Santa Rosa Guide for Locals this Spring

Article By: Tara Elsa and Leilah Sterck

Spring is here, and the weather is starting to warm up. Quarantine has made it more challenging to find fun and safe activities to do and places to hangout. This Santa Rosa locals’ guide will provide you with plenty of fun activities for you to do this spring in Santa Rosa!

On March 22, Krispy Kreme started giving out free glazed doughnuts to people who have been fully vaccinated. This could be a fun thing to do with your friends; all you’ll need to do is drive up to Krispy Kreme, and get a free doughnut every day!

For those of you who want to get outside while the weather is nice, there are some wonderful trails to explore in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa also has many beautiful parks; Annadel Park and Spring Lake have a few beautiful, more hidden, trails with so many blooming flowers. “Some of my favorite places in Annadel are the Rainforest trail and the Belly Button. Rainforest Trail is a somewhat hidden single track trail that slips up from the [Oak Knoll] bathrooms, around Lake Ilsanjo, and takes you through the forest to South Burma picnic tables. It is very green and more unkept, providing for a good hike or run. The Belly Button is a spot off of the Marsh trail and up a large steel bald hill next to Bennett Mountain. From up there, you can see all of town and beyond, and bonus points if you turn towards Hood Mountain and yell; you’ll hear a nice echo,” says senior Emilie Cates.

Trails, Trails, Trails! SRHS senior Emilie Cates enjoys two of many of the different trails at Annadel and Spring Lake park with her friends. There are many trails, not known to most people, that Cates has been exploring and documenting throughout her years in high school. “[One] of my favorite places in Annadel [is] the Rainforest Trail,” says Cates. “It is very green and more unkept, providing for a good hike or run.” Photo by Emilie Cates
Senior Lael Joseph and Emilie Cates run on Rainforest Trail. Photo by Emilie Cates

One of our favorite trails, which might be a bit challenging but is definitely worth checking out, is starting at the Spring Lake Oak Knoll bathrooms and running through the yellow gate, up Spring Creek, around Lake Ilsanjo (if you want to add another mile), and down Canyon which will take you back to the Oak Knoll bathrooms. If you want an extra challenging hike or run, we recommend going up a trail called Rough Go in Annadel. To get there, you can start at the Oak Knoll bathrooms as well and go the same direction as if you were going to Spring Creek trail. Map of Spring Lake included below.

The Spring Lake map shows the different trails for hiking, running, and horseback riding. The trail on the far right is called Spring Creek, and it runs into Annadel along a beautiful creek.

The boathouse at Lake Ralphine provides opportunities to rent boats and boards. While they are not open on weekdays, they are open on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm. There are plenty of options for you depending on what you’re comfortable with. They offer paddle boats ($12 an hour), kayaks ($8 for one person, and $10 for two people an hour), canoes ($12 an hour), and paddle boards ($12 an hour); you can go fishing there as well as bring your own boat if you desire!

Spring Lake and Annadel make for great spots to have a socially-distanced picnic with friends and family as well. Many Santa Rosa parks have beautiful spots for picnics; Franklin Park on Franklin Ave. is a big park with lots of green grass to set up a blanket to hangout or have a picnic.

Over quarantine, people have been learning many new skills, two of which being skateboarding and longboarding. Bayer Skate Park is a great place in town to practice tricks and just skateboarding in general. This skate park is a basic spot for skaters, but still great for practice. It offers a few ramps and a lot of flat smooth stone for cruising around. ¨I’ve been to Bayer, and it’s an alright park. It’s good for skating, and because it’s newer, the ground and stuff is all pretty nice. It’s only flaw I’d say is how small it is, but I’d definitely recommend people go check it out; it’s good for practice,¨ says junior Blake Anderson. “My favorite [Santa Rosa skatepark is] the [Youth Community Park on Fulton Road] because it’s an older style park… It also has a lot of cool people and just a rad community who are really supportive.”

Skating down the street near their house, junior Leilah Sterck shows off their new board. Sterck recently got interested in skateboarding and expressed interest in going to one of the Santa Rosa skate parks after some more practice. “I really enjoy [skating], because it allows me to focus on everything else and sorta just ‘escape’ from the rest of the world,” says Sterck. “Skateboarding… [is fun and relaxing] even if it’s just for an hour; it’s always super refreshing.” Photo by Tara Elsa

Just like skateboarding, geocaching is a fun activity to do with friends and family, or even by yourself if you wanted. What is geocaching, you ask? Well, to start geocaching, you’d have to get their official geocaching app. In the app, there is a map of the world. All around the world there are geocaches that even people in your own town have probably placed. Geocaching is basically treasure hunting and a fun excuse to get outside. Once you find a geocache, you can fill out your name in the list provided, and if you decide to take something from the geocache container, then you should always leave something in return for other people to enjoy when they find it later. Remember if you decide to go geocaching, it’s always best to prepare a bag with small items to leave for the geocaches you’ll find. I, myself, have gone geocaching and have found them in places such as shopping areas, parks, and even parking lots. Fun fact: most of the geocache containers are covered in camouflage tape to make them harder to find.

Geocache containers are usually covered in camouflage tape to disguise them in nature. This is one example of what they might look like when you find one. Photo by Leilah Sterck

As someone who is a newly licensed driver, I know just how fun a weekend drive could be on a beautiful road with the right music. In the past few months, I’ve gotten to go on some very fun drives. One of my favorites is going to the coast, more specifically Jenner via Graton road and through Occidental, to visit the beaches and pick up salt water taffy before driving home. Another fun weekend drive I enjoy is going to Calistoga. While narrow, winding roads aren’t for everyone, taking St. Helena Road to Calistoga is quite beautiful.

So grab a friend—with masks on, of course—and try one of these fun activities before it gets too hot outside. The perfect weather and vibrant flowers and greenery make this spring season a great time to get outdoors and enjoy nature.

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