Joaquin Miller and Dimond Canyon Loop
9.3 miles     1500 ft
17 Dec 2011
Summary

A long hike that covers all major trails in Joaquin Miller Park and Dimond Canyon Park. The best section is along the Palos Colorados Trail which meanders next to a cool redwood canyon.

Location: Joaquin Miller ParkDimond Canyon Park

Elevation Profile
Trailhead

Location: 3450 Joaquin Miller Rd, Oakland, CA 94602 . Parking area is visible in Google Maps if you zoom in sufficiently.

Directions: From south bay, take 880 North → 580 West → 13 North. In 2.2 miles, take Joaquin Miller Road exit. Turn right along Joaquin Miller Rd. The park is on the left.

Google Maps:

Parking Fees: None (last visited: Dec 2011)

Capacity: Plenty of free parking all along Joaquin Miller Road

Latitude: 37.809886     Longitude: -122.185779

Trip Planning

Trail Maps

» Official Trail Map by SausalCreek.org: Great contoured map showing major trails on shaded relief. Mileage information of trail segments is missing. The map is also missing some unnamed trails that we encountered during our hike in Dec 2011. Still, the map is pretty good - we never felt lost.

» Official Trail Map by City of Oakland: Great map. However, contours are missing. Sausal Creek map is better.

» Trail Map from the book Guide to East Bay Creeks: Nice description of various landmarks along Sausal Creek and Dimond Park.

Route

0.0 miles: We parked on Joaquin Miller Rd. There is ample street parking all along Joaquin Miler Rd. Dozens of cars may be parked here. We started hiking along Bishops Walk trail, which is close to the intersection of Joaquin Miller Road and Butters Drive. Bishops Walk Trail was fairly steep uphill.

0.3 miles: We reached the "Lookout Point" which offers great views of Oakland. From the "Lookout Point", we turned right onto Sinawik Trail.

0.4 miles: At a fork, we took the trail on the right, Sinawik Loop Trail, which was one of the most beautiful trails along our route.

0.9 miles: We reached an intersection near Palo Seco Creek where many trails meet on both sides of the creek. Study the map carefully to know which trail to follow. We crossed the creek and followed Sunset Trail, continuing in the same general direction as the Sinawik Loop Trail. There were several intersections along Sunset Trail. At each one, we had to consult our map to make sure we were going along Sunset Trail. At the 1.1 mile mark, we saw a beautiful picnic area which is located near the restrooms and phone symbols in the trail map.

1.6 miles: We reached the intersection of Sunset Trail and Sequoia Bayview Trail. There is a large signpost at this intersection. Along the Sequoia Bayview Trail, we got glimpses of Oakland. Soon, the trail became forested and cool. The intersection with Big Trees Trail was unmarked. However, the intersection with Fern Ravine Trail was well marked.

2.4 miles: We hopped onto Fern Ravine Trail. Along this trail, when it crosses over a creek shown on the trail map, we noticed a tire hanging off a long rope on the left. It was a pretty awesome swing, carefully set up so that you don't hit any tree or the sloping ground when swinging. We had a great time here.

2.6 miles: Fern Trail reached a paved road. On the other side of the paved road, we had to figure out which trail to follow. A few steps along the trail, we reached an unmarked junction. To hop onto Cinderella Trail, we took left at the junction. Once we were on the trail, we saw a sign marking this as Cinderella Trail - it would have been better if this sign were placed at the intersection instead of along the trail. Cinderella Trail was particularly steep, going downhill. We ran into sets of bikers who came zipping down along this trail.

3.2 miles: We reached an unsigned intersection with Sunset Trail. Thanks to the trail map, we knew we had to turn right. Within 0.5 miles, we saw an unsigned single-path trail going left. Thanks to the trail map, we knew we had to turn left.

3.3 miles: We reached a five-way intersection where Palos Colorados Trail (unmarked), Sinawik Trail and Sunset Trail meet. We turned right onto Palos Colorados Trail, which was the best trail along the entire route we followed. It runs along a canyon next to Palo Seco Creek. It is well maintained, green and cool.

4.0 miles: Palos Colorados Trail ended in a small parking lot close to "JM Court" (see trail map). We walked along J M Court, crossed Mountain Road, went through a tunnel underneath Highway 13 to reach Monterey Blvd. We turned right on Monterey Blvd and walked 0.25 miles to reach the trailhead for Dimond Canyon / Bridgeview Trails.

4.8 miles: We reached a clearly marked intersection between Bridgeview Trail and Dimond Canyon. We followed Dimond Canyon Trail as it descended down to Sausal Creek via a series of switchbacks.

5.0 miles: We reached a clearly marked intersection of Dimond Canyon Trail and Toe Trail (not marked on map). We followed the sign for Dimond Canyon Trail. Very quickly, we reached a storm drain. Beyond the storm drain, we had to walk through the creek, hopping over stones and by the edge of the creek for about 0.1 miles before we could hop onto a trail on the left of the creek. At this junction, we met a couple of women with small kids. This section of Dimond Canyon Trail is unpassable when the water is high. During such times, you may choose to take the "Toe Trail" which connects to Old Canyon Trail (shown on map) and continue the hike.

5.3 miles: We reached an intersection with Old Canyon Trail. The trail map does not show clearly that Old Canyon Trail and Dimond Canyon Trail area actually connected.

5.6 miles: We reached the end of Dimond Canyon Trail, to emerge on El Centro Ave.

5.8 miles: We reached the restrooms in Dimond Park. From this point, we retraced out steps back by Dimond Canyon Trail.

6.3 miles: We turned left onto a trail that connects Dimond Canyon Trail with Old Canyon Trail.

7.0 miles: We reached the intersection of "Toe Trail" and Dimond Canyon Trail. This is where we had earlier followed Dimond Canyon Trail going south, through Sausal Creek which is unpassable in high water. Dimond Canyon Trail then becomes a series of switchbacks going uphill.

7.2 miles: Intersection of Dimond Canyon Trail and Brideview Trail

7.8 miles: Intersection of Brideview Trail and Monterey Blvd.

8.0 miles: Entrance to tunnel below Highway 13.

8.1 miles: Trailhead for Palos Colorados Trail.

8.7 miles: Five-way intersection between Palos Colorados Trail, Sinawik Trail and Sunset Trail.

9.3 miles: On Joaquin Miller Rd via Bishops Walk.

Section I

Lookout Point offered us great views of Oakland. and Sinawik Loop Trail was cool and gorgeous, shaded by tall trees.

Section II

Sequoia Bayview Trail — Fern Ravine Trail — Cinderella Trail. Mostly shaded. We discovered a tire swing on Fern Ravine Trail, as it goes over a creek (see map for exact location).

Section III

Palos Colorados Trail: A gorgeous trail next to a redwood canyon. This was the most pleasant section of the entire hike.

Section IV

Dimond Canyon Trail. This trail is all along Sausal Creek. For the first 0.1 miles, we had to walk carefully along and inside the creek. The trail map correctly notes that this section is impassable after heavy rains when water level is high.

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