|Located approximately 50 miles north of San Francisco, Sonoma County - home of giant
redwoods - offers a great variety of Federal, State and local parks. The climate is mild
throughout the year; the coastal area tends to be cool; the interior is mild in winter and
can be hot on summer days. Nights and evenings are generally cool.
"I firmly believe, from what I have seen,
The Parks of the Coastal Region.
Along more than thirty miles of rugged and scenic coastline of the Pacific ocean are
numerous parks where the visitor can camp, hike, observe a variety of sea and bird life,
and enjoy nature. The Sonoma Coast offers spectacular scenery which is enhanced by profuse
wildflower displays in the spring and early summer. Parks are listed South to North and
Doran Regional Park, Sonoma Coast State Beach, Fort Ross Historic State Park , Salt Point State Park and Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve
The Russian River Area.
Since the late 1800's, the Russian River Area has been a popular destination for
week-ends and summer vacations.
Located approximately one mile north of Guerneville, Armstrong Redwood State Reserve is one of the last virgin growth Coastal Redwood groves in this coastal area.
Adjacent to the Armstrong Redwood State Reserve is the Austin Creek State Recreation Area, a semi-wild area ideal for hiking and camping.
For information about restaurants accommodations and other facilities in the Russian River area, check the home page of the Russian River Chamber of Commerce.
Lake Sonoma. Nestled at the end of Dry Creek, one of the world's most prestigious wine growing regions, Lake Sonoma is one of the prime recreational areas in Northern California which receives well over a million visitors annually. Completed in 1983 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Warm Springs Dam forms Lake Sonoma with over 2,700 surface acres of water for canoes, sailboats, motorboats, fishing and skiing. Forty miles of trails are available to horseback riders and hikers. In addition to developed campgrounds, boat-in campsites and many picnic areas, Lake Sonoma hosts the Don Clausen Fish Hatchery, which is the most modern fish hatchery in the State of California.
The parks in and near Santa Rosa, the County seat and largest city of Sonoma County include historic Luther Burbank Gardens, Howarth Park, Spring Lake Park, and Annadel State Park.
Hikers at Spring Lake Park near Santa Rosa
Highway 12 runs east from Santa Rosa to the town of Sonoma through the Valley
of the Moon, bounded by the Mayacamas mountains on the north and Sonoma Mountain
to the South. Extensive vineyards stretch along the highway on both sides.
The parks include Hood Mountain Regional Park, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, which includes the Valley of the Moon Observatory, and Jack London State Historic Park. "Effective June 1, Jack London State Historic Park will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The park is scheduled to be permanently closed by July 1, 2012."
(See also Annadel State Park and Spring Lake Regional Park shown under Santa Rosa.
It's Springtime in the Valley of the Moon
The Valley of the Moon Natural History Association offers docent-led hikes at Annadel, Sugarloaf and Jack London State Historic Park. The Schedule is updated monthly.
For more strenuous hikes, check out the Dave and Bill web page.
Sonoma State Historic Park consists several restored historic
buildings which date back to the earliest days of the Mexican era and the beginnings of
California as part of the United States.
Rancho Petaluma was by all accounts the largest and richest privately owned Mexican estates north of San Francisco Bay and one of the most important in Alta California. Exact boundaries of the rancho were of great debate especially after U.S. take-over of California in 1846. Authentic furniture and interpretive displays in Petaluma Adobe make it possible to visualize many aspects of life on Vallejo's sprawling rancho.
Information about Sonoma County Regional Parks
Volunteers are needed in all parks
There are many opportunities to volunteer in all parks. Activities are adapted to the skills and desires of volunteers and include leading tours, maintaining and improving trails, staffing museums and visitor centers, driving golf carts for visitors needing assistance, leading educational walks for students and doing office work. Benefits may include free passes to parks and free camping permits.
Photo by Pat Barnes, 4th grade teacher, Healdsburg Elementary School.
Training Opportunities for New Volunteers:
Valley of the Moon Sector (Annadel, Sugarloaf Ridge, Jack London)
Many parks offer docent-led, informative walks of historic or natural interest.
Schedule of Docent-Led Nature and Interpretive Hikes
The various park districts are supported by volunteer associations which assist park
management with recruitment, training and scheduling of volunteers, with raising funds for
special park projects and to raise general awareness and support of the area's parks
The "Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods" is a non-profit organization of volunteers who support the parks of the coast and the Russian River area. Call 707-869-9177 for more information.
The "Valley of the Moon Natural History Association" is a non-profit organization whose members share a common interest in Annadel, Jack London and Sugarloaf Ridge State Parks. Call 707-291-3881 for more information.
"Friends of Lake Sonoma Cooperative Association" is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to serve and support the interpretive and visitor service programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Sonoma.
"Fort Ross Interpretive Association" is a non-profit organization whose purpose it is to promote the educational and interpretive activities of Fort Ross State Historic Park.
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