Huckleberry saddle

The entrance to Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve is at a low point in the spine of the Oakland Hills, where the steep eastern arm of Thornhill canyon has cut headward toward the equally steep canyon of San Leandro Creek. Both canyons are steep because the rock between them is the tough Claremont chert. The saddle between the two canyons provides good views to the west and east, and a little path (labeled Huckleberry Path on the map) leads north from the Huckleberry entrance, a private entrance to the preserve for the residents of Elverton Drive. That’s where I got these pictures, first looking southwest toward downtown:


and due west, over the opposite wall of Thornhill canyon, toward the Golden Gate.


Turn around, and it’s just a few steps to find these views of the Las Trampas Ridge area—


—and Mount Diablo, which never ceases to surprise me when I see it from Oakland. I think of Diablo as a whole different domain, reachable only by a drive through the tunnel and not visible west of Lafayette. But here it is, looking downright neighborly.


Only a few Oaklanders get to see the view east; we’re a westward-leaning city.

5 Responses to “Huckleberry saddle”

  1. ho2cultcha Says:

    For ten years, i lived above Elverton on Diablo Dr. My desk overlooked the Huckleberry Saddle. One of the most amazing sites was when the fog from the eastern side rose up and poured through the saddle and down the Thornhill side – like a fog waterfall – into the lower fog layer on the Western side. It only happened a few times each year, but what a gorgeous sight!

  2. Andrew Says:

    That makes sense to me. If you’re herding in the Orinda/Moraga pasturelands, or on Gudde Ridge, and need to get your herd to Oakland, you’d take that route to avoid a longer trip south down the valley of San Leandro Creek, which would take an extra day or two. Taking them up to the Fish Ranch/Claremont crossing would be slower and harder, too.

    Our ancestors, who did everything on foot or horseback, were much more aware of gravity, and thus topography, than we will ever be.

  3. artisancrafts Says:

    I’ve been studying the history of the Huckleberry and Thornhill area. Apparently, it was a desirable location to lead herds of cattle up and into Oakland from the east. Vaqueros from the land grant days led the beeves up a very crooked trail starting at the bottom of the same canyon where the Sacramento Northern Railway Tunnel’s western portal was located.
    Upon reaching the top, they herded the cattle following Thornhill pretty much all the way down. Thornhill was the name of the fellow who owned the surrounding parcel.

  4. Ann Wilkins Says:

    You take some of the best pictures. This is a great place to hike. We are so lucky to live in the Bay Area!

  5. Zephyr Says:

    But crucially, did you see any huckleberries ?? :)

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