Tucked between Oakland, Moraga, and Lake Chabot, and a short drive for East Bay residents, lies an oft-forgotten getaway - Redwood Regional Park. While it lacks the immediate gratification of Muir Woods (redwoods are the first thing you see there), the hike to the canyon bottom as well as the drive to the park are an experience all their own.
To get a true sense for the lay of the land and the beauty of the park's surroundings, enter Redwood Regional from Grizzly Peak/Skyline Blvd. Though winding and a bit less direct, this drive puts even Highway 1 to shame. Multi-million dollar homes, which get progressively bigger as the elevation increases, are tucked neatly into the roadside hills. Picture windows front nearly every house and soon you know why...like the homes, the views are million-dollar, too. On a clear day, you can look down on Oakland, across at San Francisco, and get full views of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges. All this mere miles from a redwood sanctuary.
The park itself is different things to different people. The well-travelled East and West Ridge trails invite hikers, bikers, and runners. With fairly even terrain and wide trails you'll see many close-by residents out for their daily excercise of choice. Others bring their dogs out for some wilderness fun without the restrictions required of neighborhoods and communities (leashes are optional). Still others are looking for peace and tranquility (we ran into one group on a spiritual hike). For us, the redwood trees were the draw.
Once off the beaten path, the Tres Sendas and Stream trails take you down to the canyon bed where redwoods find their home. Growing in tight huddles, as is typical of redwoods, the trees here reach over 100 feet tall. At one time, prior to the influx of loggers, this park's trees were landmarks for boats entering the San Francisco Bay...16 miles away!
In true redwood fashion, tthe trees at Redwood Regional dwarf the visitors, provide respite from the sun, and offer an awe-inspiring ambiance to all those who visit.