Fish Pond–Vista Pond Loop Professional Review and Guide
"Tolay Lake Regional Park is an expansive 1,769-acre park located in the southeast end of Petaluma. The Tolay Lake Basin is a valley confined by two north-south running ridges. It has a cultural history of human activity that spans nearly 10,000 years. Within the regional park are more than eight miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian paths with elevations ranging from 200 to 800 feet. All the trails originate from the park center farm buildings. This hike follows seasonal Tolay Creek, the lake’s outlet stream. Lined with riparian vegetation, the creek drains into the Napa– Sonoma Marsh before emptying into San Pablo Bay. The trail heads down the valley on the Historic Lakeville Road, a dirt road dating back to the mid-1800s. The hike then passes through open grassland to Fish Pond and Vista Pond, two man-made ponds primarily used as water sources for the cattle. The banks around Fish Pond are rich with vegetation, while only low grass surrounds Vista Pond. Both ponds are ideal sites for bird-watching. The return makes a large loop through the grassland basin, crossing Tolay Lake via an earthen causeway. NOTE: Additional trail routes were in the development stage at the time of this publication. The acquisition of a large parcel of adjacent land is also in the park’s future expansion plans."