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The 2017 Sonoma County Trails Challenge

The top view from Hood Mountain in Santa Rosa. Photo: Mark Winterlin

Experienced trail trekkers who relish a challenge, mid-level hikers or bikers in pursuit of new trails, families who want to have fun together on child-friendly trails, runners seeking new trails to conquer, people ready to trod a dirt path for the first time ever — all can participate in and have lots of fun with the 2017 Sonoma County Trails Challenge.

Sponsored by Sonoma County Regional Parks, the Trails Challenge is now in its fourth year. The annual program invites residents and visitors to discover the beauty of Sonoma County and the healthy fun of trail sports by hiking, biking, running, or riding in the regional parks.

The challenge? Just tackle the activities in five or more parks featured in this free, downloadable trails guidebook any time from June through September. Trails in the Challenge are classified in two ways:

  • Difficulty (Easy, Moderate, Strenuous): Trails range from a beautiful Sea Ranch Access Trail that’s only one-quarter of a mile, to a 9-mile steep climb/descent at Hood Mountain.
  • Theme (Family-Friendly, Mountain, Habitat). Family hikes at 5 different parks range from 1.3 to 2.3 miles. Mountain hike elevations run from a 770-foot climb at Foothill to a whopping 2,700 feet at Hood Mountain. Habitat hikes include redwoods, riparian forest, coastal prairie, oak savanna and pygmy forest.

Your reward (aside from outdoor fun and a healthy boost)? Finishers who turn in an online trails log will get a Trails Challenge T-shirt, and children also get a free nature-themed book from the Sonoma County Library. Finishers who post Trails Challenge photos with #SonomaCountyParks #TrailsChallenge are also eligible for monthly giveaways of park memberships and REI trail gear.

The downloadable guidebook also includes an additional challenge designed to celebrate the fact that 2017 is Sonoma County Regional Parks’ 50th anniversary: If you hike each of the 15 parks featured in the guide — amounting to more than 50 miles — you’ll be eligible for special giveaways at the end of the Challenge.

To start the Trails Challenge, download the guidebook. It contains descriptions of all the trails, as well as everything you know to record and report your completed hikes and earn your t-shirt.

A limited number of print copies of the guidebook are available (until they run out) at staffed entrances to Spring Lake and Ragle Ranch parks and at the regional parks office, 2300 County Center Drive, Suite 120A, Santa Rosa.

Good luck—and Happy Trails!

For more information about the Trails Challenge, visit Sonoma County Regional Parks.

Note: Admission to regional parks is free, but most parks require a $7 parking fee (parking is free with a Regional Parks membership). 

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