With its beautiful regional and California state parks, Sonoma County makes it easy to “get green” by simply getting out into nature on a walk or hike. In the spring, the parks burst with colorful wildflowers.
The Sonoma County Regional Parks offers a variety of guided walks each spring. The hikes are free, but require a nominal parking fee of $7 (or free with a Regional Parks membership). For details, check the Regional Parks calendar.
All the following parks have hiking trails, so feel free to enjoy the wildflowers on your own.
Crane Creek Regional Park, Rohnert Park
With its broad grassy meadows and bubbling seasonal creek, the 128-acre park is a great place to enjoy spring wildflowers; it’s particularly known for its brilliant display of California poppies. You’ll find picnic tables throughout the park. The parks department provides an online pdf map of Crane Creek Regional Park (5000 Pressley Road, Rohnert Park, 707-565-2041).
Foothill Regional Park, Windsor
With three small lakes and tree-shaded trails, this 211-acre park hosts a diverse variety of wildflowers in early spring. The park has a disabled parking lot that gives access to an accessible trail to a pond. The parks department provides an online pdf map of Foothill Regional Park (1351 Arata Lane, Windsor, 707-433-1625).
Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma
Fabulous views, sweeping meadows sprinkled with wildflowers, a gazebo, a children’s play area, and a large fishing pond … what could be better? The parks department provides an online pdf map of Helen Putnam Regional Park (411 Chileno Valley Road, 707-433-1625).
Riverfront Regional Park, Healdsburg
This is an easy hike with lots of wildflowers, so it’s great for small kids and slow walkers. Bring lunch (the park has a great picnic area with barbecue grills, volleyball court, horseshoe pit), and be sure to check out the two small lakes, where bass fishing is permissible. This 216-acre park is next to the Russian River. The parks department provides an online pdf map of Riverfront Regional Park (7821 Eastside Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-1625).
Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen
In March and April, the 162-acre Sonoma Valley Regional Park is usually bursting at the seams with wildflowers. The beginning part of the walk is on a paved, ADA-accessible path, which makes it perfect for anyone using a wheelchair. Others can continue on the dirt trail. The hike leaves from the parking lot. If you have a dog, you’ll be pleased to learn that a one-acre fenced-off portion of the park is the Elizabeth Perrone Dog Park. The parks department provides an online pdf map of Sonoma Valley Regional Park (13630 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, 707-823-7262).
Note: Sonoma Valley Regional Park was in the path of a wildfire in October 2017. Much of the undergrowth and some trees burned, but the oak canopy is largely intact. The park has reopened and offers a unique opportunity to watch a landscape regenerate from fire. The spring wildflowers are expected to be particularly beautiful in 2018.
Steelhead Beach Regional Park, Forestville
The intact ecosystem here, running beside the Russian River, offers the chance to see unique riparian plants and river wildlife. Bring lunch, as the park contains a picnic area with barbecue grills. The parks department provides an online pdf map of Steelhead Beach Regional Park (9000 River Road, Forestville, 707-433-1625).
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodgriguez.