For Immediate Release
New trails, more coming to Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve
Project boosts park access for hikers, equestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles
Santa Rosa, CA | September 15, 2022
Sonoma County’s largest trail construction project in over a decade is underway at Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve in Santa Rosa. When completed, hikers, cyclists and equestrians will have access to an additional 450 acres of the 1,100-acre park. These new trails will improve the quality of recreational opportunities and access to nature close to Sonoma County’s most populous city, adding approximately 8 miles of new multi-use trails and doubling the park’s existing trail network.
“This is an exciting and important opportunity to improve access to outdoor recreation for Taylor Mountain’s neighborhoods and Santa Rosa residents,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Chris Coursey, whose 3rd District encompasses Taylor Mountain. “With limited natural open space in south Santa Rosa, this investment significantly enhances our community’s quality of life.”
“Combined with regional parks' public education programs and bilingual guided outings, this expansion helps us bring the beauty of Taylor Mountain closer to those who live with the iconic mountain as a scenic backdrop,” said 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin, whose district also spans part of the park.
With the goal of preserving the land’s agricultural heritage and scenic value, the 1,100-acre parkland was acquired and assembled over 18 years by the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Sonoma Ag + Open Space). The property’s wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands support a variety of wildlife such as mountain lion, deer, fox, and the federally-protected California red-legged frog.
The park and open space preserve first opened to the public in 2013, following approval of the property's transfer from Sonoma Ag + Open Space to Regional Parks, and approval of the park’s master plan, the guiding document for future trail construction, amenities and educational programming.
This latest construction marks another milestone in the implementation of that multi-phase master plan. The first phase was completed in 2020, with collaborative state and local funding support from partners such as Sonoma Ag + Open Space, California State Parks, and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, and included the entrance and parking area on Petaluma Hill Road, the Red Tail natural play area, and trail connections to the existing trails in the interior of the park.
This current project includes trails on the north and eastern sides of Taylor Mountain, several bridges across seasonal wetlands and creeks, and three new walk-in/bike-in entrances for neighborhood use. Currently, the park has two public entrances with parking, one on Kawana Springs Road and one on Petaluma Hill Road.
“We hope these improvements encourage more people to access Taylor Mountain by foot or bike – eliminating unnecessary car trips to enjoy a walk in the park or making an after-work bike ride safer, more climate-friendly and carbon neutral,” said Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker.
New trails will be comprised of a variety of trail topography, from steeper grades leading to the top of 1,120-foot Colgan Peak, to more gradual traverses, including an ADA-accessible trail through Colgan Creek Canyon for a high-quality nature experience for those with mobility challenges. The trails will also connect several new scenic viewpoints looking out across Bennett Valley, adding variety to a park already prized for its panoramic views across the Santa Rosa Plain and coastal mountain ranges.
The Board of Supervisors approved the $1.2 million construction bid to Yakima Construction on Aug. 9. The entire project – including pre-planning, consultant services, design, engineering, permitting, bidding, and construction – is primarily funded by a $1.83 million Recreational Trails Program grant through California State Parks, and $89,000 from Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation donors. Additional funding includes $110,000 in park mitigation fees and $50,000 from the Measure M Parks for All sales tax, which was approved by Sonoma County voters in 2018.
Work is underway and will continue through spring 2023 (weather and emergencies permitting) with openings anticipated in summer 2023. No impacts to public parking or current trail uses are expected. However, some of the former ranch roads will be decommissioned as new trails replace them, and visitors are asked to respect trail closures.
Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve is located at 2080 Kawana Terrace, Santa Rosa and 3820 Petaluma Hill Road, Santa Rosa. Parking is free for Regional Parks members; $7 for non-members.
For more information about master plan for Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Preserve, visit: parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/learn/planning-division/project-directory/all-active-projects/taylor-mountain-phase-1/background.
For more information about the park and to find a park map, visit: parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/visit/find-a-park/taylor-mountain-regional-park-and-preserve.
Sarah Phelps, Marketing Specialist
Sonoma County Regional Parks