Pedal, Poppies, Picnic

Bike or hike at Helen Putnam Regional Park near Petaluma

Woman sitting at a bench overlooking the fields and foothills at Helen Putnam Regional Park near Petaluma.

Helen Putnam Regional Park punches well above her weight. This compact yet bountiful park just outside of Petaluma is named after the first woman elected president of the League of California Cities (1978). And it explodes with wildflowers every spring, in particular the state’s signature California poppy.

Biker by the water at Helen Putnam Regional Park in Sonoma County

Poppies on a trail in Helen Putnam Regional Park Petaluma

Biker on a trail at Helen Putnam Regional Park in Sonoma County Petaluma

But it’s not just the wildflowers. You also get handsome oak savanna and ridges that overlook Petaluma and the Chileno Valley to the west. And its delightful 6-mile trail system makes it easy to explore on two wheels or two feet. For the bicycle enthusiast, start from the main staging area and head east on the Ridge Trail. After about a quarter mile you can take a breather at the Cattail Pond.

Biker at Helen Putnam Regional Park in Sonoma County Petaluma

Biker at Helen Putnam Regional Park in Sonoma County

Biker at Helen Putnam Regional Park in Sonoma County

Then continue on, passing viewpoints and picnic tables along the way. Hang a left on the Filaree Trail near the northern Overlook Point and find some easy and shaded singletrack that leads up to the Panorama Trail. Up here you have the best views. Grab a seat at a bench overlooking Petaluma’s vast storybook beauty. Then roll on down to the parking lot for your next stop.

Beer Garden Bonus! Lively and with live music, Brewsters Beer Garden + Restaurant in downtown Petaluma’s historic district isn’t your ordinary hangout—it’s all about the experience, with a huge outdoor patio, heaters, and open-air dining.

There’s plentiful picnic tables, a fire pit, kids’ playground, bocce court, and a beer, wine, and cocktail menu that pairs perfectly with the outstanding food—locally sourced and sustainably raised.

Meals here are a super tasty blend of southern BBQ and California fresh. The poutine pairs with the Petaloma (a tequila mezcal cocktail), and the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich is best washed down with a Del Norte IPA. It’s also dog-friendly!

Helen Putnam Regional Park is located at 411 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

    View
  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

    View
  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.

    View