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

large rock and grassy field
Remillard Park is a favorite for local rock climbers | Photo: Julie Herson

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, Berkeley

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

Location: 950 Indian Rock Avenue at Shattuck Avenue

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

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Contra Costa Rock Park, Berkeley

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 going 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"

Location: Contra Costa Avenue between Los Angeles Avenue and Yosemite Rd

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

Mortar Rock Park, Berkeley

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.

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Mortar Rock Park - Berkeley

Location: Indian Rock Avenue at San Diego Road

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

Great Stoneface Park, Berkeley

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!

great stoneface berkeley

Location: 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 newly refreshed playground, a grassy field, lunch tables, rocks for scrambling, and another fantastic view of the San Francisco Bay. The giant rock feature was apparently donated by a countess.

playground in Berkeley hills
The newly refreshed Remillard Park is a fun little gem in the Hills | Photo: Julie Herson

Location: 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

Location: 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.

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

John Hinkel Park, Berkeley

This is not a rock-scrambling spot, but there’s a newly completed nature-based playground that’s definitely worth a visit alongside several stony staircases. The outdoor amphitheater is also a fun place for your kids to pretend to do a show or be in the audience. The paths are lots of fun and creek beds are nearby. [Read more about John Hinkel Park]

child climbing on log
Balancing and climbing are all within reach for tots at John Hinkel Park | Photo: Julie Herson

Location: 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: currently there’s a port-o-potty with a handwashing station. Not sure how long it’ll stay there though.
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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2 thoughts on “Where to Scramble: The Rock Parks of North Berkeley”

  1. Some other comments: another park just up the hill from Mortar Rock is Grotto rock on Santa Barbara. Look for stone benches on top of Grotto and Mortar rocks. Mortar is named for the native mortars you can find there on the north side. Contra Costa has a good oak tree for climbing behind it, and you can climb up the south side. It’s fun to watch climbers on the east side of Cragmont rock, and rei offers climbing classes there.

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