Helen Putnam Regional Park

5.87 Miles
3stars (3.00)2
3stars (3.00)
2point5stars (2.50)
More Info
Arroyo Trail
Looking southwest down Arroyo Trail from Panorama Trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The view of Petaluma from Overlook Point. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Looking back
Looking back down the West Wind Trail to the trailhead parking area. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
West Wind Trail
Looking up the West Wind Trail from the Windsor Street trailhead. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Panorama Slope
Another look at the steep Panorama Trail section from farther away. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Fish Pond
A view of the small fish pond from the Cattail Trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Three hikers ascend up the steep section of Panorama Trail across the valley. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Panorama Trail
The Panorama Trail near the trailhead is the steepest segment in the whole park. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Headed for the hills
Coppertone hiking the trails at Helen Putnam Regional Park showing the rolling hills. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The trails meander through rolling hills of grassland speckled with clusters of oaks and other trees. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Another view of Petaluma from an overlook, this time showing more of downtown. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Numerous trails on the park provide views of Petaluma and the surrounding countryside. (Photo by Austin Explorer)

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Log Entries
Mapping new West Wind Trail
By Austin Explorer on 7/3/2022
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 3.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Coppertone and I returned to Helen Putnam since we were going to Petaluma anyway.  But we also recalled there was a new trail in the park not present during our last visit.

The new West Wind Trail starts at a new trailhead on Windsor Drive on the park's northern extreme.  Right away, the name of the trail is well earned as we are blasted by a stiff breeze.  There's some immediate elevation gain with the trail taking some of the sting out with wide switchbacks.  The slope here is all grass and the field mice seem to love it.  We saw several of them darting across the trail and scurrying into thick brown mats of grass.

Once the trail nears the top of the ridge above it tree cover becomes more common.  The new trail ends at a multitrail junction that had us scrambling for a game plan for the remainder of our hike.  We'd already mapped everything else previously.

We elected to complete a loop up on the ridge.  We started this off by taking the Filaree Trail towards Overlook Point.  Here we could watch over the houses along Windsor Drive below and further into Petaluma.  But we also notices the ridge on the opposite side of Windsor with trails that had us wondering what could be done there.  Perhaps on a future trip.

While admiring the view a couple of horse riders we had seen earlier ambled by.  Coppertone took a photo for them with their camera.

From the lookout we continued back to complete the loop using Ridge Trail, Panorama Trail and Pomo Trail.  Once at the trail junction we descended down West Wind Trail.  Things were decidedly more calm during our loop on the ridge with regards to the wind.  Once we returned to the West Wind Trail things picked up.

Everyone in the area seems to know about West Wind Trail and Helen Putnum in general.  It seemed there was scarcely a time when we were not within eyesight of someone else.  The 4th of July weekend may have had something to do with it.

Not so hidden gem
By Austin Explorer on 8/21/2016
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 7.82 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 1 minute

This was just another regional park to mark off the list for Coppertone and me, but this park turned out to be better than expected. Lots of interconnected trail segments make for lots of hiking options. A large number of rogue trails can be confusing at times, particularly when a couple of the trails on the official park map closely resemble rogues.

There are picnic tables and benches sprinkled throughout the park. Some of them situated at the many spots that feature a view over Petaluma or the surrounding countryside.

The residents of Petaluma seem to know all about the park as it was difficult to find much solitude later in the morning.

We happened to run into a friend from the Sonoma Activity Group near the end of our hike. It was the first time visiting for all of us. Probably not the last.

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Recommended Item Day Hikes Around Sonoma County: 125 Great Hikes
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