Lake Loop

The template for a perfect multipurpose park? Hundreds of acres of open space, wending hiking and biking trails,…

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The template for a perfect multipurpose park? Hundreds of acres of open space, wending hiking and biking trails, glistening lakes, and picnic spots galore. Spring Lake and Howarth Park in Santa Rosa certainly fit this bill. The two parks border each other and make up more than 500 acres of beautiful open space, encircled by trails, dotted in picnic spots, and featuring two shimmering lakes. Get the big picture on an easygoing 4-mile bike ride.

Two wheels is the best way to explore here: A paved bike path goes all around Spring Lake, with a detour to Lake Ralphine in Howarth Park. Start from the main parking area at Spring Lake and go counterclockwise, with a short climb early on up to the ridge of the main dam, and gorgeous views of the lake and surrounding Sonoma County hills, currently electric green!

Wildflowers are also still putting on a show. Within 2 miles you’ll arrive at Lake Ralphine. Take a break, and a picnic! This is a great place to chill out and watch the kayaks and paddleboats glide across the lake. Also paddling in the water: ducks and ducklings. The ride is halfway done already; all that’s left is a short climb back up and then down to Spring Lake and more easy cruising back to the start. Ready set, spring roll!

BEER BONUS: Keep the good times rolling at Kenwood’s Palooza gastropub & wine bar (8910 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood)—a friendly family-owned spot right off of Highway 12, with a sleek modern indoor-outdoor design and a relaxing patio. The craft beer selection is wide-ranging, from the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ IPA by Lagunitas Brewing to the Dead Guy German maibock by Rogue Brewing Co. Pair drinks with tasty food options including sweet corn risotto, pork belly mac & cheese, strawberry spinach salad, and fancy cheese plates.

Start from Spring Lake Regional Park’s main parking area ($7 fee), off Violetti Rd. in Santa Rosa. Dog-friendly!

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