Howarth Park/Spring Lake Regional Park/ Annadel State Park
(Bob Whiting/Medica Ridge Trail- Spring Lake Loop- Bay Area Ridge Trail- (unnamed trail)- Cobblestone Trail- Rough Go- Lake trail- Canyon- Rough Go- Cobblestone- Spring Lake Horse Loop- Sullivan Ridge Trail)
Well, who knew? Santa Rosa has some really great trails.
For various and sundry reasons, I've been spending some time in Santa Rosa lately, and as a result, I've needed to find some trail time around the city. Now, it's not that I would have said Santa Rosa *didn't* have good trails, but I would not have expected great trails so close to the city. However, these two parks offer great options for anyone who happens to find themselves in Santa Rosa.
This run started off at Howarth Park. Howarth Park is extremely accessible, and seems to be a major draw for families on the weekend. The run starts off relatively flat, winding through oak and bay trees that put me in mind of Santa Barbara running.
After hitting the water fountains at the end of Spring Lake, I headed toward Annadel on the paved road that heads away from Spring Lake. Just inside the park boundary, I found an extremely steep unmarked trail that led up to Cobblestone Trail, aptly named for the rocks that keep one foot-focused, despite the amazing views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Then I took Rough Go trail until Lake Ilsanjo-- this is a three-lake run, by the way-- and we all know how much I love trails that go by lakes. Lake Ilsanjo is a bucolic spot of repose in the middle of Annandel, and I highly recommend making sure it's part of any Annandel tour. I took the trail that skirted the lake, and then decided to add on a small spur of the Canyon trail to add a bit more mileage. A biker that I met told me that the South Burma trail was magnificent and not to be missed, but last weekend I was on taper (Firetrails coming up on Saturday!) and so didn't want to add on excessive mileage.
After circling Lake Ilsanjo, the return trip was a retracing of my steps until I reached Spring Lake Park, at which point I circled the other side of Spring Lake and then Lake Ralphine, the center of Howarth Park.
I'm rather looking forward to getting back to Annadel-- this is some great trailrunning, although its state park designation means that dogs are not welcome. (Howarth Park is fine with dogs as long as they are on leash.) If I lived in Santa Rosa, I would probably haunt this park for the convenience combined with great trails factor. Definitely worth checking out.