Hiking

Hiking and walking are by far the most popular activities in Sonoma County's Regional Parks.

With more than 140 miles of trails leading to beaches, mountains, forests, lakes, and meadows, it's easy to discover the beauty of Sonoma County and the health benefits of time spent in nature. 

From paved paths for easy walks to remote routes for strenuous treks, we have trails for all types of explorers and destinations as spectacular as the Sonoma Valley, the Russian River and the Sonoma Coast.

We invite you to join us on a guided hike or to hike on your own by browsing our Find a Park page. You can print or download trail maps from the individual park pages. 

Easy trails

Some of our favorite easy trails are at Sonoma Valley, Crane Creek, Riverfront, Spring Lake, Ragle Ranch, and Gualala Point regional parks as well as the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa Creek trails. We consider easy trails to be under 3 miles and relatively flat, with plenty of room to walk side by side with a companion. Many of these trails are fully or partially paved and are perfect for enjoying nature at a gentle pace.

Moderate trails

For hikes requiring a little more effort, we like Taylor Mountain, Helen Putnam, Tolay Lake, Foothill, and Shiloh regional parks and the Pinnacle and Shorttail Gulch coastal access trails. We consider moderate-level trails to be 3 to 5 miles long with uneven surfaces and some hills. Many moderate-level hikes can be created by walking several of the shorter looped trails within the parks.

Challenging trails

Hood Mountain Regional Park features our most challenging trails. The park has 19 miles of trail and an elevation gain of more than 1,000 feet. The payoff is a jaw-dropping view of Sonoma Valley. Shiloh Ranch also offers challenging hikes in its trail loops, and the climb to the top of Taylor Mountain is a fairly strenuous endeavor. We consider challenging trails those that are 5 miles or longer or feature steep climbs or rugged terrain. These trails are for experienced hikers.

We love to see dogs on trails - as long as they're on a leash. The only exception is Shiloh Ranch Regional Park, where dogs are not allowed on trails.

Naturally Fit Walks

Our Naturally Fit walks led by walking blogger Lynn Millar are free, easy-paced outings perfect for new hikers and folks interested in learning more about the plants, wildlife, and histories of the parks. Hikes take place 10 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of each month.

Tolay Lake Hikes

Rangers at Tolay Lake Regional Park lead regular hikes through this special park in the hills southeast of Petaluma. As we develop a master plan for the park, public access is limited to guided hikes and to permit-holders who attend a free one-hour orientation at the park. 

  •  The 2015 schedule of Tolay hikes is coming soon. 

Family Hikes

Join naturalists from Spring Lake's Environmental Discovery Center on family friendly hikes into the park at 1 and 3 p.m. on the third Saturdays. Kids and parents will learn more about the park’s plants and wildlife on these outings and then return to the Environmental Discovery Center for a nature-inspired craft project. 

Staying Healthy and Safe on Trails

  • Wear sturdy shoes. Dessing in layers is best because Sonoma County has many microclimates. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and pack a hat and sunglasses. 
  • Bring water for everyone in your party and a high-energy snack or lunch, depending on the length of your hike. If you're hiking with your dog, be sure you have water for him. 
  • Hike with a companion, if possible. If not, be sure to let someone know where you plan to hike and when you expect to return.
  • Stay on marked trails at all times.
  • Carry your cell phone and a map of the park.
  • When you complete your hike, check yourself and your dog for ticks.

Hiking Sonoma

Check out our trails

Catch some highlights of our popular parks and trails.

Hiking in Sonoma County

Wanna backpack?

Hood Mountain Regional Park has four hike-in campsites where you can find your wild side. Book a spot

Backpack and hiking boots  

Challenge Yourself

Our 2014 Trails Challenge is finished, but you're invited to download the PDF filefree trails guidebook (22.36 MB) for use year-round. Meanwhile, we're planning another Trails Challenge for spring 2015!

Sonoma County Regional Parks Trails Challenge

 

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