Walking on the Wild Side: Covert Path

Approaching Covert path from it’s highest point on Keeler Ave., it’s easy to mistake it for a pleasant but not particularly wild path. Guarded and obscured by the outstretched branches of an old pine, Upper Covert sneaks along the side of a neighboring house and meanders along a gentle, grassy slope. Halfway down the 164 railroad tie steps, you’ll slip through some trees and into a more shaded area. The slope steepens as it descends down to Cragmont Ave. All very nice, you may say, but still very obviously in someone’s back yard.

Upper Covert is the older segment of the two-part path, finished in the spring of 2005. Lower Covert, the portion that connects Cragmont Ave. with Keith Ave., resisted development until the spring of 2009. Its steep slopes, heavily wooded knolls, and a twisting tributary of Codornices Creek offered a significant challenge to path builders. It is those same physical features that make Lower Covert such a welcoming refuge.

Descending from Cragmont Ave., Lower Covert begins routinely enough with a flight of 40 concrete steps. Once you’ve reached the bottom, the terrain quickly switches to a woodland trail, leading you into the heart of Lower Covert’s charms.

Following the trail, you’ll encounter more railroad tie steps twisted into a switchback and descending into a gorge. This part of the path is particularly beautiful in the morning as filtered sunshine dapples the creek bank and falls off into the darkened gorge.

Switchback, Lower Covert

Continue down into the gorge and cross the stone-lined creek bed. This is an excellent place to just hang out for awhile. The gorge is protected from most street sounds. You’ll normally hear only the many birds that frequent the area, the skittering of squirrels and the light rustling of redwood boughs blowing in the breeze.

Covert Path lies in the heart of some of the best walking country the Berkeley hills have to offer. Chart a course to include some of the other neighboring paths or, better yet, just wander and let your feet be your guide.