The name is a giveaway – that Taylor Mountain would not be a flat walk. But I was game to give it a try. It helps that the parking lot is part of the way uphill and if you can only get that far you can still have a hillside picnic.
This is a new Sonoma County Regional Park, that you can access off of Kawana Terrace in Santa Rosa. Pay for the parking or use your Annual Pass. Only about 4 miles of trails exist now, but more are planned.
We headed up the Western Trail, that has a seasonal connection (meaning – not in the rain) to the the Eastern Route.
The land was farmed and at some point had a mineral springs resort. Cattle still roam the area, which keeps the grass down. Just give them room.
Some of the trail is steep and some of it seems like it should be easy enough as it curves around the hills.
The oaks – Coast Live and a couple of Black Oaks – are worth the trip. Since this was/is farmland it’s not a place for native plants. On a mid-summer day, we saw plenty of pennyroyal and the blackberries were mostly red.
The trail is a wide dirt road. In one cool spot, we crossed a (currently) dry creek.
We found two loops off the trail that were more interesting and had an easier grade for walking.
Another reason for climbing a hill is for the view. Only downsides are climbing the hill, walking down and the noise from Hwy 101.
If you can’t walk hills, we done it for you. If you are a hill walker, you can tell me if the Eastern Trail is quieter. I’m not likely to hike this again, unless I’m inspired on a cool summer morning.
See you on the trail!
Words by Lynn Millar
Photos by Mike Millar
Directions: In Santa Rosa, take Kawana Springs Rd east (only one choice towards the mountains) from Petaluma Hill Rd. Then make a right on Kawana Terrace and follow to the end.
Wheelchair access: Yes in dry season, with a good chair on the main road.
Dogs: On leash
Water: bring your own
Bathroom: One Portapottie