Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Sonoma County Park Rx

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Visitors travel from around the world to take in the stunning beauty of Sonoma County’s great outdoors. It's an experience for all the senses, attracting outdoor enthusiasts who seek the benefits nature provides for both the body and the mind. Depending on your needs, we explore two Sonoma County Park programs that are sure to offer a healthy dose of Vitamin D along with some vitamin sea and vitamin bee! 

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park  

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park (Photo by John Roney)

Sugarloaf Ridge consists of an amazing 3,900 acres of natural beauty in Kenwood, California. It is located northeast of Kenwood in the Mayacamas Mountains between the Sonoma and Napa valleys. 

Hiking for Fitness 

The park offers an array of activities, including an 8-week Hiking for Fitness program. Leaders guide hikers on a series of weekly hikes with increasing challenge, and along the way, you learn about topics such as the right footwear, hydration, hiking poles, pacing, etc. There are both beginner and intermediate levels. Both programs work up to a final big hike, which, for the beginning group, is a climb up the Vista Trail, where hikers enjoy beautiful Wine Country views. The intermediate group’s final hike aims for the top of Sugarloaf’s Bald Mountain, with stunning 360-degree views.  

Make sure to check the park's website for meeting places, as they do change from week to week. Parking fees do apply.  

Team Sugarloaf also operates one of the Bay Area’s most successful and vibrant Park Rx programs. Attracting hundreds of attendees per year, the program aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Sonoma County residents through regular exercise in the county’s beautiful nature.  

Park Rx For Health is a collaborative program between healthcare and park professionals. Patients are “prescribed” monthly activities at local parks, which introduce participants to safe, low-impact walking or other outdoor physical activities in nature, not only providing participants with physical exercise, but also the stress-reducing benefits of being in nature.  

There are a variety of different events for different needs. Among these are:  

Forest Therapy/Forest Bathing

This Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing, was first introduced to the West in Sugarloaf Park and has now expanded all over the world. The Association of Forest Therapy leads a monthly forest-bathing walk at the park.  

Yoga Hikes

Monthly yoga hikes allow people to enjoy the benefits of yoga in an outdoor setting. The hikes cover two to three miles with four to six yoga stops along the way.  

Senderos Naturales Program

The park also offers Spanish-language outdoor programs in Sonoma County, with one to three events per month. Events range from family hikes and naturalist-led hikes to overnight campouts.  

For more information, visit the park’s website

Fort Ross State Historic Park 

Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross is a California State Historic Park showcasing a Historic Landmark Russian-era fort. Located 11 miles north of Jenner, California, you are surrounded by sandy beaches, panoramic coves, beautiful redwood forests, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. 

The 3,400-acre park offers pristine natural landscapes as well as historic structures and exhibits showing the life of the former Imperial Russian settlement.  

Beyond the stunning nature and exhibits, the Fort Ross Conservancy offers a wide range of guided nature walks, a favorite being the Guided Breath Walk with Wellness Specialist Geni Quartaroli. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings as you move and focus on a healthy, stress-reducing breath. It is a walk suited for all ages and cost $15 per person. 

Another favorite is the Guided Wildflower & Medicinal Plant Identification Walk ($8 per person, kids 10 and under are free).  

For the full calendar of events, click here

Plan Your Own Adventure 

Sonoma Coast State Park Kortum Trail
Sonoma Coast State Park Kortum Trail

Sonoma County is home to more than 50 state and regional parks with trails that provide ample opportunity for self-guided exploration, beautiful hikes and stunning views. Some favorites are Helen Putnam Regional Park in Petaluma; Kortum Trail, which is a stunning coastal trail; and Armstrong Redwood State Natural Reserve in Guerneville, which loops through the beautiful redwood forest.  


Written by Nina Jarnum