The hiking book: Hiking the San Francisco Bay Area
The distance:
4.5 miles
The CityGirls rating:

We finally ventured over into the East Bay for a hike just east of the Piedmont neighborhood of Oakland in Redwood Regional Park. This was a down-and-then-up hike where we started on a ridge, hiked down into a canyon, then back up to the top of the ridge.

The park didn’t have all that many redwoods; they were clearcut in the mid-19th century. Only one old-growth redwood remains in the Oakland Hills. We did see stands of second generation redwoods in the bottom of the canyon. The second-generation trees grow from the roots of the old ones, so today we see circles of redwoods.

View of Mt. Diablo

While there weren’t too many redwoods on our hike, there was an abundance of puppums. (For those unfamiliar with the CityGirls’ lexicon, the term puppum refers to any dog, but particularly the cute ones.)

The hiking book made sure to point out that this park is popular with dog owners because of its off-leash trails, and sure enough, there were puppums galore cavorting on the ridge trails at the top of the canyon.

The topography of the park, and the quality of its trails, were defined by erosion. The stream at the bottom of the canyon has sunk at least a couple feet below the level of the ground around it. And the erosion along the trail is pretty severe.

The roots above belong to a tree just above the trail as it winds it way back up to the ridge. Erosion was rampant on the trail as well, with runoff channels and degraded patches all over the place.

We decided that the trail up from the bottom of the canyon, called the Tres Sendas trail (meaning three paths), really needed to be renamed the Three Mucky-Muck Pits trail. Or maybe the Three Ridiculous Hills Trail. We spent half the time trying to find the driest route through massive mud puddles and the other half huffing and puffing straight up the hillside. Haven’t these people heard of switchbacks?

We did see some lovely violets down near the bottom of the canyon, though.

In all, it was a pretty hike but the trails were in pretty bad shape. Next time we’ll have to stick to the ridges and not venture down into the lands of muck.

Best season to hike: November or early February. Sometime when it’s cool and dry
Solitude: On the ridge trails, 2. Down in the canyon, 7.