanderers' map is the best guide to this area's century-old steps and paths, built as conduits to the pre-automobile streetcar system. A partial alternate route uses Orchard Lane.

Where Arden Steps reaches Mosswood Road, jog left and find signed Mosswood Lane, rustic and wooded, leading you down to the elegant stone staircase of Orchard Lane.

At the bottom of Orchard Lane, you are again on snake-like Panoramic Way. Jog right, north, in order to take Prospect west and then back south. Here you are virtually in the shadow of UC's Memorial Stadium. The rest of the walk is on nearly level ground.  

Prospect, edged by historic fraternity and sorority houses, takes you to curving Hillside Avenue. Prospect and Hillside were the east edge of Frederick Law Olmsted's 1865/6 plan for what became UC Berkeley. Hillside curves left; a rustic stone bridge crosses a fragment of Derby Creek, which drains the spectacular canyon you have just traversed.  To the west, the creek is entirely buried in pipes.

You could continue on Hillside to Dwight Way, but it's pleasanter to jog east, slightly uphill, and cross the broad lawn of Smythe-Fernwald housing for student families.

Cross Dwight and continue south on Sports Lane. What was then called the California State Asylum for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind was built here beginning in 1867. In the 1970s, the school was moved to Fremont and the campus largely taken over by UC Berkeley. Renamed the Clark Kerr Campus for the 1960s chancellor, the former school is on the National Register of Historic Places. Some buildings have been refurbished for sports or housing for students or the elderly. Others, like the elegant gymnasium, are moldering away.

Across Southwest Place, Sports Lane changes its name to Eastway and passes Redwood Gardens, now city-run housing for the elderly. You can stick to the road or explore green space  to rejoin Derby Street, where you jog left,  east, to your starting point.

 


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Walking Hiking Trail Running Scenic Overlook Dogs Allowed On-leash Birding

Transit Accessible Car (Drive up)

Trail Running Urban Hiking Trail Hiking

Paved Gravel

Loop Out and Back

  • Duration Halfday
  • Intensity Strenuous
  • Length 2.33 Miles

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