About Plant Walks

Plant walks are offered throughout the year but are mainly scheduled during spring and summer months. Plant walks are free and open to members and non-members. This is a great way for beginners and botanists alike to appreciate the flora of Sonoma County.

To sign up for email alerts contact Milobakerevents@gmail.com  (Check your SPAM folder if you signed up for an email alert but have not received a reply.)

2024 Plant Walks

Sunday July 28, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm | attendance limit: 15
Porterfield Creek Preserve, Skyview Drive, Cloverdale
Leader: Michelle Karle

Eventbrite registration link

Join us for a plant walk at this beautiful 250 acre preserve owned by the City of Cloverdale, featuring perennial Porterfield Creek, oak woodlands, serpentine ecology, chaparral, and views. Michelle will lead us on about a 3 mile walk or so, gaining elevation of about 800 feet, exploring the hills west of downtown Cloverdale. This preserve was opened to the public in 2019 and hosts a variety of habitats and some rare plants.

Wear sturdy shoes or boots, sun protection, and bring plenty of water and a snack or lunch.

Questions? Questions? Email Lynn Houser at lynnhouserplants@gmail.com

Saturday June 22, 10:30 am – 3:00 pm
Chanslor Ranch field trip and plant list collaboration at our newest Sonoma County Regional Park
2660 Highway 1, Bodega Bay (Salmon Creek)

Eventbrite registration link

As a science-based organization dedicated to conservation, our collaborations with the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (APOSD) and Sonoma County Regional Parks are ongoing and important. On this field trip we will experience the ecology and flora on this 378 acre ranch recently acquired by the APOSD, which is being transferred to Regional Parks. We can spread out to different areas, take photos and document plant observations. The priority areas encompass Grasslands, Hardwoods, Shrublands and Conifer Forest. As we hike, we’ll explore the trails near Salmon Creek and provide a plant list to share. All are welcome to enjoy this beautiful place, not just experts. We will meet for lunch and share our observations.

Wear sturdy boots, sun protection, and bring a notebook and smartphone or camera to photograph and document plants and locations.

Meet at Chanslor Ranch at 10:30 and we will organize a bit in order to optimally cover the important botanic areas illustrated by the APOSD and different ecosystems. Parking is free. Maps will be provided as well as plant observation forms to fill out for documenting the flora. Limited to 30 people. Carpooling is encouraged.

Questions? Email Lynn at lynnaeus@gmail.com with Chanslor Ranch in the subject line. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sunday June 9, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
A Hidden Green Gem in Roseland: The Neighborwood. Roseland Creek Community Park
Eventbrite registration link

Meet 9:45 am at the McMinn Ave side of The Neighborwood, across the street from Chelsea Garden Apartments, 1220 McMinn Avenue just south of cross street Hughs Ave.

Join CNPS hike leaders, botanist Lynn Houser and wildlife biologist Trish Tatarian for a leisurely exploration of Roseland’s hidden gem of a new and undeveloped urban open space/community park in Santa Rosa.

Known locally as the Neighborwood, this area of 20 acres, of three connected parcels, was originally slated for commercial development. Twenty plus years ago a group of far sighted, visionary residents realized this land was potential urban open space accessible to all. They had watched people use the juvenile oak woodlands, riparian corridor of Roseland Creek and the adjacent north and south meadows for bird watching, dog walking, and leisurely walks. People sought quiet and peace among the oaks and along the creek. Children experienced the opportunity for unstructured play in a natural environment, so important in child development for cooperative activities, empathy for other living creatures and creativity.

Residents come together for Earth Day Cleanups in the Neighborwood and individuals often go there weekly to pick up trash. The group approached the City with their dream and after considerable lobbying and public planning meetings, Sonoma County Agriculture and Open Space and the City of Santa Rosa purchased the three adjacent parcels that included north and south meadows, a reach of Roseland Creek and it’s riparian corridor, as well as the incredibly rich and healthy juvenile oak woodland.

