If you and your pooch find yourselves looking for a short but scenic stroll in the Cloverdale, CA area, you’d be barking mad not to check out Cloverdale River Park! This Sonoma County gem is home to a paved trail that meanders along the banks of the Russian River. You’ll find plenty of parking at the lot on McCray Rd, though some might think the fee a little steep -- it costs seven dollars.
The trail is one mile each way, out and back, so it’s easily walkable in an hour or so. Expect gorgeous views of the slow-moving, serene river and the redwoods on the opposite bank. Not only that, but the route is well-shaded, so there’s no need to worry about your fur-ball overheating in the California sun. You and your buddy will pass under California walnut, cottonwood, maple and buckeye, and you can even spot a few different species of wildflowers in the spring.
Nature lovers will also be glad to know that there are informative plaques dotted around the trail, detailing the different species of plants and animals. You might see some other doggos taking a dip in the river, but be careful -- the park rules note that puppers should be kept on-leash, and the river can contain algae harmful to pooches and people. Information on algae levels is available on the Sonoma County website.
Paved, wide, and with only twenty-four feet of elevation gain -- the trail in Cloverdale River Park is about as accessible as a route can get, and the path can accommodate a wheelchair or even a stroller. In terms of facilities, there are restrooms in the park, as well as some picnic tables where you can enjoy a sandwich, admire the view, or just take a load off if you feel like your tiny tearaway has been walking you for the last couple of miles. Remember to bring waste bags and water for your buddy, and have a pawesome time at the park!