There are over 400 little-known staircases and pathways that wind quietly unnoticed up the East Bay landscape. Originally built as shortcuts for an influx of hillside residents to get to streetcars post–1906 earthquake, you can explore some of these staircases on a challenging 4-mile urban loop hike through upper Rockridge. Following a route (map below) from Broadway and Brookside Avenue, a total of eleven pathways and staircases climb 800 feet through a mix of century-old homes and modern mansions. Wind along ridgeline roads accented by charming Victorian street lamps, get your heart pumping on an epic climb up covertly shaded Prospect Steps and West Lane, and enjoy spectacular views of the bay.
BONUS CANTINA: Afterwards, head to nearby Calavera in Oakland’s Hive, known for its exotic drinks and reimagined traditional dishes from Oaxaca, the Yucatan, and Chihuahua. Sample from a carefully curated selection of over 150 different bottles of mescal and tequila, or go for a masterful mixed drink made with unique ingredients like celery ice, toasted coconut milk, and chapulines (fried grasshoppers).
Begin the hike at Broadway and Brookside Ave. in Oakland. Free street parking available. Follow the 4-mile route found here, beginning counterclockwise with a left on Broadway up the first staircase to Margarido Dr. Calavera is located at 2337 Broadway in the Hive. Parking available 24 hours at 80 Grand Ave and weekdays at 2353 Webster behind the YMCA. Here is the map route, written out: Free street parking near Brookside Ave and Broadway. From Brookside, turn left on Broadway and take the stairway up to Margarido Dr. Turn left up Prospect Steps and continue up West Lane to Ocean View Dr. Turn right, followed by another right up Alpine Terrace and follow down Locarno Path to Cross Rd. Turn left and then right onto Golden Gate Ave. Cross Broadway Terrace and head up Rotondo Path. Continue right along Florence Ave and Morpeth St before climbing Morpeth Path and turning right down Proctor Ave back to Florence Ave. Turn left and left again for a short section of Cochrane Ave before turning right on Sheridan Rd. Continue down to Broadway Terrace and turn right onto Erba Path for the final climb up to Contra Costa Rd. Continue right along Buena Vista Ave and turn left onto Gondo Path. Turn right on Golden Gate Ave, left on Eustice, and right back onto Brookside Ave down to Broadway.