Indian Rock


between San Mateo Rd. and Shattuck Ave. map it



Outcroppings of weathered rock are a prominent feature of the Berkeley Hills, providing evidence of this area’s complex geological past. Composed of Northbrae rhyolite, Indian Rock is a lava remnant. Native Ohlone communities gathered at these outcroppings. Here they ground acorns into flour with stone pestles, eventually wearing bowl-like depressions in the rock.

In the early 20th century the Mason-McDuffie Real Estate Company developed the surrounding Northbrae subdivision. In 1917 the company donated park parcels around five rock formations, including Indian Rock, to the City of Berkeley. During the 1930s, here and at nearby Cragmont Rock, Berkeley mountaineering enthusiasts practiced new techniques that revolutionized the sport. As a young man, famed environmentalist and Berkeley native David Brower was among those who climbed here.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • Indian grinding holes in nearby Mortar Rock (2011), photo R. Kehlmann.

  • Indian Rock (2010), photo R. Kehlmann.

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society