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The South Bay Photography Meetup Group Message Board › Secret Sidewalk - Is it still a good meetup idea?

Secret Sidewalk - Is it still a good meetup idea?

sands in my b.
user 3765322
San Jose, CA
Post #: 53
I hadn't known this about the sidewalk, should I still leave it up as a meetup idea?

A former member
Post #: 158
Is anyone willing to lead this outing? If so please let me know what time/date you would want to go and about how many people you think should go (up to 20 perhaps).

sands in my b.
user 3765322
San Jose, CA
Post #: 54
Truth is, I haven't found anyone who's been there b4, or if there's a way to get there legally.

1 of those 3 access routes, maybe?
user 6884677
San Jose, CA
Post #: 15
Truth is, I haven't found anyone who's been there b4, or if there's a way to get there legally.

I was in this area today, had a cancelled appointment resulting in a free hour, so I drove up Old Canyon Road, to the gate that accesses the California Pressed Brick Company. I talked to a man who lives on this road, a few driveways away from the gate. He told me:

1) There is no way to access the secret sidewalk without walking on the train tracks. This is trespassing, illegal, and very dangerous because freight trains run on these tracks. Freight trains run at irregular times, no schedule, so you never know if a train might come along while you are in a section of track with no safe way to get off the track.

2) The longest section of the secret sidewalk/aqueduct is about 5 miles from the gate, with several hills. You need to be ready for quite a hike in - hiking boots, water, etc.

3) The gate is marked no trespassing about 15 different ways, including a sign saying they have a live webcam that records people trying to get in thru/over/near the gate.

4) There are residents who live on a private section of Old Canyon Road, right near the gate, who look down on the closed off road. They will shoot trespassers. Really shoot, with 22 or bigger rifles. In addition they also fire water balloons but the balloons don't have water in them, they have something that stinks, like skunk. Even if they don't get a direct hit on you, it's going to stink bad. These are the folks who run the webcam, so they can see if someone is trespassing and come out to harass you.

Based on what I learned, I suggest we abandon any attempt to do a meetup at this location! It might be possible for 1 or 2 people to hike back in along the creek (or from the other end?), but not a large meetup crowd. A large group is certain to draw attention and run afoul of the authorities or neighbors.


You can park next to the telephone pole at 1198 Old Canyon. There's a streetlight on this pole, and there's room for 2 cars to park head in (perpendicular to the roadway) to the north of this pole, between the pole and the trees. Do NOT park parallel to the roadway, this will mark you as an outsider who doesn't belong. There is room for more cars on the south side of the pole, again park head-in, not parallel. This location is ~4 houses away from the gate, which (this guy suggested) is far enough away that you don't look like you drove right up to the gate and parked as close as you could before working your way past the gate and into the closed-off area.

I would look for a way down off the road right near where you parked, rather than try to get in near the gate. Get off the road (down by the creek) and DO NOT TALK as you walk in along the creek, past the gate and past all the homes on the private section of Old Canyon. If you talk, people in the houses will hear you! Also remember to be quiet in this section on your way out. You may need to mark the trail (flour?) and mark where you are parked (where you need to climb up out of the creek.

Here's a link to Google Maps at the end of Old Canyon road. Go to Street view and look due north to see the gate. Go south on the road to 1198 to see the telephone pole with parking on both sides.

It might be easier to make your way past the gate in the fall when the flora isn't so lush. It would also be easier to walk in the streambed later in the year. It's the type of stream that mostly dries up in the summer/fall. Google Maps "street view" images were shot when the hills were covered with brown grass, and shows a much more open area than what I saw today.

It is safer (less chance of running afoul or the neighbors) to come in further north. You probably won't want to hike all the way to the brickworks, so if the brickworks part of the area is a big part of why you want to go shoot in this area, keep that in mind. It looks like the secret sidewalk is very close to Niles Canyon road near the bend just east of the Niles Canyon Inmarsat Station, as seen on this map from wikimapia. You might be able to park on the north side of the road in the middle of that bend, then cross the road, cross the creek, and get up by the secret sidewalk that way. Again, this would be a much better outing for late fall when the creek is low or dry, rather than in March!
A former member
Post #: 159
Wow, thanks for the recon, JC. I had no idea it would be this hard to to go there.

I might suggest that people go to this individually or in pairs. Since it's trespassing, I cannot create a meetup for this event.
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