In the dry season, it’s possible to make a loop through Dimond Canyon Park by using the Old Cañon Trail. Starting at the El Centro trailhead, walk uphill a short steep block to Benevides Avenue. At the end of the cul-de-sac of well-kept bungalows, the Old Cañon trail starts just past the rough-hewn log bench.
The vista along the first few hundred yards of the hard-packed, narrow trail is mostly ivy, with glimpses of other Glenview bungalows through the trees. But you will pass two enormous agaves. Where their masts have fallen across the trail, they have been sawn across to preserve access.
Sausal Creek is a distant murmur below, obscured by undergrowth. The trail continues, rising only slightly, till you reach the underpinnings of the Leimert Boulevard bridge, which are covered with bright graffiti. From this point, the climb feels a little more noticeable.
Should you wish to return via Park Boulevard, a steep cutoff to the left is just before a stainless steel drainage pipe crosses the path. But if you continue, you will reach a sharp descent to the right that takes you to the creek, which passes through a culvert at this point. Follow the trail downstream, along the top of the culvert, until Sausal Creek reappears at the other end.
At this point, your trail is the creekbed. You’ll want shoes with good soles and, perhaps, a hiking stick. But after months of drought, the water was so low that even crossing and recrossing the stream, I never got a splash through my Keen sandals.
That doesn’t mean you won’t feel the intrepid adventurer as you pick your way across the rocks and small check dams, finding the best path around the occasional fallen tree. Eventually, you see a retaining wall to your left and can start looking for the Leimert spillway, which is your cue to clamber back up to the maintained portion of the Dimond Canyon Trail, which takes you back to El Centro.
Getting there: The corner of El Centro and Benevides avenues is only two blocks from Park Boulevard. Or you can extend your walk through Dimond Park to the Fruitvale Transit Center at Fruitvale Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.
Cool stuff in the neighborhood: Park Boulevard below El Centro has become home to a number of snazzy restaurants, including Bellanico, Rumbo al Sur and Blackberry Bistro. There’s also a cafe, pizza parlor and small market in the neighborhood.
More information: The best trail map is from Friends of Sausal Creek.