Have you ever seen a wild turkey? I haven’t until that morning. I’ll get to that.
A couple months ago, we visited San Francisco so I decided to check out one of the trails recommended by our guest blog, Top 5 Dog-Friendly Spring/Summer Hikes in the Bay Area by Hikes Dogs Love. From the pictures, Redwood Regional Park in Oakland looked so lush and inviting, I had to check it out.
Back to the wild turkeys… Gosh, they were loud. Near the trailhead, we spotted these two yapping on the road then took a path in the greenery and disappeared. Still yapping. Haha.
This is a loop hike that starts from the Canyon Meadow Staging Area parking lot. I got us lost at the end and added an additional 0.5 miles to the total distance but if you do it right, it will be 8.5 miles RT. I wanted to check out French Trail so this counterclockwise loop includes the following paths: Stream Trail – West Ridge Trail – French Trail – Orchard Trail – Bridle Trail – cross over to Stream Trail – parking lot.
Look for the Stream Trailhead in the northwest corner of the parking lot. The hike started out on the pavement. We passed by grassy areas with picnic tables and restrooms with flush toilets. I assume this trail has heavy traffic on clear days. Once we were out of the picnic areas, the trail was more inviting for hiking.
Stream Trail has a gradual incline, wide, and well maintained. It follows along Redwood Creek. The terrain changed from pavement to dirt then a bit rocky here and there but it was easy. It’s a good place for group hikes and beginners.
Shortly after we began the hike, it started to rain lightly. I wore my new waterproof hiking boots to test so it was great. After 0.9 miles, finally the pavement ended and the trail changed to dirt. Well, to be precise, it changed to mud and puddles. Certain someone with four legs got a shower after the hike.
Thankfully it rained on and off so I can take photos in between. I couldn’t get enough of the lush greenery Redwood had to offer. So much green!! Can we take these home?
Near the 3-mile marker, we came to the Skyline Gate Staging Area. You will see more people coming onto the trail from this parking lot. If you want to make this a 6-mile out-and-back hike, you can turn around here and go back to the Canyon Meadow Staging Area. We continued on to West Ridge Trail. At the 3.1-mile marker, an off-leash section begins but be aware of mountain bikes here.
At the 3.6-mile marker, we came to the French Trail sign. The main purpose of this hike was this trail for me so I was excited. We left the crowds on West Ridge Trail and we were alone again. Stream Trail was pretty but the French Trail was beautiful. Wonderful lighting for photos.
We followed French Trail to a secluded and lush forest. I absolutely loved exploring this part of the park. I felt like I was somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Only if I could bottle the scents and bring it home. Who knew Oakland is this beautiful!
After 7.4 miles, French Trail ends at Orchard Trail. Turn left here. You have about a mile left to the trailhead. When you get to the next junction, turn left on to Bridle Trail. I made a mistake and turn right here then eventually realized it and had to turn us around which added an additional 0.5 miles to the total distance. From Bridle Trail, you can see the Canyon Meadow Staging Area parking lot across the Redwood Creek. Take Bridle Trail to Stream Trail then go back to the parking lot.
It took us 5 hours and 30 minutes including breaks to complete this hike. After the hike, we were starving. On our way back to San Fran, we made a stop in Berkeley to grab a bite. We had a feast at La Mediterranee. A hearty meal is a must after a day of hiking. It’s obvious I don’t normally take photos of food so these pictures aren’t great but just wanted to show you because they were so good!
Good to Know:
- Hike date: 3.24.18
- Length: 9 miles RT
- Elevation gain: 1,360 feet
- Difficulty rating: Challenging
- Trailhead coordinates: 37.807450, -122.149335
- Permit/fee: None
- Restrooms available in the 1st mile of the hike
- There are many trails in the park, you can make up many variations of loop hikes here