Use Your Outside Voice
Cool mornings under a light blanket of marine layer clouds and bright sunny days. Long, warm summers and crisp blue-skied winters. Sonoma County boasts nearly year-round temperate weather, and Petaluma sits right in the sweet spot. Surrounded by oak tree-dotted hills and swaths of farmland, it’s a backdrop built for an active lifestyle, all close to downtown. Grab your hat and hiking shoes…you’ll be on the trail in minutes.
A serene haven for bird watchers, Shollenberger Park is central to the wetlands and is one of Petaluma’s natural treasures. Over 200 species of birds have been identified in the 500 acres of public wetlands with nine distinct habitats. Walking, jogging, and dog walking are also popular activities on the 2.2 mile loop. Petaluma’s mild climate means that you can enjoy these activities year-round. And from October through June, learn about the wildlife at the park on free docent-guided nature and bird walks.
Tolay Lake Regional Park
The 3,400 acre park can lay claim to being Sonoma County’s largest regional park. Located southeast of downtown Petaluma and on the way to Sonoma Valley, the park’s rolling hills offer several 4-5 mile hikes leading to vista points with views of San Pablo Bay, the San Francisco skyline, or Bay Area peaks. Bring your dog (on leash). For two weekends in October, the park hosts the Tolay Fall Festival with tons of family fun including hayrides, pumpkin patch, and many hands-on educational experiences.
Helen Putnam Regional Park
Just a little more than 10 minutes from historic downtown Petaluma, Helen Putnam Regional Park offers hikers and cyclists six miles of trails across rolling hills. The shortest loop is 0.6 miles and the longest loop is 2.3 miles. Trek one trail or mix and match several for a more challenging experience. Vista points dot the 216 acre park where upon reaching the 535 foot elevation, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Petaluma Valley to the east or Chileno Valley to the west. The park is also open to horseback riders and dogs on leash are welcome.