A deer takes cover from the rain.

Here’s an easy post-work hike for you: Foothill Regional Park in Windsor. I checked it out the other day when I had some free time and was passing by the Arata Lane exit just north of Windsor.

The park is to the east of the city and is a very comfortable stroll. It’s actually been around for 20 years, but I’ve met several local hikers who say they have never been there.

The park land mass is just over 200 acres and includes about a half-dozen different trails. At the highest point, you can climb to almost 600 feet. Given that the trails are all generally wide and well-marked, this is a hike for all ages. The parking lot has plenty of room, restrooms, maps, etc. (Bring the kids!)

I did a large counter-clockwise loop of the park, including some circling back and forth, to try and take in the whole expanse, which made for about four miles of actual walking. There are three small ponds in the park where you can stop and hang out or just wander by.

It’s a scenic loop, especially if you’re a fan of oaks. OK, you can see housing developments a-plenty as well, but they don’t look quite so sprawling from above. Some different varietals of woodlands are on display, and this being (nearly) spring, the colorful flowers are only going to get brighter over the next few months.

I haven’t done a lot of hiking in the Sonoma County Regional Parks system, mainly because I’m often on more arduous treks, but I felt the urge to do so after reading an interesting story in the PD last week on the struggling fiscal state of the county parks system. User fees are going up, and like every other part of California’s infrastructure, there’s no end in sight to the budgetary shock and awe that awaits us locals.

At the Foothill parking lot, I counted four cars inside the lot (they paid the $6 fee) and six cars parked just outside the gate by the sidewalk (they didn’t.) I suspect a fee hike will probably worsen that disparity. Not sure why the streets right outside a park gate aren’t no-parking areas.

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