Running Rails to trails in west Sonoma County


Thanks to Rita Wells, half of the Rita & Dane innkeeping team at the Raford Inn, I found out about a fine place to run in west Sonoma County: the West County Trail.

Talk about combining some of my favorite things: this blends running, railroads, wine and lovely scenery.

West Country Regional Trail.JPG

The West County Trail runs from Forestville to Sebastopol, connects there with the Joe Roota trail, which can then take you all the way into Santa Rosa.

I ran from Forestville to Occidental Road and back, a distance of about 8.5 miles round-trip. Except for a few short stretches where the county was probably not able to secure easements, the trail follows the former right-of-way of the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad. While I only saw one remnant of rail near a still active apple packing and cider-making facility, its clear from warehouses and other features that a railroad once ran here.

If you pick up the trail in Forestville note that the map isnt really accurate; the trail doesnt begin in downtown Forestville as the map would have you believe. Unless you have a good sense of how to find it from the center of Forestville its better to locate nearby Pajaro Lane. Go to the end of the street where youll see the trailhead. From there its smooth and lovely running, walking or cycling. Expect to see vineyards, apple trees, rolling hills anda sewage treatment plant close to the start in Forestville.

Hey, you have to take the wheat and the chaff.

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