This was the second part of a 2-part Bay Area Ridge Trail hike in the Petaluma area. The first part was in Helen Putnam Regional Park, and the second part started a little over a half mile away at McNear Park, passing through town and continuing to the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, after which I returned to McNear Park.
The route through town, which includes crossing the Petaluma River, is quite flat. Once outside town there is a gentle incline up toward the Historic Park, though it looks rather dramatic on the elevation profile because it’s the only “climb” on the itinerary.
The morning had started out crisp, in the upper 30’s, which is cool for the Bay Area, and became a bit warmer and nicely sunny as the day progressed. The first part of the route passed through residential neighborhoods that included several charming and distinctive older houses. Here is one.
And here is another, not far away, with a weather vane on top of the cupola.
About a mile from the start, the route on D St crosses the Petaluma River, which runs through the middle of town. The river is quite serene, making lovely reflections of the nearby buildings.
The D St river crossing is accomplished on a drawbridge, which can be tilted out of the way to allow vessel passage on the river. It was quite interesting to walk right next to the mechanism.
About 2.2 miles from the start the path crosses US-101, denoted by the prominent blip on the elevation profile. Although there are fewer cross streets, this is still a residential area. I was amused to find a few Christmas decorations still in place, 3 weeks after Santa’s traditional visit.
The last cross street on the GPS track was about the edge of town. After this the Ridge Trail continues along the shoulder of Casa Grande Rd past fields and a few scattered houses. There were pretty views of the surrounding Sonoma County hills.
About 5.2 miles from McNear Park I approached Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, with some beautiful prickly pear (opuntia) growing in front of a building.
Traveling on foot, I didn’t find a front entrance to the Historic Park before I decided to simply return to town. As I passed through the residential neighborhood after re-crossing the Petaluma River, I noticed some pretty and colorful plants in a tiny garden area next to a house’s front steps. I was a bit surprised to find so much color in January!
In another yard I noticed an elaborate display of birdhouses. Besides this collection displayed on a fence, there were at least a dozen other birdhouses hanging in a nearby tree and in the garden.
I only saw these on my return trip, and wondered how I had missed seeing them on the outbound part of my hike. In any case, they made a fun and colorful way to wrap up a pleasant walk through the town of Petaluma.