Introduction to Walking

I love to walk but I’m not a fanatic about it. I want to enjoy nature and not check that my heart rate was elevated 84.7% for exactly 10 minutes and 27 seconds.

I have had plantar fasciitis in both feet and arthritis in both knees. Taking care of those problems as much as I can, I am able to walk a couple of miles without too steep an uphill grade (my lungs can’t handle the climb) and not too steep a downhill (my knees crumble with the effort and get sore.)

There are many places to walk in Sonoma County and after taking notes over the past year, I decided to share some of those places with you. Coastwalk, LandPaths, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods and the City of Santa Rosa Creek Stewards give you many opportunities for places to walk in nature.

While government agencies are cutting services, the State, Sonoma County Regional Parks and local cities still provide a variety of outdoor experiences including places to walk.

You may just want to take a flat walk at the mall (not minding the shoppers, cell phone vendors or pleading masseurs) or around the neighborhood (though some lovely ‘hoods are filled with the annoying distractions of construction, lawn mowers or leaf blowers.)

But maybe you’ll discover the more wild side of you, on the back side of the fence along an urban creek (my husband recently saw otters at play in Santa Creek near Stony Point) or at cliff edge overlooking the ocean.

I will be describing trail condition (paved, gravel, grass, lumpy), main sights to keep an eye out for, what trees and plants to look for at what time of year, bathroom locations, birds you’re likely to see, parking fees or pass costs, who to thank for the trail, and the closest snack. Most walks are 1-2 miles and can be lengthened as the trails of Sonoma County go on and on. You can always walk less.

While this is mostly about walking, hopefully those in wheelchairs can access some of these places – I’ll provide extra trail descriptions for you to figure out if you could maneuver it. You’ll be sharing some trails with horses and bikes, so there’s a heads up. And some trail conditions change – though I’ll warn you about those submerged in winter rains.

Sonoma County is a grand place for walking and sometimes I go other places – like Mendocino, Monterrey, the East Bay and San Francisco (yes, there are flat places there too, think Presidio) – I will write about those walks too.

Let’s go walking. There’ll be new trail every week.

Lynn Millar



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