From C to Sea

Sunset Above UC Berkeley

If a sign is high enough on a hill and large enough to be seen by lots of people, there’s probably a pretty great view from the top. Take the Big C, a giant yellow letter built in 1905 into the hillside overlooking the UC Berkeley campus. Originally constructed as a truce between freshman and sophomore classes after being banned from rolling each other down the hill to protect dueling class numerals, the locally known concrete symbol now celebrates over 100 years of athletics and academia—in addition to excellent views. A short hike to the top unveils both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges, gleaming on the horizon behind the sprawling Cal campus and its beautifully lit campanile. Memorial Stadium and the Greek Theatre lie prominently on either side below. (For added ambience, hike up for sunset on concert days at the Greek. You’ll feel like you’ve scored free tickets to a private show.) Don’t forget to pick up some burritos from La Burrita (2530 Durant) before you hike up. A picnic table at the top makes an excellent spot to snack and bask in the setting sun’s golden glow … you know, kinda like a UC Berkeley golden bear.

To reach the Big C, drive up Hearst (which turns right to become Cyclotron) and veer right into the Foothill parking lot behind the Greek Theatre. Parking fees and hours. Climb the wooden stairs and cross the street before turning right and continuing past Lawrence Hall of Science to an unmarked dirt trail. Follow the trail for about 0.5 mile until you reach a fork. Veer left for a short climb to the Big C. Path not lit—bring a headlamp. 

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