McNear Park to Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

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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.

GPS track

GPS track

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.

Elevation profile

Elevation profile

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.

image of charming Petaluma house

Charming Petaluma house

And here is another, not far away, with a weather vane on top of the cupola.

picture of another interesting house, with a weather vane on top

Another interesting house, with a weather vane on top

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.

photo of buildings reflected in the Petaluma River

Buildings reflected in the Petaluma River

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.

image of drawbridge mechanism

Drawbridge 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.

picture of: was Santa running late this year?

Was Santa running late this year?

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.

photo of Sonoma County hills near Petaluma

Sonoma County hills near Petaluma

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.

image of prickly pear adorning a Petaluma Adobe Historic Park building

Prickly pear adorning a Petaluma Adobe Historic Park 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!

picture of pretty garden color

Pretty garden color

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.

photo of birdhouse collection

Birdhouse collection

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.

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One Response to McNear Park to Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

  1. Pingback: Helen G Putnam Regional Park | trailhiker

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