Running in the 'Meda: Redwood Regional Park

Running in the 'Meda: Redwood Regional Park

Marty Beene

To celebrate one year of blogging for The Alamedan, and for my third installment of the "Great Places to Run in the East Bay" series, let's go to Redwood Regional Park. This is a huge park up in the Oakland hills that has, not surprisingly, lots of beautiful redwood trees. There are 38 miles of trails in the park, most of which I have run on at one time or another.

The spine of the park (more or less) is the Stream Trail, with the West Ridge and East Ridge trails paralleling it along the two ridges that border the park. The Stream and Ridge trails all meet at the Skyline Gate parking area. Most of the running I've done here is on the Stream Trail, starting at the lower end of the park, running up to Skyline, then back down again.

My friend Theresa suggested a great loop option, which also starts at the lower end of the park, near the entry kiosk off of Redwood Road. If you follow the Stream Trail up about a quarter mile, take a left onto the Orchard Trail. That steep uphill climb takes you to the French Trail - take a right and follow that until it T's into the West Ridge Trail. A right turn there will take you to the largest of the upper Redwood Park parking areas, which is on Skyline Boulevard a little ways south of Shepherd Canyon Road. To get back to the bottom, just zoom back down the Stream Trail.

According to the park map, that loop makes about eight and a half miles. You could also figure out umpteen other options by checking out the map.

There are bathrooms and water near the major trailheads and even at one location ("Girls Camp") in the middle of the park along the stream trail.

While the running is excellent at Redwood, be sure to remember to look around you while you're there. Redwood trees are incredible living things, and it's worth it to take a few moments (or more) to check them out. The smell of a redwood forest never fails to take me back to when I would attend music camp as a teenager over in the coastal mountains.

To get to the parking areas at the lower end of the park from Alameda, the simplest (which might not be the fastest) way is to head across the Fruitvale Bridge, turn right onto San Leandro Street, jog left onto 35th Avenue and drive up up up. Eventually, 35th Avenue turns into Redwood Road, which takes you to Skyline Boulevard. Cross Skyline and go down, down, down for about two miles. Turn left into the park entrance. You can park at the first (gravel) pull-out on the left or continue to paved parking areas further into the park.

In other news, last week I mentioned that I saw the film "McFarland, USA." If you're interested in hearing more about it, I just posted a review of the film on my high school cross country blog, here.

Finally, I'm planning to open up registration for my June running retreat within the next week or so, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Marty Beene, a USA Track & Field certified coach, is owner of Be The Runner; he coaches adults from beginners to veterans individually and in groups. Marty can be reached at