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.
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.
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
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!
By Public Transit: AC Transit buses run to points on Skyline Boulevard near various park entrances.Check AC Transit schedules.
Activity suggestions and other
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.