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couple walking with dog and stroller on West County Trail

Hike or bike Sonoma County’s scenic West County Trail

By Regional Parks staff

Sonoma County's natural beauty shines brightest in spring and fall, making these seasons ideal for exploring the West County Regional Trail, a former railroad right-of-way turned multi-use trail, linking the rural West County towns of Sebastopol, Graton and Forestville.

Whether you're an avid cyclist or a leisurely walker, the 5.5-mile mostly paved pathway, separated from the traffic of Highway 116, offers natural splendor and small-town charm any time of year, but is particularly vibrant when dressed in the blooms and greens of spring and earthy hues of autumn. It also offers connections to trails that run through Santa Rosa for an extended car-free adventure. 

woman walking dog on west county trail

Forestville to Graton

For a picturesque introduction to the trail, start from downtown Forestville, for a 4.6-mile round trip to Green Valley Road near Graton. Parking is available at downtown Forestville and Ross Station Road trailhead. The trailhead in Forestville has picnic tables for a picnic under the oak trees after your ride or hike. 

From Forestville, the trail winds through oak trees before opening up to vineyard vistas. Watch for birds and waterfowl along the way as the trail traverses open farmland and green-canopied oak corridors. 

As the trail gets closer to Graton, you'll pass by recycled-water ponds before entering the Atascadero Creek Ecological Reserve. A boardwalk guides you through this biologically rich wetland.

a family riding their bike across a wooden bridge on west country trail

The Atascadero Creek watershed hosts a variety of mammals, such as deer, raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits, whose survival depends on the preservation of their habitat, while also providing a home to endangered species like steelhead trout, freshwater shrimp and the Pitkin marsh lily. 

Connect to Santa Rosa

For a longer adventure, continue 2.2 miles south to Graton and Sebastopol, where you can connect to the Joe Rodota Trail to Santa Rosa. The full West County-Joe Rodota system spans 14 miles from Forestville to Santa Rosa. 

With access points located along Highway 116 and various side streets, you can customize your route to suit your preferences and interests. Whether you're craving a scenic detour through the countryside, or a pit stop at a local winery or apple farm, the possibilities are endless. 

More information and trail map.

Know before you go 

  • Parking is free at the following locations: downtown Forestville near the trailhead, Ross Station Road trailhead, and Graton Road trailhead. 
  • Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail. 
  • For more information about hiking and biking trails, visit our Find a Park page. 

 Published May 2024