Berkeley, located in the East Bay region is surrounded by hills on the east and the bay water on the west. There are plenty of outdoor nature areas and hiking trails that we visited during our stay in the city!
There are two main types of trails of different difficulties that we encountered. Paved trails are well-maintained paths which usually provide an easier hiking experience. On the other hand, fire trails, which are common in the hills behind UC Berkeley, have paths which are sandy and rocky. The trails around the city can be steep, slippery and dangerous, and it was important for us to keep to the intended trails. We found AllTrails, an online curation of popular hiking routes by the community, useful for planning a hike and the route to take.
We love the hikes and scenic views of nature, campus and the city! Here are some of our favourite hikes and spots that we visited!
Big ‘C’ Hike
One of the easiest and shortest hikes is located right behind the California Memorial Stadium. Enjoy the view of the campus and the iconic Sather Tower on way up to the big ‘C’! We were also lucky to see sheep roaming around behind the fence!
Stonewall Paranomic Fire Trail
One of the steepest and most challenging trails we attempted! Although tiring, there are many viewpoints during the hike and it took us through different sceneries. Wear proper shoes (hiking shoes recommended for fire trails) for better grip on the sandy paths. It was a fulfilling experience and definitely worth the hike!
Inspiration Point at Tilden Regional Park
Tilden is a large nature park located north of Berkeley with many different trails that take us into the forests and mountains. The regional park is accessible by AC Transit-operated buses. We hiked up along semi-shaded bendy trails that eventually led us to the Inspiration Point, which offers a grandiose paranoiac view of the city and the San Pablo Reservoir.
The hikes that we took range in terms of duration and difficulty. It is good to prepare sufficient water, apply sunblock and wear a cap (the sun can be very harsh in Berkeley!). We also went to some scenic nature spots that require little hiking effort.
Indian Rock Park
It was fun to climb up the big rocks that are located within the residential neighbourhood! This is a popular spot for residents during sunset and we saw many enjoying their picnic and view of the Bay Area.
Berkeley Rose Garden
A quiet garden on the north side of campus. The rose garden is well maintained and the different pop of colours makes the place beautiful!
Mile Rock Beach (special mention!)
Located on the far western end of San Francisco, the rocky beach is a hidden gem to us! The view of the rocky cliffs and ocean is breathtaking and looks amazing during sunset. We also walked along Lands End trail and Pacific Overlook trail which offered an equally amazing less-touristy view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the historic forts!
There is so much Berkeley has to offer and we hope you will love being surrounded by nature too!