Niles Canyon is a canyon in the East Bay formed by the Alameda creek and is known for its railroad and movie history. The western part of Niles Canyon is within the city limits of Fremont and Union City. Those who’ve grown up in Fremont know the tale of the ghost of Niles Canyon Road and another Niles Canyon trademark, the Secret Sidewalk.
The spot well known to locals is not really a sidewalk at all, but the top of an aqueduct. It carried water from the Alameda Creek to the Sunol Filter Galleries through the Niles Reservoir for many years. Now, the aqueduct has become nothing more than a very interesting trail to venture to and hike along.
Past “No Trespassing” signs is a graffitti-covered spooky and desolate area where you might find some hippies, stoners, and those just looking for a little local adventure.
As far as mysteries go, the White Witch of Niles Canyon Road is connected to the Secret Sidewalk folklore as well. It has been said that a female hitchhiker will ask for a ride. Once she accepts the ride, she gives the driver a destination across either the Bay Bridge or Dumbarton Bridge. Upon approaching the bridge she will suddenly disappear from the passenger seat.
Another thing to be aware of according to Yelp reviewers is a “hippie guy” who carries around a baseball bat, or tire iron and threatens those who are checking out the Secret Sidewalk. That seems more scary than any paranormal tale, to be honest.
For now, the Secret Sidewalk remains a quiet, secluded place where some often gather, or romantics look to escape for a bit.
The trek to get there can be difficult, but here’s some steps courtesy of Atlas Obscura:
To get there you take Old Canyon Road, to the right of the river, down to the dead end, where there is a gate marked San Francisco Water Dept – No Trespassing. Follow the gravel road for about 1/4 mile, then climb up the embankment to the right, over the train tracks, and up to a little hill with a trestle. There is a rope swing hanging from it. Climb up the left side of the trestle, and you will find the sidewalk.