Santa Rosa, CA – July 7, 2021 – Sonoma County residents and visitors looking to visit two of the most popular Russian River beaches this summer can avoid the likelihood of full parking lots by taking the new Sonoma County Regional Parks River Shuttle.
The weekend shuttle service is part of a larger effort to lessen traffic impacts at Steelhead and Sunset beaches, where lots often fill by mid-morning. As a low-cost alternative to individual car trips, the shuttle is intended to improve beach access on busy Saturdays and Sundays and help alleviate traffic congestion and parking violations in river neighborhoods.
The River Shuttle, operated by C3 Transportation, features three new, 39-seat, ADA-accessible, low-emission vans. The shuttles will adhere to all required COVID safety protocols.
“The river shuttle provides a key solution to a specific challenge: The Russian River has become so popular that we now have more visitors to the lower river beaches than we have available parking,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Lynda Hopkins, whose 5th District encompasses the West County. “I hope both local and out-of-area travelers will take advantage of this service. It’s an affordable, convenient and climate-smart choice for visiting the river.”
The shuttle service begins on Saturday, July 10, and continues every weekend through Sept. 26. Shuttles run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., leaving every 20 minutes from Tom Schopflin Fields on Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa and traveling to Steelhead Beach Regional Park and Sunset Beach River Park in Forestville.
Round-trip tickets are $5 and can be purchased through C3 Transportation’s online ticketing system at russianrivershuttle.mytrakk.com. Passengers can hop on and off at either beach.
The shuttle provides a practical transportation option for river-goers who float between Steelhead and Sunset beaches, eliminating their need to leave a car at each park. Passengers can carry deflated rafts and tubes on the shuttle and blow them up at a free inflation station at Steelhead Beach.
“Whether you’re looking to float the river or just relax on the beach, we’re excited to offer direct park-to-park pick up and drop off,” said Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker. “This gives us an alternative to turning visitors away when parking lots fill. The shuttle makes it easier for anyone to enjoy time on the river, which is particularly important as we head into the heat of summer.”
Shuttle tickets are available at russianrivershuttle.mytrakk.com. For more information on the Regional Parks River Shuttle and route map, visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/visit/russian-river-shuttle/.
Visitors who drive to Steelhead and Sunset beaches are advised to arrive early in the day. Rangers close park entrances temporarily when parking lots reach capacity, a frequent occurrence on summer weekends and days with high temperatures. Parking in river neighborhoods is not advised, and street parking regulations are strictly enforced.