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Ladybug Bonanza!

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Location : Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, CA

Parking : Canyon Meadow Staging Area (free parking)

Trail type : Loop

Trail Length : 6.4 miles

Elevation Gain : 853 ft

Difficulty : Moderate

Trails traversed : Stream Trail > East Ridge Trail > Canyon Trail

If you are looking for a family friendly activity in winter, then check out the ladybug migration at the Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. The migration takes place between November to late February, and get ready to be oohed and aahhed by their cuteness! If going with little ones, it is an easy walk through the forest to the point of migration at the intersection of Stream Trail and Prince Trail. For the avid hiker, you can add more miles by traversing the many beautiful trails in this park.

To start the hike, park at Canyon Meadow Staging Area at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. There was no parking fee when we visited in December 2019.

From the parking lot, start your hike on the Stream trail. The trail is pretty flat with redwood trees on either sides providing ample shade. Within a mile into the trail, you will see large signs about lady bug migration to the left of the trail. If you see closely, the rust color on the leaves are actually thousands of ladybugs flocked together.

The ladybugs clusters can be found all along the trail until you hit the intersection of Prince Trail. At this point, you can turn around and head back to the car, if your main intention was to only check the ladybugs.

Looks like a bunch of rust colored leaves at first. But on a closer look, they are covered with ladybugs

These ladybugs migrate from all parts of California to congregate in these exact same location, year after year.

They are found in the Oakland Redwood Regional Park from Nov - last Feb, with mid Jan - mid Feb being peak.

Whats interesting is that these bugs, generation after generation, come to the same spot to breed, just like their ancestors did. They have an internal GPS that brings them to the same spot every year. And whats even more interesting is they have a lifespan of only 1 year. So they never make it back to this spot again in their lifetime.

Once it gets warm they fly to other parts of California where they end their life.

What looked like an orange stick in the forest from afar was actually a ladybug habitat.

If you want a workout, continue on Stream Trail. It starts climbing slightly until it hits the Skyline Blvd parking lot at around 3 miles. At the entrance gate, bear right and continue on East Ridge Trail. This trail takes you over the park with great views of the East Bay hills. There are benches placed at perfect vantage points on the trail which provide excellent views of the entire park. Continue on East Ridge Trail for about 3 miles until you hit Canyon Trail. Turn right on Canyon Trail, which will take you all the way back to the parking lot.

We made a 6 mile hike out of our visit to this beautiful redwood forest nestled in the Oakland hills.


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