Where to Scramble: The Rock Parks of North Berkeley - 510 Families

Where to Scramble: The Rock Parks of North Berkeley

There are a number of places in the North Berkeley Hills where you can see boulders jutting out from the hills, among the houses, and a few of them have stairs, entry paths, or grassy areas that make them destinations worth exploring. We have been making our way around the rock parks of Berkeley, and thought you’d like to see where they are.

Rock Parks of Berkeley

The Rock Parks of North Berkeley

Rock Parks of Berkeley
Map from City of Berkeley

A bonus feature of the rock parks is that many are adjacent to some of the secret stairs and paths of Berkeley. Use my Rock Park-highlighted Google Map to zoom in and discover the paths, often labeled “lanes” in this neighborhood.

Indian Rock Park

This spot offers a massive rock for climbing, with man-made steps carved into the side of the hill. At the top, you’ll find an incredible view of the Bay. Across the residential road “Indian Rock Avenue’ is a patch of grass, considered part of Indian Rock Park, where you can hang out with more rocks. Around one side of the main peak, you might see real rock climbers practicing their techniques. [All about Indian Rock Park with kids]

Indian Rock Park and child in Berkeley
Kai at Indian Rock Park | Photo: Anna Azimi

950 Indian Rock Avenue at Shattuck Avenue

Sponsor

Parking: easy street parking
Bathrooms: none
Food and commerce: Close to Solano Avenue

Contra Costa Rock Park

This spot is hardly a park — though it is identified as one by the city of Berkeley. It is an easy-to-access spot with a great view, and preschoolers will enjoy the thrill of goin

g to the top of the rock. The small grass area attached is not well-kept as of this writing, and we suggest tackling this one only if you’re making a tour of all the rock parks.

Contra Costa Rock "Park"

Contra Costa Avenue between Los Angeles Avenue and Yosemite Rd

Sponsor

Parking: easy street parking
Bathrooms: none
Food and commerce: Close to Solano Avenue

Mortar Rock Park

This place is all about the rocks. Little kids might enjoy watching climbers use their equipment, but there are also stairs that will allow them to get some height themselves.

Mortar Rock Park - Berkeley

Indian Rock Avenue at San Diego Road

Parking: easy street parking
Bathrooms: none
Food and commerce: Close to Solano Avenue

Great Stoneface Park

Set among the large houses of the North Berkeley Hills, this sweet park is used as sort of a bonus front yard in the neighborhood. You’ll find families enjoying outdoor meals or trying out stomp rockets. Some of the climbers are showing off really cool technical skills on the boulder!

Thousand Oaks Blvd, at Yosemite Road and San Fernando Ave

Parking: easy street parking
Bathrooms: none
Food and commerce: Close to Solano Avenue

Remillard Park

More of a proper park, this destination features a playground, a grassy field, picnic tables, rocks for scrambling, and another fantastic view of the San Francisco Bay. The giant rock feature was apparently donated by a countess.

Remillard Park Berkeley
Remillard Park is a peaceful place to climb (until you bring kids!) | Photo: Brittany N

Poppy Lane at Keeler Avenue and Miller Avenue

Parking: easy street parking
Bathrooms: none
Food and commerce: Equal distance to upper Solano Ave and Upper Shattuck Ave, it’s too far to walk with little ones to either of these places.

Cragmont Rock Park

A short walk from Remillard Park, Cragmont Park has a covered picnic table area facing the spectacular Bay view. A flat lawn area offers plenty of space to play and a sloping lawn area nearby offers a grassy spot from which to watch the sunset or roll down the hill. The rock outcroppings are fun for little ones in the main part of the park, and a tiny paved area offers a basketball hoop for taking shots, but be warned: if your ball goes over the edge, you may not get it back.

Cragmont Rock Park - Berkeley

960 Regal Rd, Berkeley

Parking: easy street parking
Bathrooms: none
Food and commerce: Equal distance to upper Solano Ave and Upper Shattuck Ave, it’s too far to walk with little ones to either of these places.

The covered pavilion at Cragmont Park is a good spot for an outdoor meal with a view.

John Hinkel Park

This is not a rock-scrambling spot, but more of an exploration spot. The playground is in terrible shape, so avoid that, and head for the outdoor amphitheater where your kids can pretend to do a show or be in the audience. The paths are lots of fun and creek beds are nearby. [More on John Hinkel Park]

Somerset Avenue between Southampton Avenue and San Diego Road

Parking: There is a small lot for this park, but it’s also easy to park around the perimeter.
Bathrooms: none
Food and commerce: Close to the top of Solano Ave, but perhaps too far to walk with little kids.

Related: Berkeley Parks and Playgrounds

[All photos by Whitney Moss unless otherwise indicated]

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