A ladybug invasion?? Scary, no. Cute, yes!! Hello ladybug migration!! Hundreds of ladybugs make an annual migration from the coast to the exact same spot in Redwood Regional Park to vacation/hibernate and repopulate (rated G pictures only) in Oakland. The hubs and I saw on the news they had arrived so we grabbed our pack and headed off in search of these adorable little creatures.
We hadn’t been to Oakland to hike so we were excited to see what the east bay had to offer. We were happily surprised as we exited the freeway and drove up and over a hill descending into a beautiful forest. We did not expect such an expansive park in the big city! We parked in the Canyon Meadow staging area. The weather was rainy and no one was manning the pay booth and a note on it said “free entrance today” so onward we went. Follow the road all the way to the end for parking. At the end of the parking lot hop on the Stream Trail. It will be a paved path for quite a while which was nice since it had just rained that morning. There’s a great “create with nature pathway” to the right that allows you to alter the logs, stones and whatever you choose along the path under redwoods. How fun is that for kids of all ages!
Keep following the Stream Trail and enjoy the shade from the gorgeous trees! After you see the trees arching over the trail, start looking on your left hand side of the trail (stream side) for clusters of these lovely ladybugs! It was a chilly morning and rainy so they were all still huddled together sleeping. A wonderful sight to see! I was telling the few people we saw along the trail where the ladybugs were. I was so excited we got to see them! Would love to be there on the day they decide to just fly away back to their summer houses. Can you imagine how lovely that would be?
Ok, so that wasn’t much of a hike so far and this park is gorgeous! Let’s keep walking along the stream trail to Tres Sendas to French Trail. It’s ok if you get a little lost. There’s 2 trails that parallel each other throughout the park (Stream Trail at the base and West Ridge Trail at the top) so if you get to either of them you can find your way back to the car. I sort of followed the hike I found on Redwoodhikes.com which gave great descriptions! From here we took the Starflower Trail up to Madrone Trail to reach the West Ridge Trail for some sunshine and views. The entire hike up was just beautiful. I kept thinking to myself we need to explore the other 2 parks that are adjacent to this one and why didn’t we know about this place sooner? There’s a lot of trails here to get lost and just enjoy the park!
After seeing some beautiful views of the bay we dropped down from West Ridge Trail on to Chown Trail to meet back up with the Stream Trail. The whole time being mesmerized by where we were at. It felt like we were in Sonoma County but nope, we were in a big city!
The hike was about 7 miles, moderate due to the incline in spots, with 1,000 ft elevation gain, mostly shaded except the West Ridge Trail.
On our way back home we stopped off at Berkeley Bowl to do some shopping and have lunch. Totally amazing place to pick up grocery items you can’t find elsewhere! The entrance fee we were going to pay to the park but didn’t need to ended up going to a homeless man sitting with his adorable dog outside of the entrance. He had a sweater on the dog and clearly loved him with all the petting and cuddles…pulls on my heartstrings when there’s a dog involved. It was sort of a pay it forward thing…we got free entrance to the park and he got something warm to eat. ‘Tis the season to give right?