30 Minute Walks: Southeast — Oakridge

As noted in the Every Body Walk! video in the post Walk 30 Minutes = Extend Your Life, walking 30 minutes a day can profoundly improve your life and longevity. “Okay,” you say, “I walked around the block twice this week but that gets old fast. A ‘recipe book’ of 30 minute walks would help me stay with the program.”

To get you off on the right foot, literally and figuratively, I’m introducing a new series called “30 Minute Walks.” We’ll start with easy and moderate walks and work up to more strenuous efforts later. The goal of the series is not only to get you out walking on a regular basis, but also to familiarize yourself with the most walkable parts of the city so you can either design your own walks in the future or settle happily into being a flaneur.

I’ll start the series with four walks, one in each quadrant of the city. When possible, I’ll offer suggestions for paring the walks down to 15 minutes, in the event that you can’t find the time for 30 minutes. The goal is to walk every day and two 15 minute walks are nearly as beneficial as one 30 minute walk. I’ll provide a Google map that will be printable and an elevation profile, when possible, so you can get an idea of the level of effort of each walk. In the event that you’re walking just before or just after work, I’ll provide some ideas about places nearby where you can grab a coffee or a sandwich.

So let’s get walking!

The very first thing you’ll need is good map. I’ll be providing a walk map, but you might need to cut your walk short or for some other reason stray out of the area covered by the walk map. I recommend the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association map because it’s a great map for walkers and lists all the paths (some maps don’t). If you’re a goal-driven person, I would also recommend a pedometer so you can record your total steps, walk duration and total calories expended. Check the post Practical Tools For Walkers – Part 1 for information about analog and digital pedometers.

Other important points before you strike out on your first walk:

  • I’ll always indicate the start of a walk with a GREEN bubble and the end with a RED bubble.
  • I’ll indicate the recommended direction, if any, in the notes on the Google map. Generally speaking, you should be able to walk in either direction.
  • Some paths are not labeled in Google’s database. When that occurs, I’ll use a green arrow to call attention to the path and record the name in the map notes.
  • I’m basing the estimated 30 minute duration on my average walking speed — your mileage (or at least your speed) may vary. I also am taking pictures and generally fooling around, so a fast walker may cover the distance in less time.

Our first walk is in the Claremont District around The Uplands. I selected this neighborhood because the color is so magnificent this time of year. There seems to be a higher concentration of persimmon and maple trees — it’s really stunning. Here’s the suggested route:

View 30 Min. Walks: SE – Oakridge in a larger map

The walk begins by climbing Oakridge Path. There are some stairs and a steady uphill, but it’s not strenuous. It’s a good way to get the blood pumping first thing in the morning. After the initial climb, the remainder of the walk is either flat or downhill. Here’s the elevation profile:

The photos of whimsical garden art are from the Oakridge Path for the most part, so you’ll have something to amuse yourself as you walk. The path also offers some breathtaking views.

If you only have time for a 15 minute walk, follow the route up Oakridge Path, continue onto Oak Ridge Rd. but turn right onto Park Path, which is about halfway between the end of Oakridge Path and Oakridge Steps. At the bottom of Park Path, turn left and proceed to The Cutoff, which will be on your right. The Cutoff ends at The Plaza Drive. Turn right and follow The Plaza Drive to Domingo then follow Domingo back to the starting point.

If you’re a morning walker, you can drop in at Peet’s on Domingo near Ashby and/or stroll down to The Bread Garden for pastry. If you’re an evening walker, you can treat yourself to dinner at Rick & Ann’s on Domingo and/or a drink at the Paragon Bar in the Claremont Hotel across the street.

You may find that it’s just too difficult to get out on these 30 minute walks every day. If that’s the case, take half of your lunch break to walk around the area where you work. Get off one Muni or BART stop short of your destination and walk that extra distance. When you need a break from the more routine walking, come back to these walks that have more to offer in terms of interesting scenery. Mix it up. The important thing is to get into the habit.

Please let me know how the walks are working for you and how your walking program is proceeding. Also feel free to leave suggestions for additional walks or ways to improve the routes I’ve provided.

Good luck and have fun.