Cyclists visiting Sonoma County have access to a vast network of bike trails within the city of Santa Rosa (bike rentals, too — see below for more information). For bike trails all around Sonoma County, read our Guide to Cycling in Sonoma County.
Easy In-City Trails
The easiest place to start learning about Santa Rosa’s trails? Download the city’s Creek Trail System map, which shows three different types of bike trails running beside bubbling creeks. The three bikeway types are:
- Class 1 (paths separate from traffic)
- Class 2 (bike lanes painted on the street)
- Class 3 (signed routes)
Cycling these paths is a great way to explore both the urban and countryside aspects of Santa Rosa. You’ll find plenty of appealing places along the way to stop for a snack or bottle of water, chill out on a park bench, lock up your bike, and wander in an antique shop … whatever suits your fancy.
Two popular bikeways on this map are the connected Santa Rosa Creek and Prince Memorial Greenway trails. Combined, they’re only a few miles long, but they easily connect to other trails (such as Joe Rodota, described below), allowing you to ride at length.
SRC/PMG is a pretty trail, too; near Gateway Park you’ll pass artwork (mosaics, statues, murals) by local artists; then you’ll meander along the creek and through a tree-shaded corridor loaded with birds and glimpses of other wildlife.
Another bikeway, the 8.47-mile Joe Rodota Trail, runs partly along the abandoned Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad line, with its old train trestles and bridges, as well as through agricultural areas and along the beautiful Laguna Santa Rosa — the county’s largest freshwater wetland complex.
The trail is a haven for bird watchers and the scenery is beautiful. The Joe Rodota Trail, which is paved, runs from Santa Rosa to the intersection of Mill Station Road and Highway 116 in Sebastopol.
Other bike trails to consider are located in the city’s parks:
- Trione-Annadel State Park (download park brochure with trail map).
- Spring Lake Regional Park (download park map showing trails).
- North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve (download park map showing trails).
Big Workout Trails
For a more challenging ride, check out the cornucopia of rides archived by the Santa Rosa Cycling Club — weekend rides actually taken by a group of Club members. While these rides cover the entire county (and beyond!), plenty of the rides start in Santa Rosa and usually extend beyond city limits.
For example, the 36.2-mile “Back in the Saddle” ride starts on Alderbrook Drive in Santa Rosa, travels north to Windsor, and circles back to the starting point. It is rated with a tempo of “A” — that is, fairly relaxing — and had a terrain rating of “1” (mostly flat).
In a much different league is the 75.7-mile “Santa Rosa Napa Circle” ride, which leaves from Futura Way in Santa Rosa, travels to Glen Ellen and over a couple of mountains and out across Napa Valley to the Silverado Trail — and then home via the killer Oakville Grade and Dry Creek. This ride is rated with the two highest tempos: “C” (brisk pace) and “D” (aggressive pace), and had the highest terrain rating of “5” (very hilly; lots of long climbs).
Bridgette DeShields, the club’s Ride Director, noted that “Visitors can participate in club rides posted on our calendar.” At the bottom of each calendar item you’ll find a message saying that visitors are welcome, but must sign a liability release (instructions are given for submitting it).
One ride is free with a signed release, but, said DeShields, “If visitors want to participate in more than one ride, they must join. A basic individual one-year membership costs $20 — a pretty low cost if a visitor is here for a week or more and wants to go on multiple rides or is in the area regularly.”
Rent A Bike or Bring Your Own
If you don’t want to cart along your own bike on a visit, don’t worry: You’ll find bike plenty of rental companies in Sonoma County. There’s even a company, BikePartners.net, that rents Bike Friday folding bikes (pop ’em in your trunk and take off to a remote location)
For a look at shops that rent bikes, visit this page.
For bike trails all around Sonoma County, read our Guide to Cycling in Sonoma County.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.