Sylvester takes in the view of Windsor, from the top of Alta Vista Trail.

 

Foothill Regional Park is a year-round staple for hiking in my family. Of the 211 acres of former ranchland, 6.8 miles of trails are available to hike, run or bike. This time of year, a few golden and russet leaves cling to trees, and moss and lichen dapple the leafless branches. Deer and ducks are abundant in the park, taking advantage of the 3 ponds and sparse patches of remaining greenery.

For a leisurely hike try Three Lakes trail. If you are up for more of a challenge, the approximately 3 mile Perimeter Hike, is easily accomplished in under 2 hours and offers amazing views and decent climbs.

Three Lakes, running through the center of the park and can take around under an hour to accomplish at a light jog/walking pace. From the parking lot take the trail on the right side of the park past the trail sign.

Sylvester pauses for a sniff at Pond A.

Sylvester pauses for a sniff at Pond A.

Continue to the second lake, where a family of ducks have taken 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 strong grip on your leash if you brought your dog along for the hike.

For a more challenging intermediate level hike, try the Perimeter hike. 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.  If the morning fog has lifted, you will get a stunning view of Windsor from this height. A bench sits at the top, if you would like to pause for a snack.

From the top, progress slowly down the trail, as the descent is quite steep. The light among the trees here 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.

Although it has been rainy trail conditions are good and not overly muddy.

As with most Sonoma County Regional Parks, dogs are allowed on the trails on leash only. . Both short hikes are great options to energize your morning exercise routine, or squeeze in between holiday visits with family.

 

Three Lakes Loop

Three Lakes trail .27 miles to second lake

Pond B Loop trail to

Steep Ravine trail .52 miles

left on Oakwood trail

Westside trail .44 miles

Perimeter Hike

Westside trail .44 miles

Oakwood trail 2.4 miles

Alta Vista .5miles

Three Lakes trail .27 miles

 

A few russet leaves cling to the trees at Pond A

20151210_085441

A nice spot for a picnic lunch at Pond B in Foothill Regional park.

20151210_085447

The trail next to Pond B is in great condition.

20151210_085804

Clouds reflected on a much smaller Pond B.

20151210_090224

In wetter years, this area is usually full of water. Pond B loop the intersection of Steep Ravine Trail.

20151210_092033

A moss covered tree in Foothill Regional Park.

20151210_092041

My favorite stop for a break, on the top of Alta Vista Trail.

20151210_092117

Sylvester takes in the view of Windsor from the top of Alta Vista Trail.

20151210_092144

View of Windsor, from the top of Alta Vista Trail

20151210_092153

Another great view of Windsor.

 

Here is a video I made when we hiked the Perimeter trail last spring.