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. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

    View
  2. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.

    View
  3. Strolling With Sam

    Most people come to Samuel P. Taylor State Park for the beautiful creekside campground and picnic areas. But the hiking here can be pleasantly peaceful on a short trail featuring old-growth redwood trees.

    View
  4. Sponsored

    Four Ways to Fall for North Lake Tahoe

    As vivid autumn colors start to line the sky and crowds begin to dwindle, North Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking secret season takes over and is a favorite among locals. With turning leaves, crisp air, and 12 towns to explore, North Lake Tahoe is the place to disconnect.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Apple of Your Eye

    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

    View
  2. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

    View
  3. Rock Star Hike

    The sandstone giants of Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park might be the coolest damn formations in SoCal. Explore the craggy slabs on a 2.5-mile hike.

    View
  4. Clarity in Claremont

    The majority of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is inaccessible, rugged terrain but there’s a 4.9-mile moderate loop that’s well-maintained and feels gloriously far away, despite being close to the city.

    View