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Fencing along the edge of Foothill Regional Park

The best hiker in my family is my beagle Sylvester. On backpacking trips, he doubles the distance, running back and forth between myself and my partner loaded with his very own daypack. He scales rock faces, sniffs out trails, and wakes up every morning, ready to do it again.

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Sylvester waiting for a treat along the edge of Pond A, Foothill Regional Park.

Beautiful weather last week allowed us the opportunity to take several morning hikes, giving us a taste of the weeklong adventures we love so much. Foothill Regional Park in Windsor is a personal favorite that offers the tree shaded rolling terrain reminiscent of some of the backcountry trails we have traversed.

Throughout the 211 acres of former ranchland, 6.8 miles of trails are available to hike or run in the morning. The terrain offers more leisurely hiking opportunities around Three Lakes trail as well as more challenging climbs up Alta Vista Trail.

As with most Sonoma County Regional Parks, dogs are allowed on the trails on leash only.

Our favorite morning hike runs approximately 3 miles around the perimeter of the park, and offers amazing views and decent climbs. If I have about an hour to spend in the park, you can easily conquer the distance running a slow pace and stopping for the dog to sniff around. From the parking lot, take the left hand Westside trail, up a subtle hill to Oakwood trail. Continue onto Alta Vista Trail, and up a steeper climb to the peak, where as the name indicates you will get a great view of Windsor, if the fog has lifted. Take care when coming down this trail, especially if your dog pulls as the descent is quite steep. The light among the trees in the morning can be quite dramatic and offers great photographic opportunities. From the base of Alta Vista, continue on Three Lakes trail back to the parking lot.

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Flowering trees along Ravine trail.

If you have less time, a hike through the center of the park, can take around a half hour to accomplish at a light jog/walking pace. From the parking lot take Three Lakes trail on the right side of the park past the trail sign. Continue to the second lake, where a flock of ducks have take up residence. From there continue on either side of the lake on Pond B loop until you hit the Ravine trail. Climb up the steep ravine and, turn left on Oakwood trail. Continue on Westside trail to take you back to the parking lot. Be aware, steep ravine trail is a favorite of both Equestrians and deer, so be sure to keep a good handle on your pet. Usually, a light stream runs down this trail. Despite it being dry, the trail is especially green and radiant right now. Flowering trees are blooming along the trail- thoroughly enjoyable.

Continue on with the rest of your day, content that you and your pet, have squeezed in a little bit of sunshine and exercise.

Click here to see a video I made of the hike.