Geologizing on the bus: The 33 line

My geologizing habits are unusual: being self-employed and semiretired, I go out on weekdays, when everyone else is busy and I have the landscape to myself. Moreover, most of my outings around Oakland are on foot, with the help of the Citymapper phone app and all manner of public transit, which I’ve praised before. In fact, I’ve written a whole compendium of places to see in Oakland this way.

So I’ve gotten to know the bus system pretty well. And for accessing lots of interesting, walkable terrain, the 33 line ranks right up there. Assembled from parts of the old 11 and 18 lines, the 33 runs from the bedrock hills and uplands of Piedmont, past Lake Merritt, to the bedrock hills and uplands of Montclair, taking in lobes 3 and 4 of the Fan as well.

The northern leg takes you to the well-appointed sidewalks of Piedmont, saving you a tedious climb. But there’s scenery on the way. First you pass the north arm of Lake Merritt, then cross lobe 3 of the Fan and reach bedrock right after crossing upper Grand Avenue.

Destinations in Piedmont include the former quarries of Dracena Park and Davie Tennis Stadium, the canyon and creek of Piedmont Park, and the headwaters of Trestle Glen Creek, plus smaller attractions like the slickensided roadcut of St. James Drive.

The southern leg of the 33 takes you to central Montclair, a jumping-off point for hikes in all directions. But first you pass the mouth of Lake Merritt, then enjoy a scenic ride up the valley of Park Avenue Creek and past the views over the glens (Trestle Glen and Dimond Canyon) in Glenview.

Above Glenview you could get off at Leimert Boulevard and trek through Oakmore, or go the other direction into easternmost Piedmont; your call. But then you’d miss the passage through Dimond Canyon.

From Montclair you can head west back downtown through Piedmont; north to Thornhill Canyon or past Lake Temescal to the Rockridge BART station; south to the trails of Joaquin Miller Park; or east to the high hills through Shepherd Canyon, up the Colton spine, and even all the way through Sibley Preserve, shown below, to Orinda.

None of those possibilities appear on AC Transit’s map of the 33 line, just a lot of human destinations and transit connections.

So climb aboard the 33 some time. Maybe I’ll see you there.

3 Responses to “Geologizing on the bus: The 33 line”

  1. light_of_summer Says:

    Hi! I’m enjoying browsing your blog. Thanks for the very accessible info! Though it’s been a long time since I’ve lived in Oakland, I’m in the Hiller Highlands area about once a month, and have always wondered about the strata visible along Tunnel Road. Tonight, I learned that the Hayward Fault is located further west than I’d thought, although I didn’t find info on those particular strata, yet.

    I’m wondering if you could recommend a resource to help me learn about the geology in the Hercules / Rodeo area. I’d very much appreciate any advice you have re where to start. I’m not (yet?) a serious student of geology, and my geological knowledge is pretty basic, but I like to learn about lots of natural aspects of the places I spend time, including birds, insects, mammals, native plants, and geology.

    Best wishes for the winter holiday of your choice, and for the year of 2018!

  2. nbschiff Says:

    My most frequently used busline! Thank you!

  3. BAKO Joshua Menchi Says:


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