Where to Go for the Best Spring Wildflower Walks

Each spring, Sonoma County’s meadows and oak woodlands burst forth with poppies, lupine and other wildflowers, drawing people to our inland parks for a walk among nature’s most colorful artworks. We invite everyone to check out our latest blog post for a list of some of the best spring wildflower walks available anywhere — then download our wildflower guide and hit the trails!
West County Regional Trail Connects to Forestville

Regional Parks has opened a much-needed extension in downtown Forestville linking that community to the full West County Regional Trail, a 5.5-mile mostly paved path connecting walkers, cyclers and horseback riders to Graton and Sebastopol.

The new extension’s most prominent feature, a raised boardwalk, provides safe and convenient passage over the area’s natural wetlands — essential for better access to the trail. Read more about the West County Regional Trail extension in Forestville.
Parks' Critter Cams Catch Springtime Wildlife

As spring takes hold and animals become more active, Regional Parks’ motion-activated “critter cams” are capturing more footage of woodland creatures on the move. That includes owls, foxes and the animals highlighted below. For the latest from our critter cams, please follow us on Facebook and on Instagram.
Lion Pair
We first saw the male of this lion pair traveling alone on parkland not yet open to the public. Then a few months back, an ear-tagged female arrived, also alone. Then they started traveling together.

We expect the ear-tagged female recently gave birth to kittens, and hope she makes her way past our cameras in the future with kittens in tow.
Elusive Ringtail
The ringtail, also known as ringtail cat or miner’s cat, is actually a relative of raccoons. These California natives are small, weighing less than 3 pounds, and eat mainly insects and small critters as well as fruit.

These elusive creatures are solitary and nocturnal, and rarely seen in California these days. This brief glimpse, captured at one of our coastal parks, is as good a look as people typically get.
Six Coyotes
Seeing this group of six coyotes traveling together on the Mark West Regional Park and Preserve property is a special surprise, as coyotes are more commonly seen solo or in pairs. This keystone species can act as either apex or mesopredator depending on circumstance. Coyotes also regulate rodent populations, which is important for humans.

Though mostly nocturnal in urban areas, in wild places like Mark West they may be active both day and night.
Be a Citizen Scientist in the City Nature Challenge

Five years ago, museum staff from San Francisco and Los Angeles held a friendly contest to see which region could log the most “citizen science” observations on iNaturalist. The City Nature Challenge was born.

Since then the Challenge has grown into a four-day international event, with people around the world traversing their local landscapes, observing species of trees, flowers, insects, mammals, reptiles and so on, and uploading their photos to iNaturalist, where they are identified (like the pipevine swallowtail pictured above) and categorized.

This perfect springtime activity fosters interest in biology and nature, develops community, and helps scientists gauge the health of our environmentwhich is why we encourage everyone to join us for the upcoming City Nature Challenge held April 30 to May 3. To learn more, attend our brief online explainer for the event, “Facebook Live: City Nature Challenge Kicks Off!” on April 29 from 2:30 to 2:45 p.m. For more info or to register:
Great Outdoors Awaits in Upcoming Kids Camps

Camp sign-ups are here! Regional Parks is committed to helping families get their kids out of doors and into nature, where they can reap the many health benefits—physical, mental and emotional—our camp offerings provide.

Due to health restrictions, our offerings are limited this season, so we’re urging families to sign up as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the Sonoma County Parks Foundation is offering “camperships” that reduce the cost of summertime Discovery Camps; interested families may apply online in English or Spanish via the links below.

There are also a few openings left in our springtime Nature Investigators Day Camps for early May. Please click the link below to check availability.
More Ways to Get Outside
Wildflower Walks

Spring flowers are the best! Explore the gorgeous colors and rich biodiversity of blooms at Sonoma Valley Regional Park on Saturday, April 17, or at future walks at Crane Creek, Shiloh and Foothill where openings are still available.

Clean Your Creek

In honor of Earth Day, let's show Mother Earth some pampering. Sonoma Creek, which provides critical wildlife habitat and an important wildlife corridor, runs right through Maxwell and Larson parks. Help clean them on April 24.

Soaking in Springtime

We host these small, self-guided hikes at different county parks to help you soak up springtime along with all the sights, smells and sounds nature has to offer. The next available hikes are May 1 at Stillwater Cove Regional Park.

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Sonoma County Regional Parks
(707) 565-2041