Botanic Gardens stairs

Stairway to nature

New trail improvement offers closer access to the Botanic Gardens

February 28, 2023
Author: Imran Ghori
February 28, 2023

The campus community now has easier access to the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens on a stairway connected to a scenic path.

The Office of Planning, Design and Construction recently completed construction of the stairway on a small hill on the east side of campus that provides a shortcut to the gardens.

The stairway was built over a steep incline overlooking the Botanic Gardens parking lot and near its main entrance. It links to an existing trail through grass brush on a small hill behind the new Plant Research 1 building. The trail improvement was funded as part of that project.

The stairway is made of pressure-treated wood, stained and painted brown. It features mesh wire under each step, and cable ties and a steel handrail on each side. It has 36 steps with three landings and is mounted on concrete footings underneath to stabilize the structure, which should provide sturdy support, said Tameesha Hayes, project manager with Planning, Design and Construction.

“This pathway was used before,” she said. “This is just a way to make it safer.”

At one point, the slope had stepping points cut into the side, allowing people to climb up and down but over time those eroded and became hard to traverse, said Jodie Holt, director of the Botanic Gardens.

“I am delighted to see this stairway be developed to provide greater access to the gardens by the campus community,” she said. “One of my primary goals as director has been to promote the gardens to campus, and this new access will overcome the oft-stated argument that it is too far and takes too long to walk to the gardens.”

Holt said the path was not widely known to visitors but is useful for students, staff, and faculty seeking a shortcut. Normally, they would have to go over to East Campus Drive, enter the road to Parking Lot 13 by the Chemical Sciences building, and walk up Botanic Gardens Road to the gardens entrance. She said she looks forward to seeing the campus take advantage of the pathway.

The new stairway and path are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Signs have been posted at both ends advising hikers.

One of the project goals was to keep the hill area in its natural state so no improvements have been added to the trail through the grass, Hayes said.

The trail is a short climb from the end of the parking lot at Plant Research 1 on East Campus Drive, goes through thick brush and grass, and is a short walk to the stairway, with a view of the Box Springs Mountain and “C” above.