Walking in the rain

The East Bay has the perfect trail for celebrating the weather

Abigail Peterson
Call it the perfect antidote to the winter stir-crazies. Armed with a raincoat and an umbrella, take a rainy-day hike in Oakland's Redwood Regional Park, a half-hour cross-bay trip from San Francisco.

The park's lush, redwood-studded trails are quiet in February, its native bay laurels smell deliciously pungent, and only the hardiest raindrops struggle through the thick canopy to the forest floor.

Our favorite hike starts at the Canyon Meadow Staging Area and links up with the moderate French Trail for a loop of any distance you like, winding along the east side of the park's main ridge. From the French Trail, you can connect to the easy Bay Area Ridge Trail for a panoramic (but less sheltered) view of the surrounding hills. Stash a thermos of something warm in your car for the drive home, and put those stir-crazy feelings out of your head until the next rainy day.

Info: Pick up maps before you head out ― they're available at trailheads ― or print one out from the park's website. Canyon Meadow Staging Area, Redwood Regional Park (8-6 daily; 7687 Redwood Rd., Oakland; 510/562-7275).