Sycamore Grove  LbNA # 7311 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateMar 3 2004
LocationLivermore, CA
Planted Bymoderndulcinea    
Found By Little Foot 1221
Last Found Mar 29 2008
Hike Distance?
Last EditedFeb 12 2016

Sycamore Grove is a gorgeous park of 742 acres located off Highway 84 and Wetmore Road in Livermore. The park is mainly flat, surrounded by beautiful hills, and offers a variety of paved and dirt trails for walkers, bikers, rollerbladers, stroller-pushers, and horseback riders. Dogs on leash are also allowed. The park is full of wildlife, including jackrabbits, wild turkey, deer, skunks, redtail hawks, groundsquirrels, and snakes. There is a $3 all day fee for parking (bring one dollar bills or quarters for the machine)

For more information about Sycamore Grove, see and

There are different ways to reach the letterbox I've placed in the park, so I'll list a couple different ones depending on which entrance you'd like to park at.

Go to the the Sycamore Grove entrance on Wetmore Road, right off Holmes. Park in the lot, then start on the blacktop path. Follow the path for a minute or two. The path will split off to the left towards bathrooms, but stay on the right and you'll see the bridge ahead.

The creek is a great place to look for small fish, frogs, polliwogs, skates, and dragonflies.

Continue walking along the paved path past the bridge. When the blacktop path suddenly hooks to the left, continue straight ahead on the dirt path. Walk straight towards the vineyards.

Continue walking, and as the path turns to the left, the vineyards will be on your right. You're going to be walking the perimeter of the park, following beneath the power lines. You'll pass a Park Residence on your right, as well as corrals. Keep following the dirt path along the fenceline, just to the right of the power lines.

Now, you'll come up on an area with several paths converging. On your left, there will be a path with a long lane of trees. There will also be a telephone pole, with the numbers 16 and 3 on it in orange numbering. You want to continue in the direction you've been going. Don't take the steep path on your right that goes up the hill (with a sign that reads "Wagon Road Trail") - continue ahead. Then you'll see a path that heads up the hill on your right that is shaded by lots of trees (This also has a "Wagon Road Trail" sign.).

Go up the shady path. When you reach the top, keep going. In a couple of minutes, you'll be there! Keep walking until you see a large water trough for horses off to your left. (Take a peek inside - depending on the time of year, you may see tiny frogs or polliwogs in the water).

Behind the trough you'll find the remnants of an artificial fish pond built for Sarah Smith, wife of Julius Paul Smith. JP Smith was the original owner of the Olivina Winery.

The pond is very close to what was planned to be JP and Sarah's estate home. You might notice the palm trees there. If you look carefully, you will find that the palm trees line up fairly closely with the stone arch at Arroyo and Wetmore Roads.

Unfortunately, the estate was never built. The foundation of the family residence is just to the south of the park residence, recessed into the hillside. That home is believed to have burnt down in the 30s or 40s.

So! Back to the remains of the fish pond! (this is a great place to stop and have lunch, by the way.)

What you seek is in the eastern corner of the foundation, under a pile of rocks. Be careful when you put the rocks back, so no one sees what's underneath!

There are two entrances to Sycamore Grove. For this outing, start at the entrance that is on Arroyo Road, across from Wente Winery.

After parking your car, head for the paved path. Like a modern-day Dorothy, follow the mottled paved road. (Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the mottled paved road!)

Keep an eye out (and down) for the white bicycle. Take the first left after you see the bicycle. The left will be just before the electrical tower.

Head towards the Park Boundary sign (it's on fence to a pasture where there are usually horses), then follow the path along the fenceline.

Keep walking. Ahead you'll see the "castle" with the red door - also known as the ruins of the Olivina Winery. Before you reach the ruins, turn left and follow the path up the steep hillside.

Keep an eye out for a math equation that equals 71. When you see it, take the next left.

Now, look ahead for a large water trough for horses. Behind it, you'll find the ruins or remains of a stone foundation for a fish pond. (for more information about the background to this pond, read the description above.)

What you seek is in the eastern corner of the foundation, under a pile of rocks. Be careful when you put the rocks back, so no one sees what's underneath!