Exploring Annadel State Park
Sonoma County's mountain bike mecca
For Sonoma County’s size and natural beauty—it’s larger than Rhode Island—most of the land is locked up in private property. That’s what makes Trione-Annadel State Park and nearby Spring Lake such a treasure. Located on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa, the 5,100-acre park has a little bit of everything. Hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, anglers, swimmers, campers, equestrians, paddlers, bird watchers, wildflower gazers and picnickers all flock to the park that’s located just 15 minutes from downtown Santa Rosa.
"The 5,100-acre park has a little bit of everything."
Spring Lake and the nearby (chlorinated) lagoon are summer-day draws for kayakers, fisher folks and swimmers. But it’s the vast network of more than 40 miles of trails that are the main attraction. The aforementioned Spring Lake zone, located on the park’s western edge with its gentle path and ample picnicking space make it the most popular park of the park. Take the Spring Trail up—and up—and you start to leave the crowds as you make your way up to tranquil Lake Ilsanjo.
"But it’s the vast network of more than 40 miles of trails that are the main attraction."
The northern side of the park offers a more single-minded crowd of mountain bikers. The trails are well-marked, but challenging and loaded with deeply rooted rocks. Go down here and you’ll go down hard. The least populous side of the park is on the eastern edge. Lawndale Road is your access point. Whichever your approach, each route leads to vistas that afford sweeping views in every direction, views made sweeter by thick forest of oak, redwood and pine and year-round wildflowers.
"The trails are well-marked, but challenging and loaded with deeply rooted rocks."
Roll into the nearby Trail House for a post-ride beer. The pub/bike shop is geared toward Annadel riders. There’s even a big map on the wall where you can retrace your ride and plot your next one over the great line-up of brews with fellow fat tire fans.
As well-used as Annadel is, it still provides ample opportunity for solitude and serenity. And just call it Annadel. No one calls it by its full name.