The Clog’s guide to hiking Berkeley

Allen Zeng/Staff

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Don’t get me wrong, UC Berkeley’s campus has plenty of amazing activities to offer — but sometimes when we get caught up in all the trials of being a college student, it’s helpful to take a step back and get out into nature. Luckily, our campus lies near some of the best hiking trails the Bay Area has to offer! Here are four great areas to explore when you feel like you just need to run away from it all and get outside.

The Big C

The Big C provides a quick and easy escape from campus. Hiking up the trail takes twenty minutes at most and although it’s relatively strenuous, the view of campus at the top is definitely worth it! I’m sure we all remember being dragged up the steep trail with our GBO groups, but it remains an excellent option if you need to gain some perspective and don’t have a ton of time to kill. To access the trail, head up through the Foothill residence hall parking lot.

Berkeley Fire Trails

The views from the summits of these trails are hands down the best views of the Bay Area that Berkeley has to offer. These trails are something like the Big C on steroids, with steep inclines and lots of loose rocks — so come prepared with sturdy shoes. There are trailheads in Strawberry Canyon (to access, walk behind Memorial Stadium and up Centennial Drive) and behind the track at Clark Kerr Campus. The trails are a small part of a large network, so you have a lot of freedom to choose your own adventure! You can hike up and back, hike until you have a view you’re satisfied with or make it into a longer hike by looping through the two trailheads. As an added bonus, people will often put up rope swings alongside the trail, feeding your inner thrill-seeker and making for an excellent photo op!

Tilden Regional Park

Moving just a little bit further away from campus and into the Berkeley Hills, we find Tilden Regional Park. The Nimitz Way loop is one of many amazing trails that weave through this park. The paved, relatively flat path starts at Inspiration Point and is full of — you guessed it —amazing views of the bay. Tilden has a lot to offer beyond hiking, including a farm where you can feed the animals, picnic spots and Lake Anza, which is a great place to go swimming and relax with friends. AC Transit’s 65 bus line can get you there from Downtown Berkeley if you don’t have a car.

Redwood Regional Park

If you feel like you need even more of an escape from campus, head on over to Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills. This area is not as easily accessible by public transportation, but if you find a way up there, the towering coastal redwoods will make you feel as if you’ve driven much farther than you have. I would recommend starting at the Skyline Gate Staging Area and heading out on the East Ridge Trail, then heading down into the valley to loop back on the Stream Trail. 

Whether it’s a quick walk up to the Big C or a full day expedition to the Oakland Hills, these trails are sure to provide the perfect hike for you. You’ll come back to campus with a camera roll full of Instagram-ready photos, feeling more relaxed and ready to get back to your day-to-day life.

Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].