Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail Professional Review and Guide
"The Laguna de Santa Rosa is Sonoma’s largest freshwater wetland, comprised of a 30,000-acre complex of open waters, verdant wetlands, expansive grasslands, perennial marshes, oak and ash savanna, riparian forest, vernal pools, and ponds. The wetland, extending from Forestville to Cotati, serves as a huge storage pond during heavy rains and is a critical flood basin for the Russian River. The laguna provides a stopover for thousands of native and migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway, with more than 200 species of birds. The Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail is a multi-use hiking, biking, and equestrian trail that winds along the east side of the water way’s main channel. A 1 .8-mile trail connects Highway 12 in Sebastopol with Occidental Road just to the north, with trailheads along each road. The trails opened to the public in 2012. This hike winds through the Laguna de Santa Rosa Wetland Preserve and the adjacent Kelly Farm along a 2.4-mile double loop. The route travels through mostly open grasslands dotted with oaks, eucalyptus, and blackberry vines. The trail circles Kelly Pond, frequently teeming with birds. There is a bench that offers an overlook of the pond and a distant view of Mount Saint Helena. A pedestrian-only path drops into the floodplain and parallels the Laguna waterway in lush riparian forest."