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JOAQUIN MILLER PARK
Oakland’s "Cathedral in the Woods"
The word "woodminster" literally means "cathedral in the woods."
High in the Oakland Hills, with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay and surrounding cities, is the beautiful 500-acre Joaquin Miller Park. The Park is home to one of the only urban second-growth redwood groves in existence, as well as miles of trails, picnic grounds, and a WPA-era art deco construction that includes pools, cascades, and the Woodminster Amphitheater.
Designed by a team headed by Oakland Park Superintendent William Mott Jr and built as a WPA project, Woodminster Amphitheater and Cascades were dedicated in 1940 as a memorial to California writers. The trees and other vegetation along the Cascades, planted by horticulturist and design team member Lionel Sprattling, are designated Writers Memorial Grove, and individual plantings are dedicated to California’s great authors, including Joaquin Miller as well as Bret Harte, Jack London, Mark Twain, Dashiell Hammet, Ina Coolbrith, and many others. This is a fitting tribute, since so many of them visited this spot when "Poet of the Sierras" Joaquin Miller owned this land which he called "The Hights," spelling intentional.
Today, visitors to the park can wander for miles over sunny hillsides or shaded forest paths, and visit many of the structures built by the eccentric Millers. Joaquin’s home, which he called "The Abbey," is a California State Historic Landmark. There is a community center which can be rented for events, plenty of non-intrusive parking, and extensive picnic grounds. Woodminster Cascade flows from the base of Woodminster Amphitheater and falls over 100 feet through a series of pools.
The serene and woodsy atmosphere and stunning views make Joaquin Miller Park one of Oakland’s treasures. It is easily accessible from Highway 13, and full of delights for history buffs and nature-lovers alike.
For more information about Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park, click here.
For information about Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, click here.
Just minutes from downtown, beautiful 500-acre Joaquin Miller Park
has been called the "jewel of the Oakland hills."
Behind Woodminster Amphitheater, surrounding the cascades, are the trees of Writers Grove, each dedicated to a California writer.
The amphitheater and surrounding water features were created as a WPA project. Note the beautiful carving on the amphitheater back.
The water features behind the amphitheater include cascades,
a reflecting pool, and this fountain.
Joaquin Miller created a number of monuments to historical figures he admired, including this pyramid dedicated to Moses.
After Joaquin Miller's death, his daughter, Juanita, commissioned this statue of her father, created by Berkeley artist Kisa Beeck.
The park is delightful in all weather, but takes on a special romantic atmosphere when the coastal fog creeps inland.
Miles of hiking trails meander through the redwood groves.
Dozens of picnic tables scattered through the park attract pre-show diners, family gatherings, and weekend parties.