Poking Around Petaluma Marshes


I was still not walking much in January this year, but we wanted to check how the water levels were doing at Ellis Creek and Shollenberger Park in this wet winter. Due to the drought for years the area had been painfully dry and not much use to migratory birds.

Ellis Creek

On the first of January, this was how the Ellis Creek area looked. Of course, the water treatment ponds were full and the trail to Shollenberger was soggy.

The water here is intentional as it’s one of the last polishing ponds for the water treatment plant. The birds still appreciate them.

More on Ellis Creek.

Shollenberger Park

Afraid I only got one picture at Shollenberger.

Here’s one previously taken in winter with high tide on the river.

More Shollenberger. Note that Point Reyes Bird Observatory is now Point Blue.

Alman Marsh

In March, I was walking better and we thought to walk along the Alman Marsh near the  Petaluma River. That’s the span of Hwy 101 over the river and the new green railroad bridge – where the new SMART train runs, starting today. (I understand view from the train of the wetlands is great.)

The trail here was dry with a few odd holes in the trail’s mesh.

However, when we made a turn to follow the trail away from the river, the trail became impassable. Bicyclists told us, it wasn’t going to be any better. Once again, I wasn’t going to be able to see the ponds in Shollenberger.

Easiest spot to access this trail is to turn off Hwy 116 on Baywood Dr. and drive to the south end of Sheraton parking lot  For our previous walk at Alman Marsh. 

Petaluma Fun

Petaluma power station a la, PG&E. It only appears the car is plugged in. But certainly, more electric cars in the county.

Petaluma being a chicken capital of sort has chicken in an egg finials on many sidewalk posts. To hitch your horse? Or your chicken?


Along the river from the marshes to downtown Petaluma, you’ll have a fun time. Click Walking along the Petaluma River.

See you on the trail!

Words and most pictures by Lynn Millar. Mike’s picture from 2010 is here.


Published by Lynn Millar

Walker, reader, writer, traveller - see About Walking

5 thoughts on “Poking Around Petaluma Marshes

  1. The ellis sewage treatment section of the marshes is actually one of fav areas to walk my dogs. Its sounds gross but THE SETTLING PONDS NEVER SEEM TO STINCK, although often the trails are covered in goose poop. So I don’t go anywhere near as often I would otherwise since I have a dog who just loves the stuff. BTW< I live in Petaluma and never noticed the chicken heads carved in some of the hitching posts!!! I will take a closer look now, thanks to you!

    1. Posts are near parkng lot and theater. — Those ponds are called polishing ponds so there the last step before release. Glad you enjoy that walk. My favorite too. Lynn

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