Ladybugs and Redwoods at Redwood Regional Park
OAKLAND – When people think of visiting the redwoods, they typically think of Muir Woods National Monument and Redwood National Park; however, a less well-known option is nearby. Redwood Regional Park in Oakland is a hidden forest where you can experience the redwoods (and chaparrral and grasslands), minus the crowd. Depending on when you go and which park entrance you choose, your day in the woods might even be free.
Redwood Regional Park is a 1,830-acre park containing a redwood forest grove. In the mid-1800s, this grove was the scene of extensive logging to supply building materials for the San Francisco Bay Area. But, save for the park departments’s informational panels, you’d never know that history, give what a serene and peaceful location it is today.
The park has a little bit of something for everyone. The tall trees provide cool, shady respite on hot days. There are also plenty of wide open spaces for Frisbee and catch, and picnic tables for meals (although, as I learned the hard way, beware of bees). There are many marked hiking trails that traverse nearly 40 miles, several of which appear to be especially popular on the weekends. A children’s play structure is situated about one-quarter mile down Stream Trail from the Canyon Meadow staging area.
While the trees provide a natural canopy and much of the park is lush, there are indications of how dry the weather has been. A fishway interpretive site can be found a short distance inside the park’s Redwood Gate entrance. When I visited in July, the creek in that area was just a trickle; when I visited a month later, it was a dry bed. When the creek is full, rainbow trout live there. Fishing, however, is not permitted. Visitors will also notice that a lot of the park’s underbrush is brown. As the signs explain, “Brown is the new green.”
In addition to communing with the gorgeous redwoods, guests who visit the park from late October to late February get to see a special treat: ladybug hibernation. A relatively new occurrence at Redwood Regional Park, thousands of ladybugs have been converging in clusters along the Stream Trail between Prince Road and Tres Sendes. Another gathering can be found midway on the French Trail between Tres Sendes and West Ridge Trail (Mother Nature willing, of course).
IF YOU GO: Redwood Regional Park is accessible from several entrances. The main entrance, Redwood Gate, is on Redwood Road in Oakland about two miles east of Skyline Boulevard. Fees ($5 per vehicle, $4 per trailered vehicle) are collected on weekends and major holidays from April through October. Dogs are $2. There is no charge for service and guide dogs. Free parking is available at the park’s other staging areas. The park has scattered picnic tables as well as picnic sites for large groups. Reservable sites can accommodate 50 to 150 people. Not all sites are wheelchair accessible. Group camping is available by reservation only.
For more information, visit ebparks.org. To make picnic or camping reservations, call 1-888-EBPARKS.
Your Town Daycations is a monthly feature in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. This article was originally published in the October 2016 issues.