The Redwood Regional Park is an extraordinarily lovely park, located a few miles over the ridge from downtown Oakland, has several entrances. Once the site of extensive logging, this thickly wooded canyon is a pale shadow of what it was in the days of the Ohlone. Although the redwoods are second or third growth, some are 3-feet in diameter and 100-feet tall. Gigantic pines, oaks and eucalyptus grow interspersed with madrone, and bay trees thrive in gorgeous, fragrant mixed woods. The easiest and most accessible trail is Stream Trail at the Redwood Gate, but the ridge trails at Skyline Gate, while less accessible, are worth a visit for a vastly different experience. Even if you can only go 0.1 mile in each direction, you can linger at one of the benches to soak up the view between tall trees and over the thickly forested canyon. There are few parks so close to the city that feel this peaceful and remote.
see access criteria for definitions
Trailhead: Canyon Meadow Staging Area
Length: 1-2 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle
Asphalt ends at Trail’s End so can be muddy in wet weather.
The Stream Trail stretches several miles to the parks other entrance at Skyline Gate, yet only the first mile is accessible. On a beautiful, mid-week spring day, we mostly had the trail to ourselves; weekends can be crowded. It parallels Stream Creek through a second-growth redwood forest past inviting picnic areas and a children’s playground. Thickly shaded, it can be a refreshing escape from a hot day; otherwise, plan on layered clothing since it’s mostly shaded.
Open space and limited views of the surrounding hills quickly give way to a shade filled forest filled with occasional birdsong–first you’ll pass a few picnic areas and an accessible play structure. After about a quarter-mile an accessible bridge crosses the creek, an interpretive panel tells of the native rainbow trout, and immediately following is a junction to Bridle Trail, an enjoyable half-mile trail that hugs the hillside and is worth doing on the return. Continue on the Stream Trail to a small redwood grove followed by another picnic area at Trail’s End with a large covered structure whose purpose wasn’t clearly evident to me. The asphalt ends here, but the trail should be manageable for some wheelchair users for another quarter mile, where, past the junction with Fern Trail, it becomes quite steep. We also attempted Mill Trail but turned back after a few hundred feet
On the return, if you follow Bridle Trail over the cobblestone bridge at the Wayside overflow parking lot you can take the park’s entry road a quarter-mile to the main parking lot at Canyon Meadow (traffic is very minimal and goes slow). You could try the trail that parallels the road but on our visit poor trail conditions hindered passage.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking: Yes
At Skyline Gate and Canyon Meadows
Accessible Restroom: Yes
By parking lot at Skyline Gate Staging Area. The most accessible restroom at Canyon Meadows is at the start of the trail; all others either have limited or no access.
Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes
At Canyon Meadows Staging Area
Hours: 5 am-10 pm unless otherwise posted
Map: See here.
Fees: Canyon Meadows: weekends & holidays (Apr – Oct.)
Dogs: On a leash