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Cal Culture

Where to hike, run, or walk in Berkeley

September 25, 2020
by Luciné Jamkochian with illustration by Neil G. Ballard

The Cal Alumni Association’s first Berkelium 5K Run/Walk is underway! This virtual race provides alumni and friends of Cal with the opportunity to be active as a campus community from wherever they are. If you have yet to participate in the Berkelium 5K and happen to reside in Berkeley, the following list of our recommended trails will inspire you to go on that trek you’ve always been meaning to. Check them out even if you aren’t currently in the East Bay, and relive your college days trekking through campus and enjoying the views Berkeley has to offer.

Most Cal-Spirited

two people laughing at indian rock park berkeley

@tanvu32 is all smiles repping Cal gear!

Where else can one find a large, concrete yellow “C” on top of a hill? The Big C is known for offering an unbeatable view of the Cal campus. You can reach the trailhead by going through the Foothill parking lot. After the 15-minute, semi-steep hike, you will be able to see the campus from a whole new perspective. Take in the architecture of Berkeley’s major structures—most of which were built by women. Women were behind the creation of the Hearst Mining Building, the Haas School of Business, Berkeley Law, Bowles Hall, Stern Hall, Sather Gate, the Campanile, Morrison Library, Morrison Memorial Music Building, Haviland Hall, and the Valley Life Sciences Building.


two friends laughing in nighttime cityscape

@jessicayamauchi enjoying post-sunset views with a friend.

The Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve is one of Berkeley’s hidden gems, and its trails are fun to explore for adults and kids alike. Starting at the east end of the lower Dwight Way at Fernwald Road, you will find an uphill trail that leads to the park. During your hike, the hills, tall trees, and chirping birds and crickets will give you your daily dose of nature and the wilderness. After approximately 10 minutes, you will find a large rock next to a hill, where you can sit and admire an excellent view of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Depending on the time of day, this peaceful spot lets you watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean. When you are ready to get back up, you can take the trail up to Dwight Way, go left, and make a loop to return to campus.

Most Idyllic

Person in Cal shirt above Berkeley campus

@kentschen checking out views of the Bay!

Lake Anza is a picturesque recreational swimming reservoir in Tilden Regional Park. The water is calm and still, reflecting the gorgeous encircling forest. Begin by going through the Berkeley Rose Garden. Stay on Euclid until you reach Tamalpais Path at the end of Codornices Park. Take the steps to Tamalpais Road and turn left twice to get on Shasta Road. There could be fruit to pick along the path, so keep your eyes peeled for a sweet mid-journey treat. Once you arrive at Grizzly Peak Boulevard, turn left and Shasta will soon continue on your right. For the most breathtaking route, stay on Shasta until you reach Selby Trail, which will lead to the lake.

Approved by a Cal Alum Athlete

Alysia Montano running with family along Berkeley marina

Courtesy of California magazine

If you ever find yourself on the trails that run along the Berkeley Marina, you might spot Cal alumna and track and field elite athlete Alysia Montaño ’08. Starting at her house near Fourth Street, Montaño likes following the San Francisco Bay Trail and running Berkeley’s bicycle-pedestrian overpass. Then, turning around, she runs along César Chávez Park. If running is not your thing, this route is also perfect for bike-riding and walking.

Bring Your Cal Spirit to Whichever Path You Pick

When you start your Berkelium 5K, no matter where you are, your Cal alumni community will rally around you until the very last step. Bring your Cal spirit with you even when you’re not in Berkeley by wearing Cal gear, like our Berkelium 5K runner’s bib. If you’re looking for some Cal gear inspiration, check out participants from our Most Cal-Spirited run here. Happy running or walking, and Go Bears!

Map illustration by Neil G. Ballard.