Besides exploring the native plants and wildlife of the park, we’ll talk about how the public can support this invaluable local resource. We can make our voices heard by the City of Santa Rosa as they draft the development plan. We will provide resources to comment on Roseland Creek Community Park for CNPS members and residents.

Wear good walking shoes, bring water and a snack or lunch, and wear a hat and sunscreen. Questions? Please contact Lynn at Lynnhouserplants@gmail.com

Sunday May 26, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm | RESCHEDULED from April 6 (for CNPS members only)
Auberge Ceanothus with Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District.
Special access plant walkabout to note plants and look for Sonoma Ceanothus.
This hike is not on Eventbrite, so please email Lynn at Lynnhouserplants@gmail.com to sign up or ask questions.

Meet at the Safeway center parking lot at Calistoga Road and Highway 12 in Santa Rosa at 10:00 am to carpool or caravan.

This 65 acre preserve is owned and managed by the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District. Donated in 2011 as part of a development plan for a resort in the Mayacamas mountains, east of Highway 12 in Kenwood, it is adjacent to Hood Mountain Regional Park. The preserve is mostly chaparral, and is recovering from both the Nuns Fire and the Glass Fire.

We will take a short walkabout to look for Ceanothus sonomensis and make notes of the rare shrubs, wildflowers, and other plants we observe, while we enjoy a beautiful view. Bring a field guide and hand lens if you have them. Hat and sturdy pants and boots recommended; rattlesnakes and poison oak may be present. Also bring water and a lunch or snack.

Sunday May 12, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Monte Rio Redwoods Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, Monte Rio.
Eventbrite registration link

Join us on Mother’s Day for a hike in the forest led by Michelle Karle, a California native plant enthusiast, who is thrilled to share this magical place. We will see second growth redwoods, ferns, and wildflowers in this new 515 acre County Regional park. Be ready for 2.5 miles with 800 foot elevation if we do the full loop. The trail is in good condition for its age.

We will meet at the Monte Rio Recreation and Park parking lot — across the street from the theater and north of the river, where there is a nice restroom and plenty of space. We will carpool from there. Bring water, a lunch or snack, and wear sturdy shoes.

Sunday April 28 10:00 am – 3:00 pm | attendance limit: 16
Saddle Mountain with Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District
Plant walk led by Lynn Houser, botanist (with Peter Warner’s plant list).
Eventbrite registration link

Meet at the Rincon Valley Library 6959 Montecito Blvd. Santa Rosa at 11:00 am to carpool or caravan up to Cleland Road.

Join us on this collaborative hike along a dirt road behind Saddle Mountain to explore part of this 960 acre preserve for which the Milo Baker chapter wrote letters to help preserve about 20 years ago. We will have a 3-4 mile walk with some elevation gain, (with options to shorten it) past Weeks Creek and Alpine creek. We will see beautiful displays of wildflowers and hopefully some super cute little milkvetches (Astragalus clarianus) for which our chapter wrote the letter when the property was being proposed for development. More fire recovery through redwoods, woodlands and chaparral from the 2020 Glass Fire.

Wear sturdy shoes, sunscreen, and hat for sun protection. Bring water and a sack lunch. We will provide plant lists.

Sunday April 14, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm | attendance limit: 16
Ranchero Mark West Preserve with LandPaths
Plant walk led by Tek Tekh Gabaldon, Steward of Ranchero Mark West, 7125 St. Helena Road Santa Rosa.
Eventbrite registration link

Meet at the Rincon Valley Library 6959 Montecito Blvd. Santa Rosa at 11:00 am to carpool or caravan up to Cleland Road.

Naturalist Tek Tekh Gabaldon, who is Mishewal Wappo, is a traditional culture bearer active in tribal ceremonial activities in the North Bay. She will lead us on a 3 or so mile hike along Mark West Creek, through redwood forest, woodlands, and chaparral to see wildflowers and learn about the stewardship and fire recovery of the preserve from the 2020 Glass Fire as well as traditional uses of native plants.

Trails are well-developed; wear boots or sturdy shoes and bring water and a sack lunch. Hat and sunscreen may be in order.

