Annadel State Park is loved by Santa Rosa locals… a lot! This 5,500 acre state park with Bennett Mountain looming above is a very popular spot for mountain bikers, hikers, runners, equestrian and of course deer, squirrels, and wild turkeys who live there. The trails are plentiful, the views are spectacular, there’s a lake you can fish in and now there’s even some fall color showing up in place of the wildflowers!
The hubs and the bosslady wanted a nice, easy and local Sunday hike last weekend and this one definitely fit the bill!
After reading the reviews on AllTrails we opted to go up Rough-Go trail and come down Canyon trail. Our knees love us more if we take the easy way down! Rough-Go trail is a great trail with lots of switchbacks and viewing stops along the way. Not too steep but definitely rocky so paying attention is a must! We stopped several times to admire the morning light streaming through the oak woodlands showing off the fall foliage that was just starting to show. The orange leaves with the light shining behind them is striking. Love the green foliage on the oaks but, wow, when mother nature wants to show off she does a great job during fall!
Most of the elevation gain is in the first 2 miles of the hike. It’s pretty harmless though. Once we were almost to the top, a good sized buck walked right across our trail without even looking both ways nor did he pay attention to 2 sweaty hikers cruising up the trail. He must have been on a mission and knew that humans on the trails at Annadel are friendly.
Rough-Go trail turns a bit and opens up to an expansive meadow and views of Lake Ilsanjo come into view. Well, the Lake trail that skirts Lake Ilsanjo comes into view. This lake was man made in the 1950’s and is named after the previous land owners Ilse and Joe. How cute is that? Too bad the hubs and the bosslady don’t have fun names to combine together! We didn’t see anyone fishing but it does have fish in the small lake. We mostly saw the reflections of the large puffy white clouds and the trees lining the banks of the lake. A beautiful view!
Take the Lake trail and enjoy the nice wide level trail full of wild turkeys then turn on Canyon Trail.
Canyon trail is where we were greeted with squirrels jumping from tree limb to tree limb! One of them was rustling quite a bit and it looked like his fluffy tail was caught on one of the small branches. Poor thing. He broke loose and took off up another tree. One of the squirrels was hanging out on a tree limb having lunch. So darn cute!!!!!! Oh my goodness. So happy we snapped a photo of him sitting there. The tiny hands!!
Horseback riding is allowed in Annadel. Canyon trail was perfect for this! We saw a couple groups of riders. Horses are such grand creatures and when they look at you it feels like they are speaking to you with their eyes. Just watch out for their road apples!
There was a point on this trail when it was just us and a young buck. He had dropped down from the meadow above the Canyon trail and was sniffing around on the trail and nibbling on some of the grasses. He looked up at us, sniffed, and started heading straight for us! We stood very still, cameras in hand, GoPro recording and waited to see what he was going to do. Then…the GoPro battery died and it beeped super loud before shutting down. Ugh! He looked at us like we turned into aliens and went back up on the meadow and passed us. Darn it! He dropped back down on the trail behind us and nibbled on more grass then strutted off the opposite direction where there were no aliens making beeping noises. Check out the YouTube video to see how it went down!
More mountain bikers, more horses, and more squirrels were on the Canyon trail as we started to descend back down to our starting point. The views from the trail were so great at the end! Santa Rosa’s city skyline was below us dotted with pockets of mature trees and those lovely puffy white clouds above! Nice way to end the hike!
Have you had a close encounter with wildlife on the trails? Do you pause and let them do their thing or do you ignore and keep going on your way? Leave your favorite wildlife story in the comments below!
5.9 miles with 714 ft elevation gain and a pretty easy hike, we weren’t sore the next day. Parking in the neighborhood was free, the alternative spot to park would be at Spring Lake. There was a pit toilet somewhere along the hike near the lake that smelled pretty horrible, find a bush instead! No dogs. We used our All Trails app for the trail map.
Things We Love:
Do you add electrolytes to your water when hiking? The bosslady has found that the Ultima Replenisher is delicious, hydrates and is gluten free. Yes, you read that correctly! Not all electrolyte additives for your water are gluten free. No idea why that would be in any but it was difficult to find a gluten free, caffeine free, soy/dairy free that does not have refined sugar. She has a lot of food allergies and this is one of the few things she can drink that re-hydrates during hiking and after. Side note, it’s also great at preventing those nasty hangovers when you’ve enjoyed a little too much of the Russian River Pinot Noir after hiking! 🙂 The bosslady always has a travel stick of this in her purse and does buy it in bulk for the weekly hikes. Favorite flavors are grape, orange and cherry pomegranate! Head over to Amazon on the affiliate link below and check these out for yourself!
All Trails stats:
Hold your laughing until you are out of reach of us being able to hear you! 🙂
Where Else Can You find Us?
Don’t forget to check out the video of the hike on our Hike Then Wine YouTube channel!
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