Canyon Three extremely curvy miles down Pinehurst Road from Oakland's Skyline Boulevard along San Leandro Creek
The only services in this little unincorporated hamlet, located off Pinehurst Road between Oakland's Skyline Boulevard and the back side of Orinda just within the Contra Costa County line, are a post office and a 65-student elementary school. Behind the post office, "Private Road" signs warn the curious to keep away. But once past the signage, a strange world opens up before you, nestled amongst the grand old redwoods and oak trees of the Oakland Hills. A series of unpaved or half-paved single-lane roads branch off into the hills, sprinkled with houses fit for inhabitation by hobbits, with dwellings that are little more than tarpaper shacks, and giant, rambling houses that seem to be made out of the big city's detritus. Sprinkled among them are quite a series of abandoned cars and machinery parts. The burg was once home to logging camps and notorious saloons, then a resort, and now is filled with alternative-lifestyle types. As you drive through now, it gives off a cool-yet-creepy vibe, and it seems that strangers are not often seen or necessarily welcome. It's unclear if the music that you almost hear out of the corner of your ears is the singing of happy hippie elves in their own Lothlorien or some Northern California version of dueling banjos.