Sunday, April 7, 9:30 pm – 12:30 pm | attendance limit: 20
Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Plant walk led by Kerry Wininger, Sudden Oak Death Program Coordinator for UCCE Sonoma County.
Eventbrite registration link

Meet at 6543 Lichau Road, Penngrove. Please be on time, as the gate will be locked at 1:45 pm. Directions from Cotati: East on East Cotati Road, right on Petaluma Hill Road, left on Roberts Road, Right on Lichau, follow nearly to the end, please drive carefully, narrow lumpy roads. Turn right at the wooden Fairfield Osborn Preserve sign through the gate into the parking lot.

Join us for a journey across this varied and abundant landscape while learning about Sudden Oak Death (SOD) biology and hosts, history, ecology, current state of the field, and what you can do to help protect our native oaks while also keeping an eye out for the abundance of striking wildflowers that appear at Osborn Preserve each spring.

Plan to hike moderate to strenuous steep trails, 1 mile with a 200-foot elevation gain, and up to 3.5 miles with 500-foot elevation gain. Prepare for an adventure through shady oak woodlands and sunny grasslands with ticks and insects, poison oak, and uneven terrain.

Sonoma County has more SOD than any other area in California, with new outbreaks still appearing. Osborn Preserve is home to majestic oak woodlands along with 8 other plant communities, including dozens of native species that are susceptible to this devastating forest disease. Osborn Preserve is the location where SOD was first confirmed in the county in 2019, hosted the first fully bilingual (English and Spanish) SOD blitz citizen science event in the state last spring, and continues to be a hot bed of SOD research and educational activities.

Please wear sturdy shoes, bring a snack, water, hat/sun protection, dress in layers. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver upon your arrival. No dogs or smoking is permitted. Phone reception is poor on the mountain.

Sunday March 17, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Pomo Canyon fern hike with Liz Parsons and Wendy Born
Join us to hike the Pomo Canyon Trail from Pomo Canyon Campground on Saint Patrick’s Day to experience the native ferns and see early wildflowers. Participants will learn how to identify ferns by observing types of fronds, types of stems, scales, and growth habits. Pomo Canyon Campground has a large population of the native Five Finger Fern (Adiantum aleuticum) and the seldom seen Spreading Wood Fern (Dryopteris expansa). Meet at parking lot at highway 1 and Willow Creek Road at 11:00 am. Dress for changeable weather and bring a bag lunch. If you want to carpool from River Road park and ride (w side near power lines) in Santa Rosa, meet there at 10:00 am.
RSVP at Milobakerevents@gmail.com

Saturday February 24, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Manzanitas at Lake Sonoma
Meet at Big John’s market off Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg at 9:45 to carpool or caravan to Lake Sonoma, where we will see blooming manzanitas and views of the lake. Or you can meet us at the Little Flat parking lot off Rockpile Road at 10:00 am. We will hike about 1-2 miles to see manzanitas on serpentine and other chaparral locations and look for historically reported manzanitas off Rockpile Road. Bring lunch and water, be prepared for cool weather, and wear sturdy boots. Rain cancels, but we may reschedule.
RSVP by Feb 17 at Milobakerevents@gmail.com

Notes About Plant Walks:

We want to emphasize mindfulness and safety while you are out in nature, please:

  • RSVP required – please arrive on time
  • Heavy rain cancels
  • Leave no trace: no littering, pack it in, pack it out
  • Do not remove native plants and flora, No wild-crafting or foraging
  • Stay on designated trails, and do not disturb wildlife
  • Sanitation of shoes after hiking is recommended to prevent spread of
    pathogens, such as Sudden Oak Death
  • Always bring a water bottle, hat, sturdy shoes, layers and sun protection,
    bug spray, lunch or snacks and check for ticks after the walk
  • If plant I.D. Phone Apps are not for you 😉 I recommend Wildflowers of the California North Coast Range by Reny Parker

Our Mission: to conserve California’s native plants and their natural habitats, and increase the understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants.