You don’t need to drive hours to splendor in the glory of California’s famous redwoods. Not far from downtown Oakland there’s a serene grove of towering, 150-foot redwoods. Though these natural beauties aren’t the original trees that grew here. In the mid-1800s, most of the forest was logged to supply the flourishing Bay Area with necessary building supplies. The trees hikers in Redwood Regional Park enjoy today are second and third generation. The 1,830 acre park is home to many varieties of trees – including eucalyptus and evergreen, as well as bird and animal species, like golden eagle, deer, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels. Redwood offers a few major trailheads, and many smaller ones. Myriad loops allow visitors to plan their own difficulty of hikes, from flat, easy strolls to climbs from canyon floor to ridgeline.
What Makes It Great
Nearly all the trails in Redwood Park are themselves a loop, or connect with one, so you can explore the nearly 40 miles of trails without seeing the same thing twice. Stream Trail offers a flat path from one end of the park to the other, but is also the major trail to the more challenging Orchard, Bridle, and French trails, which cut through the park to connect with the West Ridge Trail. The shortest loop options start at 3 miles, and go all the way up to 8 miles. If you’re really looking to extend your visit, Redwood offers several camping facilities, which are available by reservation.
Throughout the park, hikers will enjoy the shade from eucalyptus trees, California bay, madrone, pine, coast live oak, and toyon, and be delighted by colorful patches of elderberry, coyote brush, honeysuckle, blackberry, and snowberry.
Many of the flatter trails are multi-use paths loved by joggers, cyclists and dog walkers. For a more low-key hike, look for the signs showing you which paths forbid bikes. If you’re opting to go off the more beaten paths – those nearest to the entrance staging grounds – you should have no problem being one with nature (and not surrounded by other people) for the majority of your hike
Who is Going to Love It
Redwood Regional Park’s proximity to San Francisco and Oakland, but completely removed feel make it the ideal weekend day escape for the city-dwelling outdoor enthusiast. The plethora of trail choices ensure it’ll take more than one visit before you feel like you’ve seen it all, and the changing foliage with every season will give you even more reasons to keep coming back. The varying difficulty of the trails means every level of hiker will find a route to suit physical ability.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several entrances to Redwood Regional Park. The main entrance is Redwood Gate, on Redwood Road in Oakland about two miles east of Skyline Blvd.
Reach the other staging areas by turning left onto Skyline Boulevard at its intersection with Redwood as you come uphill from Highway 13. You may enter the park from any of the following staging areas: Skyline Boulevard, Robert's Redwood Bowl, Moon Gate Staging Area, and the larger Skyline Gate Staging Area.
If you enter through the Redwood Gate, you’ll need to pay $5 on weekends and holidays. Parking is ample here, with reasonable availability at the other staging areas, too. Dogs are allowed on all trails, but must remain on-leash at all time.