Note that parking at Valle Vista and hiking on the trails that begin there require an EBMUD permit.
This hike starts at the Valle Vista trailhead just southwest of the San Francisco Bay area bedroom community of Moraga and ends up in the deep forest of Redwood Regional Park. It's a lot more strenuous than it looks on the map, but not too difficult.
The trailhead has a place to sign in with your EBMUD permit, and go right from there. The route here is a fire road that initially heads uphill at a moderate pace for 200 yards before going up a short lung-burner. The trail then contours along a ridge through a nice forest of bay, fern and live oak. You give up most of that elevation gain when the trail switchbacks down to the intersections of Pinehurst and Canyon Roads.
The first redwoods appear towards the bottom of the first stretch where the trail crosses San Leandro Creek. Continue west across Pinehurst and pass through the signed trailhead to the west. The trails to this point have not been named, and that's unusual for the Bay Area. They're marked with generic EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) signs at trailheads, and maps are not available.
The trail crosses a little bridge before switchbacking straight uphill through a second-growth redwood forest. There are surprisingly a lot of redwoods here. The trail alternately is steep and flat as it heads up towards the East Ridge trail in Redwood Regional Park. The dense redwoods, bay trees, and live oaks keep the area shady, and you reach the East Ridge trail 1.5 miles from Valle Vista.
Reaching the East Ridge trail presents numerous opportunities. You can go left (south) to reach the main staging area, go right to reach the Skyline staging area or head down into the Redwood Creek drainage for a more adventurous hike.
My initial hike here took me from the trailhead to East Ridge trail then to the Skyline staging area, and back. - May 05 2012 Jim Lyding