Have you checked out your local hiking spots lately? We have lived here 3 years and have driven by this lovely little hiking spot off Highway 12 on the way to Sebastopol several times without stopping. From the road it doesn’t look like a very enticing place to hike and it is short and flat so we have put it off for a while. Shame on us. I can totally see why people like to walk this trail after work!
Last weekend we had volunteered on Saturday at the Tolay Fall Festival and had a 8 mile hike scheduled for Sunday down in the city. Sunday morning came along and our old dog had a hot spot (scratched until there was no fur) so off to the vet we went. She was fine but that set us back a couple of hours and not wanting to leave her alone for too long we opted to stay home. Sometimes life just interrupts our best laid plans. Eager to get out of the house before all the rain this week we opted for a short hike close to home.
Laguna de Santa Rosa is a hidden hiking spot full of birding, grass and wetland creatures and beautiful views. We parked in the parking lot off the 12 (there’s 3 places to get to the trail) and got ourselves warmed up for the nice short and level hike. Within the first few steps on the trail you are greeted by a small meadow with a lovely large oak tree. There’s a bench underneath that I want to someday sit at and just read a book…or bird watch. Following the main trail we had the marsh and grasses on our left and views of Mt St Helena to our right.
You can see young oak trees planted along the path restoring what was once here and creating new habitats for birds. As you turn a bend there are a couple of lovely large oak trees. Keep going and the backside of Balletto Vineyards and a couple of ponds. We opted to walk around the ponds and retrace our steps back. The parking lot promptly closes at 7 and we didn’t want to be locked in! The sun was setting behind the big dark storm clouds as we walked back to the car. This is definitely a little slice of heaven with easy access and great views to stretch the legs and satisfy the need to get outside.
Parking is free, portable toilets only, level with no elevation gain, probably muddy after the rains, 2 miles roundtrip for us with the shortened version, lots of birds and signs of other wildlife.