New Hiking Trails: North Sonoma Mountain and Taylor Mountain Regional Parks
Two new and fabulous trails welcome Sonoma County hikers this spring:
Taylor Mountain Regional Park
Late this spring the new Petaluma Trailhead and its 2.1-mile trail loop will open to the public at Santa Rosa’s 1,100-acre Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve. This new trail will increase the park’s current trail mileage to 6.1—more than one-third of the way to an eventual seventeen miles of trails.
“The storms in December caused some delay,” said Mark Cleveland, Senior Park Planner for Sonoma County Regional Parks. “But trail-building goes on. We hope to open in late April.”
Taylor Mountain currently has one entrance, located on Kawana Terrace. The new entrance and staging area, off Petaluma Hill Road just south of Yolanda Ave., will include parking (with room for horse trailers), a picnic area, restrooms and equestrian amenities.
“We expect this staging area will be popular with equestrians,” said Cleveland. “They’ll want to connect to the many horse trails in that area.”
Staging area construction is under contract to Ghilotti Construction, while the trails are being built in a sustainable fashion by the volunteers of Sonoma County Trails Council.
“The trails lead from the parking lot and into the rest of the trail system at Taylor Mountain,” said Ken Wells, executive director of the Trails Council. “We started clearing the trail in August and continued into September, and began real construction toward late September.” To learn more about volunteering to help build the trail, visit the Council’s website.
The park offers 180-degree views of Santa Rosa, below, as well as of Annadel State Park, the Mayacamas Mountains, and the Santa Rosa Plain, with trails crossing grassy meadows, hills, oak forests, and (in spring) vivid wildflower displays. Diverse natural habitats support a wide range of wildlife, including mountain lion, deer, fox, and the federally-protected California red-legged frog.
To learn more, visit the county’s web page for Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve. You can also download a map of the park.
North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park
The county’s newest park, 736-acre North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve, is on track to throw open the gates in late winter.“We’ll definitely be open by February 14,” said Meda Freeman, Communications Manager for Regional Parks.
The new park offers hiking access to the 4.25-mile North Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail, which winds up the mountain’s northern slope—past forests of redwood, oak, bay and buckeye; meadows and creeks; and stunning views of the Santa Rosa Plain, Sonoma Valley and surrounding mountains—to the western edge of Jack London State Historic Park.
From there, hikers can continue into Jack London Park to picnic, visit the museum or tour the cottage where the Londons lived, and more. They can also hike through the Park and ultimately connect with the new East Slope Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail, which will also open soon (we’ll write about this in the next issue).
“The entrance to North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park,” Freeman said, “will be off Sonoma Mountain Road, just beyond Pressley Road. We’ll have directional signs on the road before the park opens, and we’ll soon have a webpage for the park at Sonoma County Regional Parks with the street address and other information.”