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Redwood Regional Park

by on July 08, 2012

Not too far from the hustle of the city, the park delights visitors with its large, quiet, and shady redwood forest.

An extensive network of multi-use and hiking-only trails traverse the park—some of which were logging roads in the mid 19th century.  Wildlife is abundant. Deer, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels are year-round residents. Redwood Creek which descends through the center of the park provides spawning areas for rainbow trout which ascend the creek from the San Leandro reservoir. The fish climb a fish ladder located near the Redwood Road park entrance. The park is also a winter refuge for thousands of ladybugs.

Acres : 1907

Access Status : Open Access

Agency : East Bay Regional Park District

Agency Website : http://www.ebparks.org/

Park Website : http://www.ebparks.org/parks/redwood

Park Map Link : http://www.ebparks.org/Assets/_Nav_Categories/Parks/Maps/Redwood+map.pdf


Josh Sonnenfeld on September 10th, 2012 at 11:43 pm

There are many amazing things about Redwood Regional, but at the top of the list is just how close the park is to urbanized Oakland. In less time than it takes to get a seasonal cocktail at one of Oakland’s hottest new pop-up restaurants, you can be deep within a stunningly quiet, beautiful redwood forest.

Malcolm Margolin, upon first visiting the park in the late 1970s aptly describes one’s first feeling. “’Are you sure this is Oakland?’ I kept asking the fellow I was working with,” Margolin writes in his book East Bay Out.

Redwood Regional exists not just as a memory of the miles and miles and majestic redwood forests that once covered these hills, but serves as an exuberant display of nature’s ability to adapt and thrive despite generations of harm from logging and human settlement.

Redwood Regional is a park that holds many surprises that take no special searching, just a willingness to listen and observe. Tree frogs calling for their mates 50 feet above heads, Rainbow Trout coming to spawn in the creek where they were first given their name, and the occasional apple or plum tree – a remnant from pre-1920 settlers.

While it’s very easy to walk from the adjacent Joaquin Miller or Roberts Regional parks, Redwood Regional has a different feeling entirely. Rather than views of the sprawl and haze of the East Bay shoreline cities, the Redwood’s Ridge Trail affords amazing views of the heavily forested and mostly undeveloped hills to the east. Along the Stream Trail, walking among the redwoods and the trout and newt filled creek, you feel a world away from Skyline Blvd, Highway 13, and all the stresses of the city beyond.

Redwood Regional is a special park, filled with hundreds of miles of trails through diverse habitats – a quiet place of beautiful surprises, where, Margolin notes, “you can find clumps of mushrooms, marmalade orange and sulphur yellow, glowing softly in the leaf litter of a dark forest. Where one night I counted twenty-three deer browsing on a single meadow… where clumps of Douglas irises bloom, often in the most unlikely places. Where on hot summer days vultures circle high above the meadows, scribing lazy helixes toward the sun.”

Dan Rademacher on September 11th, 2012 at 6:52 am

Great stuff, Josh! Redwood Regional is a magical place.

I was just hiking there last week and was surprised anew by the number of beautiful madrone trees in Redwood Regional. Some along the Fern Trail were really big, growing in that twisty, reaching-for-the-sun way so characteristic of these trees.

Domenico Perrella on January 31st, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Redwood Regional Park really does give you a remarkable feeling of isolation, but at the risk of showing off shamelessly, it isn’t the only part of the San Leandro Creek watershed where rainbow trout spawn in a place that seems to be in a little too much contact with humanity.

Moraga is obviously much less urban than Oakland, but trout spawn in Moraga Creek just about 100 feet from the Moraga Road, which is the main road there, right in people’s back yards. Well, I can only be sure about my back yard, but I suspect it happens in other people’s yards too.

I was amazed to see them last February with the biggest male patrolling the best patch of gravel where the water was flowing fast and females swimming next to him and occasionally rolling onto their sides to fan their tails to clean the gravel of any muck before laying their eggs. They looked just like the salmon you see spawning on nature shows, although I guess they’re a good bit smaller.

Unfortunately, the downstream neighbor’s property had a landslide into the creek during the heavy rains over the Thanksgiving weekend and now there’s a bit of a dam that has backed the creek up into a pond for about 150 feet, so there are no quick-flowing spots or tempting gravel beds on my property this year, but there are some nice gravel beds at the top of the flooded stretch and I have seen some big trout in the pond, probably waiting for spawning season to get started.

Given all the plastic bags, tires, traffic barricade signs, bottles, balls, more plastic bags and other crap that I have to fish out of that creek after it gets washed down the storm sewers, I’m pretty impressed that the trout manage to thrive there. Even if Moraga isn’t a tiny fraction of such a big town as Oakland, I’m pretty sure there’s more trash for the trout to deal with here.

The resilience of nature is a great thing to see, whether it’s at Redwood, which seems so far from the concrete and noise of Oakland, or in a less protected bit of land in a more rural area.

Dan Rademacher on January 31st, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Thanks for sharing this great story, Domenico! I’ve seen trout once in the creek in Redwood itself, but I didn’t realize they were doing well in Moraga Creek too. That’s fabulous! And yes, especially impressive given the trash and stream alterations over the years.

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