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!

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