Muir Woods in the North Bay is beautiful and majestic. But let’s be real: getting up there can be a challenge, and parking at Muir Woods can be an even bigger one. What if you want to find some beautiful redwood trees to wander among, but you also don’t want to leave the East Bay? My favorite spot to find redwood trees in the East Bay is Redwoods Regional Park. It’s only about 15 minutes from Oakland, and it’s a wonderful place to take a hike in the woods.
Where to Enter
Redwoods Regional Park is huge. There are a lot of different entrances, and knowing where to actually find trees can be a challenge. Here’s the best solution I’ve found. Park at the Canyon Meadow staging area, entering through the Redwood Gate off Redwood Road. This staging area has plenty of parking (unless it’s a big holiday) and it leads right to the Stream Trail.
The Stream Trail is a relatively flat, paved trail. It’s perfect for walking with a stroller or taking a more leisurely stroll to the trees. At the Canyon Meadow Staging Area there are picnic tables, bathrooms with running water (a rarity in many rugged East Bay parks), and more. If you walk about a quarter-mile up the trail, there’s even a second open area with a small playground for kids.
Finding Redwood Trees
Walk about a half-mile in on the Stream Trail, though, and you’ll reach the real prize: the Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Redwood Grove. The grove is an amazing stand of gigantic redwood trees. You can walk right up to the trees. I suggest looking up into the canopy–it’s an amazing sight!
A bit further down the trail, you’ll find some old redwood logs that kids can climb on. Further along, there’s the Old Church Grove, which has more giant trees and also a small amphitheater and picnic area. It’s a great place to hike to with your picnic.
Redwoods Regional Park has some amazing trees, so why doesn’t everyone go there instead of Muir Woods? Here’s the catch: whereas Muir Wood’s trees are old-growth (meaning that some trees are over 1,000 years old), Redwoods Regional Park was logged in the 1800s. That means its trees are third-growth. Still, don’t let that bother you too much–they’re still over 100 years old, and many are 100+ feet high. You can easily get your redwood fix, and there’s no need to navigate Muir Woods’ huge crowds.
The next time you’re looking for a low-key, tree-studded hike in the East Bay, head over to Redwoods Regional Park.
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