Thousands of ladybugs have fallen from the sky and landed in Redwood Regional Park! This phenomenon happens every year and is so amazing to see!! Every winter ladybugs migrate from the coast, surf the winds and then drop down to the same spot their ancestors did last year. Crazy right? It is amazing to see! How they know to stop over in the same spot every year still stumps the scientists.
The bosslady is one of the Northern California ambassadors for Women Who Hike and led her first group hike at Redwood Regional Park for Optoutside weekend. We were so happy to share the ladybug experience with these amazing ladies (and gents)!
We met in the Canyon Meadow Staging Area and did the introduction rounds. The smoke-filled air was finally gone, the rain had come in and cleaned all the ash away, and fall was showing off like crazy! Stream Trail runs through the canyon at Redwood Regional Park and follows Redwood Creek as it meanders through the redwoods. This part of the hike is lovely with tall second growth redwoods hugging us and bays arching over the trail. Water was flowing through the creek from the recent rains and the smell of the damp redwoods was calming.
We chatted as we hiked along the wide trail and got to know each other. This was one of our better experiences on a group hike! Crossing over the bridge and following the creek on the other side of the trail we started running into more and more people. So great to see so many people out and about! Then up ahead we saw two photographers with their tripods set up and a sign for ladybug crossing behind them…we saw hundreds, maybe thousands of ladybugs crawling all over the branches, signs, fence and some even tried to hitch a ride on us! Seeing so many ladybugs in one spot was incredible!! They were moving all around and possibly eating, some were making more ladybugs and all were cruising around like a mini ladybug metropolis!
As you keep going on Stream Trail there are a couple of spots where the ladybugs had congregated but the majority are near the posted signs. As if ladybugs can read and know they need to stop off in that particular spot!
Some of us opted to keep going on the full hike. A couple of others turned around at this spot which would have given them a nice leisurely 5 mile hike through the redwoods. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday! We headed up Tres Sendas trail to the magical land of redwoods and booty busting climbing.
Tres Sendas > Star Flower > French > Madrone Trail
The 700 feet in elevation gain started out gradual. No big deal, just a gentle climb through the redwoods. One of the trails was closed so we headed up Star Flower Trail and this is where the thighs began to burn a little and we slowed a bit to catch our breath. Being in the redwoods after the rain was so calming. Not many people were out on the trail with us. It wasn’t super muddy either. Thankful the French trail wasn’t as busy as usual so we plugged along. Tree roots acted like stairs helping us climb up the trail. Then the switchbacks came and eased us uphill. We opted to take Madrone trail up to West Ridge trail to follow the ridge and enjoy some beautiful sunshine on the now clear day.
Rays of sunshine were shooting through the tree canopy. Knowing that we were closer to the ridge top with the Madrones, Bays, and Eucalyptus trees we were more energized and willing to do the final push to the top. As you reach the ridge you find yourself at an intersection. Hang a sharp left and continue on West Ridge Trail.
West Ridge Trail
West Ridge trail is lined with tons of eucalyptus trees. Have you smelled a eucalyptus tree after the rain? Wow! All of the wonderful smell was lingering along the trail. We had views of Oakland and the bay in the distance. It was so lovely to have the clouds part and sun shine down on us at the top. It had been weeks since we had fresh air to breathe in and the rain just made it all that more special! Careful on the West Ridge trail as mountain bikers love it! It is perfect for them. It’s a fire road so nice and wide but can be muddy and slippery so still pay attention. The bosslady kept imagining getting scared by a mountain biker and slipping in the mud. That is a very real thing for her!
This part of the hike was perfect for a group of hikers to get to know each other. The stories we were telling and the things we were learning about each other and experiences was great! We think this is the best group hike we have been on and can’t wait for the next one!
West Ridge trail follows the length of the ridge and eventually drops down to Bridle trail which you follow back to Stream trail and back to your car. It was sort of anticlimactic as we dropped down the nice gentle descent of the West Ridge / Bridle trail. We have been on the other trails that drop down and those are crazy narrow switchbacks. Since it had just rained we opted for the easier route down.
Our favorite part of Redwood Regional is the redwoods. Still amazes us every time we go that this is so close to a large metropolis yet you feel like you are in a secret forest where it is so quiet and calm. Having the ladybugs there and some amazing new friends was a huge bonus!
Parking is $5 and if you have a dog it is an extra $2/dog. Flushing toilets at the trail heads and in the parking lot. 6.4 miles with 1,316 elevation gain, easy to moderate (go as fast or slow up hill as you want!), the trails are all shaded except the West Ridge Trail which can get windy. Nearest town is Oakland with some amazing restaurants to check out!
Things We Love:
The bosslady got a new jacket just before this hike and loved it! She’s been looking for a new addition to her winter hiking gear. This Outdoor Research Ozette Full Zip Hoody was perfect for our hike! Normally she can’t handle wool and this one has 9% wool but it was so soft and not itchy at all! The fit was good. The weight was perfect to wear just the hoody and shirt on the hike and would have been comfortable to have on under a rain coat which we brought just in case the rain wasn’t done for the day. The color is bright enough yet not neon. She has this fear of falling and the rescuers not finding her so she does tend to wear color while out hiking. The hoody is a quick dry and has thumb holes which are a new favorite thing of hers. She doesn’t want to wear gloves but does want to keep her hands warm and this is a perfect compromise. Click on the link Amazon below and get yours before everyone else does!
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