No. 13: Shepherd Canyon Park

A narrow footpath makes several switchbacks on the hill above Shepherd Creek.

A narrow footpath makes several switchbacks on the hill above Shepherd Creek.

A downed pine tree that has completely blocked the path turns this into a case of “walk, interrupted.” Even so, the short trail system in Shepherd Canyon Park has some points of interest, especially if you are walking with a member of the playground set.

The initial aspect is somewhat forbidding, as orange temporary fences wall off Shepherd Creek and part of the soccer fields. As you walk past the restrooms, you can look for a small wooden post of the kind that sometimes holds trail maps, and follow it across a wood plank that bridges a swampy spot. A series of narrow switchbacks take you up a hill covered with soaproot and vetch, but the tree will keep you from reaching the Torii gate that marks the trail’s end on Escher Drive, although you will get close enough to spot it. (It would be possible to connect with the Railroad Trail by continuing east on Escher.)

If you are undaunted by the temporary fences and instead take the multipurpose trail on the west bank of the creek, you will wind up at a charming wooden bridge and rope swing over the creek. A short distance up the switchbacks from a picnic table is a stone bench, like a hidden throne.

Getting there: Shepherd Canyon Park is just past the intersection of Snake Road and Shepherd Canyon Road. Both Snake and Shepherd Canyon are heavily traveled, twisty roads with no shoulder, but there is a gravel parking lot at the park.

Cool stuff in the neighborhood: Montclair Baking, near the intersection of Snake Road and Mountain Boulevard, is owned by Cheryl Lew, a Food Network “Cake Challenge” winner.

More information: The Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association has a good map.

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