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.