An easy drive from points in the East Bay, Redwood Regional Park contains hikes for all seasons, from shaded redwood groves to sunny trails with benches to rest and take in the view. The East Ridge/Phillips Loop trail is on the sunny side, and is a good choice if you’re short on time and want fresh air and a break from the crowds.
The entire East Bay Regional Park District is a fantastic resource for Bay Area residents and visitors alike, providing access to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, many of them dog-friendly. Redwood Regional is one of my regular go-to’s when I need an hour in nature – I typically access the park via the Skyline Gate Staging area, though there are numerous other trailheads worth exploring.
From the parking lot, this easy loop hike begins at the East Ridge trailhead. Dog owners: after ~200 ft, you’ll notice a sign indicating it is now permissible to have your dog off-leash, under voice control.
As you walk out along East Ridge, to your right will be Redwood Creek ravine (accessed via the Stream Trail, whose trailhead is also at Skyline Gate). Though flanked by tall pines and thick vegetation, East Ridge Trail itself is wide and enjoys plenty of sun. Keep an eye out for benches and viewpoints – on a clear day, you can see Mount Diablo in the distance.
Phillips Loop departs from the right hand (downhill) side of the East Ridge trail at two points and can be hiked in either direction. The first entrance is about a quarter mile along East Ridge; the second is about 0.75 mile further.
Though East Ridge is quite popular, the Phillips Loop trail is much less trafficked – depending on the day, you might have the whole thing to yourself. Slightly narrower than many of the other nearby trails, it has rolling ups and downs and passes through eucalyptus groves. Along the way, you’ll come to a junction with the Eucalyptus Trail, which connects the East Ridge and Stream Trails. Continue straight.
After about a mile, the trail will rise to meet up again with East Ridge, at which point you’ll turn left and hike back the way you came (about a quarter mile, to the parking lot).
Trail is wide, clear, and easy to follow. Junctions are marked with signs. During and after heavy rains, portions of the trail can be washed out or difficult to navigate, but turning around is always an option if the going gets too muddy. Portions of this trail receive a lot of sun and might be best to avoid midday during hotter months.
There are group campsites within Redwood Regional Park itself, though not located along this trail. Reservations are required.
Parking and trailhead are at the Skyline Gate Staging Area of Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, CA. Head to the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland - from there, take Snake Road to Shepherd Canyon road, heading up into the hills. There are several shortcuts to reach Skyline Boulevard - if in doubt, stay on Shepherd Canyon until you reach Skyline, then turn right. From the parking lot, the East Ridge trailhead is easy to find, located near the restroom and park info stand.
With recent wildfire damage and ongoing waves of COVID-19 infections and restrictions, National Forest, National Park, and other public land closures, restrictions, or social distancing guidelines may be in-effect.
If infection rates are on the rise, please do your best to remain local for your hikes. If you do travel, please be mindful of small gateway communities and avoid as much interaction as you can. Also remember to be extra prepared with supplies so you don't have to stop somewhere outside your local community for gas, food, or anything else.
Please be sure to contact the local land management agency BEFORE you head out, as these conditions are likely to change without enough notice for us to fully stay on top of them. Thanks, and stay safe!
Click here to read the current CDC guidelines for traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.