Redwood: Stream-Chown-French-Starflower-Madrone-Redwood Peak-West Ridge Trail Hike

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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Redwood Park: A hidden redwood forest lies off Redwood Road just a few miles over the ridge from downtown Oakland. The forest’s peaceful groves give little evidence of the park’s bustling past – in the mid-1800s the area was the scene of extensive logging to supply building materials for the San Francisco Bay Area. The logging era has long since passed, and a stately forest of 150-foot coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) has replaced those cut down. In addition to a great forest of coast redwoods, the park’s 1,830 acres also contain other evergreens, chaparral, and grasslands. (http://www.ebparks.org/parks/redwood)

Fun Fact: Ladybugs may be seen feeding and breeding along the Stream Trail in January or February of each year. (park brochure)

This hike takes you through the gorgeous redwoods and oak/bay woodlands at Redwood Park. Travel underneath the second and third growth redwoods along Redwood Creek on Stream Trail. Cross the creek for a climb up towards the ridge on Chown Trail and French Trail to Madrone trail. Hike up Redwood Peak Trail to Redwood Peak before descending back into the canyon onto French Trail. Climb out of the canyon from French Trail and take West Ridge Trail back to Skyline Gate.

Begin from Redwood Park Skyline Gate Staging Area off Skyline Blvd in Oakland. 

Start from the Stream Trail; the broad road descends gently into the canyon to the Girls’ Camp.

Cross the next trail gate into the Stream Trail protection area; the trail travels along Redwood Creek through lush riparian vegetation and dense woodlands. *To protect rainbow trout habitat and riparian vegetation, dogs must be on leash.

Stream Trail from Eucalyptus junction to Tres Senda junction:

Stream Trail from Tres Senada junction to Prince junction:

Stream Trail from Prince junction to the picnic areas and Redwood Creek crossing:

Turn left to stay on Stream Trail; stroll under the towering redwoods to Fern Trail junction:

Stream Trail from Fern to Chown Trail junction.

At Stream/Chown Trail junction: turn right onto Chown Trail. This trail traverses up the hillside on a moderate grade from the canyon towards the ridge.

Mile 2.41-at the Chown/French Trail junction: turn right onto French Trail. The trail continues to wind up on gentle moderate grades underneath the redwoods with dappled sunlight. French Trail to Fern Trail junction:

French Trail from Fern junction to Mill Trail junction:

At Mill/French Trail junction: go left at the trail split to stay on French.

French Trail from Madrone junction to Sunflower:

At Starflower/French junction: turn left onto Starflower Trail-this trail climbs up from above the creek area to Madrone Trail.

At the Madrone Trail T junction: go right onto Madrone Trail. The trail exits the redwoods as it ascends with double-digit grades of 11-17% through oak/bay woodland to the top of the ridge.

Mile 4.45-turn right onto West Ridge Trail followed by another immediate right onto Redwood Peak Trail at the next trail junction. Redwood Peak trail cuts through the redwoods towards Redwood Peak.

At Redwood Peak trail split: go left to Redwood Peak. The trails climbs up along the park’s Archery Range boundary to the cluster of boulders at Redwood Peak-watch out for arrows! Turn around and retrace your steps back to Redwood Peak Trail junction.

At Redwood Peak Trail junction: turn left and descend through the dense forest into the canyon.

Mile 5.15-at the French Trail T junction: turn left onto French Trail, the trail climbs up to a high point before descending to Tres Sendas Trail junction.

At Tres Sendas junction: go straight to stay on French Trail: the trail ascends through the gorgeous woodlands to the ridge with double-digit grades of 11-16%.

At the top of French Trail: turn right onto West Ridge Trail. The broad fire road winds along the ridge top back to the trail gate at Skyline gate Staging Area.

With all the trails available within the park, there is a myriad possibility of creating different loops. Redwoods in the East Bay? Yes, of course! You’ll enjoy the quiet beautiful stroll through the canyon underneath the canopy of redwoods and ferns along Redwood Creek on the Stream Trail. The gorgeous moderate climbs leads up from the canyon floor up to West Ridge and Redwood Peak. Dogs will love these shaded trails too-it helps keep them cool in our current hot weather conditions. CAUTION: The West Ridge Trail is over run with dog walkers and their large off-leash brood of dogs. If your dog is not dog-friendly, it can make for an unpleasant situation.

Stats:
6.7 Miles with 1410′ of elevation gain
Time: 3.5 hours with a couple of stops
Hike: Moderate with a few steep climbs
Parking: No fee at Skyline Gate Staging Area off Skyline Blvd in Oakland.
Water & Pit toilets available-the water fountain is turned off at the Stream/Fern Trail junction *check trail map for other locations
Dog Friendly-On Leash and Off-Leash trails
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks

Weather: Sunny & warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to mid 70’s with SW winds.

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