Indian Rock Park is a 1,18-acre (4,800 m2) public park located at 950 Indian Rock Avenue in Berkeley , California, on the slopes of the Berkeley Hills. It is located in the north-eastern part of the city, about two blocks north of the Arlington / Marin Circle and the Indian Rock Avenue. A large rock outcropping on the west side of Indian Rock Ave is the central feature of the park. The larger part of the park, on the opposite side of the street, has several much smaller rock outcroppings, grass fields, and a small barbecue and picnic area. The rock is made up of the Northbrae rhyolite.
The land for Indian Rock Park was donated to the City of Berkeley by Duncan McDuffie, the real estate mogul, president of the Sierra Club and mountaineer, during the development of the Northbrae area by Mason McDuffie. It was dedicated to park purposes in 1917. Indian Rock has long been used as a practice site for serious rock climbing, especially bouldering. Members of the Sierra Club began to climb there regularly on weekends at least as early as the 1950s.
Dick Leonard, the "father of modern rock climbing," and well-known environmentalist David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, learned about rock climbing and developed their mountaineering techniques at Indian Rock. Brower used this special knowledge to prepare training manuals during the Second World War, which proved to be critical in enabling the U.S.'s 86th Regiment. Army to surprise the Germans at Riva Ridge in the northern Appennines in Italy, a major action that disrupts German lines in southern Europe.
The top of the main outcropping, Indian Rock, has views from downtown Oakland and the University of California, Berkeley campus to the south, central Berkeley, San Francisco Bay, and San Francisco to the west, and Marin County and Richmond, California to the north and west. All three of the largest bridges in the bay can be seen from the rock. Volcanic in origin, Indian Rock is the largest of a number of similar ryolite rock formations in the vicinity, including smaller rocks in the part of the park on the east side of Indian Rock Ave.
For example, just one block to the east of Indian Rock Ave. is the 1,600 m2 (0.39 acre) Mortar Rock Park, which has its own granite outcropping complex. Many remnants of acorn-grinding pits carved into solid rock can be found in all these outcroppings, especially the well-named Mortar Rock. The local indigenous people, the Huichin band of the Ohlones, made these pits.
The Indian Rock Path, a public walkway, connects the park to the intersection between Solano Avenue and Alameda. The main part of Indian Rock itself has two sets of steps leading to its summit, carved into the rock during the depression years. Indian Rock Park was featured in the New York Times on at least two occasions in 2010 and 2018.
This hidden gem in Berkeley, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Cafe Ohlone
- Games of Berkeley
- Morrison Library
- Fairy Post Office
- Founders Rock
- Fish House
- The Vine Street UFO
- East Bay Vivarium
All of these wonderful - but not so well known - attractions are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!