Indian Rock - Surf Fort Point - Mt. Tam Meteor Shower


Rock Stars & Surf

December can be hectic. Between decking halls and shopping malls you may need to break away from all the ho-ho-ho — at least temporarily. Here are three suggestions for finding a little yuletide breathing room.

Indian Rock Berkeley

Rock of Ages

Berkeley's Indian Rock is a landmark for the Bay Area's original inhabitants, the Ohlone, and for rock-climbing aficionados too. Whether you clamber or not, you'll have fun watching the pulling, edging and leaping. The huge boulder formation's numerous holds provide multiple routes up — and alternatives for climbers of just about every level; there are even stairs to the top for non-climbers. Once you've mastered these, head up Indian Rock Avenue to Mortar Rock Park, where the Ohlone (who were no slouches in the climbing department) formed lower holds by grinding acorns into the rocks. Bring some good friends and good food for a weekend picnic. The bay panorama is especially awesome at sunset – watch as the holiday lights start to sparkle.

Directions: From I-80, exit Buchanan St. and head east. Buchanan St. becomes Marin Ave., continue for 2.1 miles total. At the circle, turn onto Indian Rock Ave. and continue a few feet until the rock appears on your left.

Surf and the City

Looking for some urban wave-watching? The winter breaks at Fort Point can create quite a stir. It's a gnarly scene—and not just because of the rocks in the water. The surfers can be intensely territorial too. For most, this is a spectator sport; we're not recommending you participate. But if there are offshore winds, and a good northwest swell, grab a thermos of hot chocolate, turn up the heat in your car and settle down for a good show: if you're lucky, you'll see a beginning long-boarder try to catch a wave. Up, up, and—ooh! That's gotta hurt. Good times!

More information.

Star Search

Whether you're a wise man or not, this is an appropriate time of year to contemplate things celestial – specifically, the Geminid meteor shower, which happens tonight. A reliable favorite of star-gazers, this astronomical extravaganza will begin just after sunset and reach its peak around 1:00 a.m. Gather friends, flashlights, warm clothes and lawn chairs and head over to Mt. Tam. Park at Pantoll Camp, then walk up Pantoll Road (which is gated at night) as far as you can. Stop and listen to the mountain stillness, smell the sea and the pine, and look up. Now that's what we call star power. (And if the clouds continue to be uncooperative, then check Chabot Space & Science Center's sky calendar for the next meteor shower.)

Directions: From Hwy. 101, take Hwy. 1 toward Stinson Beach and after 3.6 miles turn right on Panoramic Hwy. Continue 5.3 miles to Pantoll Rd. and the ranger station.

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