Sandalwood Court’s Not So Secret Hidden Entrance into Lafayette Community Park
August 26, 2013
Quiz: How many different ways can you walk into Lafayette Community Park?
The official answer stretches to five if you count the two options (path and footbridge) off the park’s main parking lot on Saint Mary’s Road (between Rohrer Drive and South Lucille Lane). The other official entrances include the Silverado Drive entrance near Burton Drive, the Rohrer entrance across from Read Drive, and the footbridge at the back of the Lafayette Community Center (500 Saint Mary’s Road).
There are, though, at least four other ways to enter the park. Not so secret hidden neighborhood entrances. Ask the average middle school kid with a BMX bike if you want the full list. There may be more than nine. Beware, though: Some of the teen options take you dangerously close to creek side poison oak territory.
Our favorite of the unofficial entrance points is the one found near the bend at the bottom of Sandalwood Court, a few blocks further than Sandalwood’s path entrance onto the Burton Valley Elementary campus.
To find this Sandalwood path into the park, walk down the shared driveway as Sandalwood curves and look for the metal gate on the left, just past the white columns. This takes you along a short dirt trail lined with berry bushes that quickly intersects this 68-acre park at what feels near center of the main trail, leaving you with lots of choices.
Go left and you can either take the nature trail steps accessed to the right or climb the hill. Either way, you’ll find yourself near one of the park’s two Eucalyptus groves, and looking down on the ball fields, batting cages, picnic area, tot playground and restrooms — and the footbridge to the main parking lot.
If you decide to turn right after entering the park via Sandalwood, you’ll have quick options to climb to the park’s 2nd Eucalyptus grove, exit the park via the Lafayette Community Center footbridge or explore the park’s more level open space trails and easy access to the park’s two creeks. From there, you can either circle back or exit via the Silverado entrance (or a few other “secret” access points!).
Keep in mind that the footbridge doesn’t just take you to all of the Community Center’s resources (classrooms, information office, gated tot lot, pre-school, restrooms, hockey rink and bocce ball court). The footbridge also links to the Lafayette-Moraga Trail with access to Stanley Middle School and downtown Lafayette in one direction and Saint Mary’s College and Moraga Commons in the other.
What’s really great about the Sandalwood entrance is that, even with all this going for it, it doesn’t get a significant amount of traffic. The Lafayette Community Park is nestled into a relatively small section of Burton Valley and neighbors have many other entrances into the park and other options for accessing the Lafayette-Moraga Trail.