The stresses of a college student can be overwhelming. It is difficult to balance classes, homework and a social life while in college. Sometimes it’s nice to know there are opportunities for college students to get away from the day-to-day stresses in life.
There are many local getaways right here in Sonoma County that are relatively close to campus.
Lake Sonoma is the largest fresh water recreational facility in Sonoma County. It has a beautiful lookout spot, a Frisbee golf course, boating, fishing and camping. At the lake one can also find 40 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Wild pig and deer hunting is also permitted during their perspective seasons. Lake Sonoma can be found around Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale. The lake is just a 45 minute drive from campus, and makes for a quick weekend camping trip.
A very small yet unforgettable must-see, is the Foothill Regional Park located in Windsor. Foothill Park is just 25 minutes away from campus. The 211 acre park has trails for mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. There are three beautiful ponds at the park where one may hike and where fishing is permitted.
Another great get-away is the Russian River that runs through Sonoma County. There are many public beaches for swimming, sun bathing, barbecuing and camping with life guards on duty. Most local residents can refer to at least a handful of hidden beaches not known to tourists or nonnatives to Sonoma County. Since the river runs far, some of the Russian River’s beaches are as close as a 30 minute drive from campus, other beaches can be as far as an hour or more.
“I like getting away from campus sometimes. It’s nice to feel you are far away without being that far. On holidays when it’s hot, everyone goes to the river,” said senior, Erin Fisher.
Annadel State Park is a favorite of SSU and SRJC college students. Annadel has many trails for horseback riding and hiking, but is well known for their mountain bike trail park. Annadel hosts mountain bike races for many ages and skill levels. While hiking in Annadel, creatures such as frogs, lizards, turtles, duck, geese, deer and wild flowers can be found.
Lake Ilsanjo, located inside Annadel State Park, is a beautiful place to fish and hike around. Annadel is only 25 a minute drive from campus which makes it easy to stop by for an hour, or even make a day trip for students. There are many scenic views from the trails of Annadel.
“I discovered Annadel is a great place to clear your mind or go with friends. It can be social or spiritual. The weather is always nice, and there are lots of paths to take so you never get bored. Once I got lost with a friend there for almost 5 hours. It wasn’t scary, but fun. All the paths lead to the parking lot,” said Shannon Cosgrave a SSU senior who majors in biology.
Taylor Mountain is an open space preserve, and only a 10 minute drive from campus. Just 10 minutes away, Taylor Mountain is the perfect place to escape Sonoma State for a few hours. This smaller park has many hiking trails where you can bike and even horse ride while enjoying the serene environment. Views of Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Mount St. Helena, Hood, Tamalpais and Diablo can also be seen from the summit.
“To hike to the top is super awesome, it is very beautiful with a 360 panoramic view of the area. It is in Santa Rosa, but you can see all of Rohnert Park and a lot of Sonoma,” said Raquel Suico a SSU senior.
Crane Creek Regional Park is just a seven minute drive from campus or a quick bike ride. When feeling overwhelmed on campus and in need of a quick escape, this is your place. Crane Creek has scenic views of Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa, and is open to bike riding, horseback riding and hiking. This park also has picnic tables and an 18-hole disk golf course.
“I like that it’s close to campus and that we can bike there to play a few rounds of Frisbee golf. It’s free if you ride your bike there,” said sophomore Adam Inouye.