Choose Your Own Hiking Adventure

Ashley Burnett

Known as the urban heart of Sonoma County’s wine country, Santa Rosa is a stone’s throw away from world-class hiking trails. Gorgeous parks dart the area around the city, providing easy access for locals and travelers alike to stunning vistas and memorable natural experiences.

New linkTaylor MountainWith a plethora of choices available, it can be tough to figure out which hiking trail you want to tackle next. Luckily, we’ve put together a guide of some of the best hiking trails in the area—from the rugged terrain of Rough Go Loop Trail to the leisurely beauty of Spring Lake, you’re sure to find a route that’s worth the trek.


Beginners & Families 
Taylor Mountain Regional Park boasts two routes: the Eastern Route and the Western Route. The latter is slightly easier, as it’s less steep, yet also offers a beautiful view of Santa Rosa. Along the way, you’re sure to see a few animals (including cows) for a fun hiking experience. Overall, this hike is a terrific choice for beginners or families looking to hike in the area.




Bring Fido Hiking in Annadel State Park
This trail in Spring Lake Regional Park is gorgeous at any time of day, but we recommend heading out in the morning as the sun rises over the water for a truly breathtaking view. Approximately 3 miles long, it’s also a good choice for novice hikers or those who want to take the family (or the family dog) out for a stroll.


Check out these Skyscrapers
As you stroll through the beautiful old-growth redwood forest at Armstrong Woods State Park, you'll see some of the tallest and oldest trees remaining in this part of California. The Parson Jones Tree is about 310 feet high; the Colonel Armstrong Tree is more than 1,400 years old. While you can drive into the park, the best way to experience the dramatic effect of the towering redwoods, is to park in the lot at the park entrance and walk in (for free!). All of the main park features can be found along the Pioneer Nature Trail. This trail is a mile and a half long round trip, is ADA accessible, and is mostly flat and level.


Looking for a Challenge
For those looking for a challenge, Rough Go Loop Trail at Annadel State Park lives up to its name with rocky terrain. However, it all pays off with the myriad wildlife you can find along the trail, including whole families of deer. If you head to the Spring Lake side, you can also bring your swimsuit to cool off in the water and make a whole day of it with a picnic.


Check out the Wetlands
Explore wetlands, marshes, vernal pools and more along the Laguna de Santa Rosa Regional Trail. This short 1.8-mile trail also offers views of Mount Saint Helena alongside possible sightings of the California tiger salamander, Lobb’s aquatic buttercup and more rare species. 


Sunrise Hiking in Santa RosaCatch the Sunset Trail
Head to this trail to—what else—watch the sunset at Crane Creek Regional Park. This route promises gorgeous views as night begins to fall, turning the sky above this park into a veritable watercolor painting. The hike itself is also fun, with a plethora of flora all around and even fellow hikers stopping to play a round of disc golf. 


Challenging Trail Worth the View
Gunsight Rock in Hood Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve is a more challenging trail, but worth it for the overlook. The view is so amazing you can see San Francisco, which is about 50 miles away. You’ll also find the best vistas of Sonoma County that any trail in the area can offer. So while it takes around four hours to complete, you’ll forget everything while soaking in that view.


Find Some Shade on a Warm Day
The Creekside Trail at Shiloh Ranch Regional Park is a moderate hike has a very serene ambiance with a pond to sit and relax by as well as wildlife like deer milling about. It’s also perfect for warmer days, as much of it is in the shade, while also still providing some great views of the surrounding area.


Ashley is a writer and editor who loves exploring all that California has to offer. Follow her adventures!