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Redwood Creek
Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, CA

This is a wonderful loop hike up the Stream Trail along Redwood Creek through a magnificent second-growth redwood forest which is over a century old. The hike is completed by looping back on the East Ridge Trail, which gives access to different scenery and great views.

Hike Description
Begin your hike at the Canyon Meadow Staging Area. Take either the Steam Trail (actually a paved road at this point) past the Orchard picnic area and play area, or, for a more peaceful start, cross the creek and head upstream on the Bridle Trail. When the two trails rejoin, you'll probably want to continue on the Stream Trail. At the Old Church picnic area, ask the kids if they can tell why this site was given that name (the kids should be able to find the foundation of the tiny old church).

If you're wondering why the "trail" is actually a paved road, you should know that many years ago the road was open for cars as far as Trail's End, but was gated closed to protect the redwood groves along this stretch.

Continue up Stream Trail, stopping to admire the small cascades in the creek and the redwood trees, as you work your way up to Fern Hut. The boys will enjoy exploring the stone shelters at Fern Hut and Mill Site. These were built in the 1930's and are great for a Webelos overnight.

After Mill Site, the hike begins in earnest. The redwoods continue for a while longer, then the trail begins a gentle climb. You might wish to take a break at Girl's Camp before beginning the steep climb up to Skyline Gate. Your last change for a restroom stop is at Skyline Gate. Continue the hike along East Ridge, where you'll go through an extensive eucalyptus and Monterey Pine forest. The vegetation soon opens up and you'll have some nice views of San Leandro Reservoir to the east and of the hills to the south. Don't miss the turnoff to Canyon View trail, as this is the way back to the parking lot.

Alternate Routes
You may choose an alternate route if desired. Minimum requirements to earn the patch are to hike 5 miles, some of which must be through the redwoods.

Webelos camping at Fern Hut or Mill Site may wish to loop back on Prince Road so they can return to their camp.

Hikers using public transportation will also wish to choose an alternate loop.

Historical and Natural Features
The highlight of this park is the hidden redwood forest tucked into a canyon over the ridge from Oakland. The redwoods were such an important resource that the Alameda-Contra Costa county line was carefully chosen to divide the redwoods between the two counties. Extensive logging took place here in the mid-1800's, and you can see the remains of this era and the agricultural era which followed - flat areas near the old mill sites, old fruit trees and other non-native plants. During drought years it can be hard to imagine water-powered mills operating in this canyon.

Ask the kids to look for redwoods growing in a circle with an empty space in the middle - these trees are the root sprouts of an old tree which was logged long ago. Also look for redwood cones - the kids will be surprised at how tiny they are (but remember - no collecting!). Sword ferns cover the forest floor.

You can have some fun identifying other trees in this area. pick up a bay leaf (a dead one from the ground--not from the tree), break it in half, and smell it. These are often used to season soups and spaghetti sauce. Compare this smell with that of the eucalyptus (there's one growing at Fern Hut). The eucalyptus was imported from Australia for lumber, but the wrong species was imported, so that enterprise didn't work out. Eucalyptus now are used mainly for landscaping, but many people regard them as just very large, highly flammable weeds.

Webelos working on Forester should compare the Douglas firs growing at Mill Site with the redwoods. Both trees are important timber resources for California.

Wildlife sightings in this park include deer, rabbits, lizards, hawks. Webelos overnight campers will hear owls in the evening. Mill Site and the surrounding area is famous for observing over-wintering ladybugs - you'll see thousands in the winter season!

East Bay Regional Park District
2950 Peralta Oaks Ct.
PO Box 5381
Oakland, CA 94605
(510) 635-0135 (general info)
(510) 636-1684 (group camping reservations)

Hike statistics
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation gain: 700 feet
Grade: mostly easy, short steep climb from Girls' Camp to East Ridge Trail
Suggested age: Bears and Webelos
Suggested season: Anytime, but may be muddy after heavy rains. The redwoods are nice and cool in summer. Fall colors are pretty.

AAA "Alameda-Contra Costa Counties," "Oakland."
EBRPD folder "Redwood Regional Park", available at park (usually), and at most EBRPD Visitor Centers and park district headquarters.

By Car: From either Highway 580 or Highway 24, turn only Highway 13 (the Warren Freeway). Take the Redwood Rd. exit. Drive east on Redwood Rd., up the hill, cross Skyline Blvd., continue on Redwood Rd. approximately 2 miles, turn left into Redwood Park. Park in large parking lot at end of park road. A parking fee of a few dollars is sometimes collected at the entrance kiosk.

By Public Transit: AC Transit buses run to points on Skyline Boulevard near various park entrances.Check AC Transit schedules.

Park Facilities
Picnic areas(tables, grills, water, restrooms) Some are near the parking lot, larger areas are walk-in.
Children's Play area and adult exercise apparatus.
Fire Circle/Amphitheater.
Fishway Interpretive Site (rainbow trout were discovered near here).
Reservable Group campsites (Webelos will love Fern Hut and Mill Site).
Extensive hiking trail system.
Naturalist programs are occasionally conducted here.

Limitations and Cautions
Remember money for parking fee.
Parking lot sometimes fills up.
Poison oak is abundant.
Bicyclists and equestrians share the trails - supervised the children closely.
Don't let the children scramble up and down the steep hillsides or stream banks - it causes severe erosion.

Activity suggestions and other comments
Your pack might want to combine this hike with a big picnic or barbecue at the end. Some packs have enjoyed using the Fire Circle for ceremonies.

Webelos den leaders will want to consider an overnight. Overnight hikers should begin at the Fishway. This is also where vehicles hauling gear for the overnight go through the gate.

Advancement Opportunities

Achievements: 5d, 10a, 12b, 12c, 12e, and Electives 11a, 11b, 12a, 12c, 12f, 23e

Forester, Naturalist, Traveler, Family Member


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