Friday, March 11, 2011

Codornices Creek , Benner Falls - Berkeley's Hidden Waterfall

Upper Benner Falls on Codornices Creek

          Unbeknown to many, Codornices Creek flows beneath Berkeley's City streets through culverts and drains, gravity pulling the fresh water toward the salty marshes of the Eastshore. Following the creek upward toward it's source reveals a hidden waterfall, a grand reprieve from the urban sprawl just minutes away. In fact, I was able to visit this quiet redwood sanctuary known as Benner Canyon on my lunch break.
          To get there I parked my car at the Rose Garden across the street from Codornices Park. I proceeded into the park and down toward the children's playground just past the big cement slide. Behind the fenced off playground are two sets up stairs leading up. I took the set on the left and headed along the creek for a short distance before taking a cement spiral staircase known as Tamalpais Path uphill to the right. I walked up the flight of stairs and just past the first light post is a gate on the left with a "No Trespassing" sign. I opened the gate which led to a narrow path.
          At this point I was on private property but knew that it was OK as I had done prior research. As long as you are respectful of the area and are willing to accept responsibility for yourself, the land owner has been kind enough to allow passage of pedestrians. Please be sure to offer the utmost respect when visiting so that people can continue to enjoy this quiet canyon long into the future.
          The narrow path soon split and I took the fork to the left and continued along the muddy trail. The sound of running water leads you a short distance further to Benner Falls also known as Codornices Falls.
          There was a decent flow of water when I visited however, I'd imagine after a heavy rain it would be more dramatic. Contrarily in the dryer months you might not see much water at all but could still enjoy the isolated setting.

Benner Falls Proper

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