Putnam Pedal and Poppies!

Bike or hike 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.

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.

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. Ridgetop Rolling

    Tilden Regional Park is the flagship of the East Bay Regional Parks system. And its best views? Find them along Nimitz Way, a paved, multi-use ridgetop trail. We recommend biking this trail for about 4 miles.

    View
  2. Wide-Open Wildcat

    Sure, peak-bagging hikes are great, but ridge trails? Well, those might be the best. The East Bay’s Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is home to a fantastic ridgetop rolling trail.

    View
  3. Bird Rock

    Other than the Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud, birds aren’t typically the first thing you think of with Alcatraz. When it was a working prison there wasn’t much bird life. But now? Well, the birds are back!

    View
  4. Forest Bathe Under the Redwoods

    Giant Douglas firs and a peaceful madrone- and tanoak-studded forest make the hiking at Sanborn County Park sublime, but there’s an added majesty here thanks to the Todd Creek Redwoods Grove.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Monterey Bay Aquarium Reopens!

    The wildlife has been waiting patiently … and now, at long last, they’re ready for their close-ups! As California reopens make new memories at the reopened Monterey Bay Aquarium!

    View
  2. Beach Walk + Cambodia Town

    A trip to Long Beach is not complete without a … long walk on the beach. But add a little extra with a walk through Cambodia Town, featuring local murals and delicious food.

    View
  3. Hodges and Hodgee Monster

    Escondido’s Lake Hodges is one of the most beautiful lake settings in San Diego, with Kumeyaay history, phenomenal birdwatching, a world-record-holding bridge, and a resident lake monster!  Do a 5.5-mile shoreline hike here ...  

    View
  4. Go For Guajome

    Head to Guajome County Park in Oceanside for a hidden lake twofer hike via a 4-mile loop trail traversing most of the 394-acre haven.

    View