Perhaps the most striking thing about hiking along French Trail, which runs amid the towering redwoods and leafy-green ferns of Redwood Regional Park, is the fact that you’re immersed in such beauty and tranquility while being just fifteen minutes from downtown Oakland. Walking French Trail, in fact, feels as if you’ve been quickly transported to a different time and place — long ago, before Oakland became a metropolis. In short, it’s the perfect afternoon get-away-from-it-all hike in the East Bay. You can access French Trail from either the northern section of the park at Skyline Gate parking area via West Ridge Trail or from the south at Redwood Gate parking area via the Stream Trail. If you want to get a workout, we recommend starting from Redwood Gate, because you’ll hike uphill right away to French Trail, which then hugs the western ridge of the park amid the redwoods for about three miles. You can then loop back to the parking area by connecting with one of several trails that descend down to the valley and Stream Trail. Just be sure to keep an eye out for poison oak.