Spring Lake, Rain or Shine

The rain-date did not prove to have better weather than the original date for our Spring Lake walk. But it had one advantage­—with fewer people, it was very quiet. This popular park can be noisy with events and chatting walkers.

Spring Lake path near lagoon

Last Saturday, walkers came with umbrellas. It reminded me of the intrepid lake-walkers of Minneapolis. There, you can’t wait for good weather; you just go out and walk in rain, sleet or snow.

We sampled what the park has to offer. For being a part of the flood control system and a well used park, it is a beautiful spot. Mature trees and plenty of birds, it’s a marvelous place near a city. Between Howarth Park and Annadel State Park, it seems much bigger than its 320 acres.

Spring Lake and trees by beach

The area was originally enjoyed for its springs by the natives. By the 1800s it passed through the hands of several settlers until it was purchased by the city, and later condemned by the county in the 1959 for use as flood control for the Santa Rosa Creek. In 1974, it became a Regional Park. By 1981 the political contention of extending Hwy 12 through the park was ended. Though by then, the right hand of the state had purchased Annadel State Park and the left hand had lost interest in road construction.

Spring Lake with reeds

We started our walk near the swimming lagoon. Open in the summer, many families come to swim and picnic. There are bathrooms and showers, now closed, as are the concession and boat rentals.

Spring Lake with geese

After a close look at the lake we went up the hill to the Environmental Discovery Center. From the parking lot near the Violetti entrance, it is a zig-zag walk up the hill to the Center. (Open 12-5pm, Wed. thru Sun.) Nearby is an overlook nestled in the oaks with a view of the lake and surrounding hills.

Spring Lake view of mountains from Discovery Center

The current exhibit at the Environmental Center is Habitat and Home. Popular with school groups the Center also located near a nature trail, group picnic area and a bathroom.

We drove around the park (as on city streets) to the parking lot off to the right of the Newanga entrance. This lot provides access to more group picnic grounds. Various summer camps take place here. Horse trailer parking has access to horseback trails. This is one of the best spots to walk into Annadel State Park. Most of which is rough and uphill, and not a place I have been to for many years.

Spring Lake dam looking to Annadel

From the lot down to the lake is a developing Children’s Memorial Grove. This barren lot has been planted with redwoods and other trees. There are a some structures and sculptures to commemorate children. We walked down to the lake. A paved path loops the lake and dirt trails go closer to the lake or up the hills. (Map.)

Spring Lake trail

We walked part way around the lake to the boat launch area. There are benches at various fine viewing spots. And a par course for the more athletic. Uphill is a campground.

Spring Lake dock

If we continued on, as we have many times, we would go through another group picnic ground and find a connection to Howarth Park. From Annadel, through Spring Lake to Howarth Park, it’s possible to walk about 15 miles. I’m not the sort to do that, but I will continue to walk portions of these parks.

See you on the trail!

Lynn Millar

Photos by Mike Millar

Parking fee: $6 now and $7 in the summer. Buy a pass for access to 43 wonderful places.

Bathrooms: 2 by the lagoon (south one open in winter, north one with showers), uphill from the boat launch in the group picnic area and at the Environmental Center.

Dogs: On a Leash. Horses: also on a leash.

Boating: Non-motorized. Rentals  of canoes, kayaks and paddle boats in summer. Fishing: Possible.

Food: You’re in a city, you can find some good and some chains near by. Coffee – try Muffin Street on Mission Blvd. Near the McDonalds.

Spring Lake best view

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