With midterm season reaching a stopping point, many UC Berkeley students will have some extra time to explore new areas as the season starts changing. After a few months in Berkeley, the area can start to become very closed in, so planning a weekend trip with your friends is a great way to try something new and relieve stress. This article will highlight some great nature spots to check out in your free time.
About a 45-minute drive from the UC Berkeley campus lies Mount Tamalpais. Known by locals as Mt. Tam, this is a California state park that covers over 25,000 acres and has mainly redwood and oak forests. There are many hiking trails on Mt. Tam, but if you want to take a long hike, the summit loop is roughly 13 miles. By doing a quick google search of Mt. Tam you can find a list of various hiking trails and lookout points.
Just past Mount Tam is Stinson Beach, which is about a one-hour drive from Berkeley. Stinson Beach is a great spot to hang out with friends on a sunny day and is famous for its white sands and jagged cliffs to reach the ocean. The beach itself stretches on for three miles, boasting great views of the Pacific Ocean and mountainous formations in the background.
Half Moon Bay
A bit further down the coast past Pacifica is Half Moon Bay, located south of San Francisco. This coastline is near the renowned waves of Mavericks. When conditions are right, the ocean produces waves over 60 feet tall off of Pillar Point. Half Moon Bay not only has great walking paths but also a cute downtown for lunch and shopping. Whilst on the way to Half Moon Bay, you can take a detour in San Francisco. Some of my personal favorites include Golden Gate Park, Crissy Field or Chestnut Street.
If you’re seeking something more local to the East Bay Area, the Lafayette Reservoir is just 15 minutes east to Berkeley, featuring a nice hiking loop trail and pedal boating. Further past that lies Mount Diablo, featuring a large amount of hiking, running and biking trails in addition to campgrounds and good sunset spots.
Briones Regional Park
Briones Regional Park is another good place to drive, which has lots of outdoor trails and is a great place for picnics. In the springtime, it features huge amounts of poppy blooms and green grass. More local to Berkeley, you can also see spring blooms at the Berkeley Rose Garden about a 15-minute walk from the center of campus. If you start at the North Gates and walk about 10 minutes up Euclid Avenue, you will hit the garden, which also has a great view of the Bay Bridge.
Although Berkeley can sometimes feel small, it is important to remember all of the natural beauty we have right around us. If you’re looking to go somewhere for the weekend, Tahoe, Redwood National Park, Yosemite and Santa Barbara are all fun weekend destinations too. With the weather starting to warm up, it is the perfect time to take advantage of natural beauty to unwind, relax and reset.