Top Santa Rosa Running & Jogging Routes: Gear, Safety & Events Guide

I’ve always believed that one of the best ways to explore a new city is on foot, and when it comes to Santa Rosa, the experience is nothing short of magical. Nestled in the heart of wine country, this city offers a blend of scenic beauty, challenging terrains, and paths that lead you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes California has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or someone who enjoys leisurely jogs, Santa Rosa’s running routes have something for everyone.

As I lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, I’m excited to share with you some of my favorite trails and paths in the area. From the serene beauty of Spring Lake to the rigorous trails of Annadel State Park, I’ll take you through the routes that have captured my heart and energized my running routine. Let’s get ready to explore the best of Santa Rosa, one stride at a time.

Overview of Santa Rosa Running and Jogging Routes

Exploring Santa Rosa on foot opens a world where every step leads to discovery. From the tranquil shores of Spring Lake to the rugged trails of Annadel State Park, each route offers a unique running experience. I’ve laced up my sneakers and hit these paths countless times, finding a blend of challenge and serenity in Santa Rosa’s landscape. Here, I’ll guide you through the diverse terrain this area has to offer, ensuring both novice joggers and seasoned runners find their perfect path.

Santa Rosa is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering routes that meander through lush vineyards, quiet neighborhoods, scenic parks, and challenging hill tracks. The city’s moderate climate makes it an ideal location for year-round running, with each season bringing its own beauty.

Spring Lake Regional Park

Spring Lake is my go-to spot for a peaceful jog. The loop around the lake is approximately 3 miles, perfect for a quick run or several laps for a longer distance. The path is well-maintained, with minimal elevation gain, making it accessible to runners of all levels. The views of the water and surrounding greenery provide a serene backdrop, enhancing the running experience.

Annadel State Park

For those seeking a challenge, Annadel State Park offers over 40 miles of trails. The terrain varies from easy, flat routes to steep, technical paths, catering to adventurous runners. My personal favorite is the Warren Richardson Trail, a winding path that climbs through wildflower meadows and offers stunning views of the valley below. Running in Annadel State Park feels like an escape into the wilderness, despite being just a stone’s throw from the city.

Prince Memorial Greenway

If urban scenery is more your style, the Prince Memorial Greenway offers a paved path that runs alongside the Santa Rosa Creek. Extending for about 2 miles, it’s perfect for a quick run downtown, connecting various city parks and providing picturesque spots to pause and take in the urban landscape. I find this route ideal for interval training, with landmarks serving as excellent markers for sprints and rests.

Top Running and Jogging Routes in Santa Rosa

Exploring Santa Rosa on foot has become one of my favorite ways to discover the city’s charm. In my journey, I’ve uncovered several top running and jogging routes that cater to various fitness levels, from casual joggers to seasoned marathoners. Here, I’ll share with you the ones that stand out the most to me.

Spring Lake Regional Park

Nestled within the heart of Santa Rosa, Spring Lake Regional Park offers a 3-mile loop that encircles the lake, providing a tranquil setting for a morning jog or an intense run. The path is well-maintained, making it accessible for runners and joggers of all ages. Its scenic beauty, combined with the availability of picnic spots, makes it a perfect place for both exercise and relaxation.

Annadel State Park

For those seeking a challenge, Annadel State Park’s rugged terrain presents over 40 miles of hiking, running, and biking trails. The park’s diverse landscapes include forests, meadows, and lakes, offering stunning views that reward the effort it takes to explore them. Trails such as Warren Richardson Trail and Cobblestone Trail are among my favorites for their natural beauty and the sense of adventure they bring.

Prince Memorial Greenway

The Prince Memorial Greenway adds a dash of urban scenery to Santa Rosa’s running landscape. This 2-mile paved path is a treasure for interval training enthusiasts or anyone looking to incorporate a bit of city vibe into their run. It winds along the Santa Rosa Creek, offering serene water views juxtaposed against the vibrant life of downtown Santa Rosa. Benches along the way provide spots to rest or simply enjoy the moment.

Sonoma County Regional Trails

Santa Rosa is also a gateway to the broader network of Sonoma County’s Regional Trails. These trails, such as the Santa Rosa Creek Trail and the West County and Joe Rodota Trails, extend beyond the city limits, offering miles of running paths through diverse county landscapes. They’re ideal for long-distance runners or anyone looking to change their scenery and challenge themselves on different terrains.

Tips for Running in Santa Rosa

My journey exploring the diverse running paths in Santa Rosa has not only enriched my love for outdoor activities but has also taught me valuable lessons on maximizing the experience. If you’re venturing into the inviting landscapes of Santa Rosa for running or jogging, I’ve gathered some indispensable tips that can make your runs more enjoyable and safe.

Choose the Right Time of Day

Santa Rosa’s weather can vary, so planning your runs during the cooler parts of the day, typically early mornings or late afternoons, can provide a more comfortable experience. This timing also offers the added benefit of avoiding the midday sun, especially during the hotter months.

Wear Appropriate Gear

Investing in the right gear is crucial for running in Santa Rosa. Depending on the season, layering your clothes can help manage the temperature fluctuations. Additionally, wearing proper running shoes that offer good support and grip is essential, particularly if you’re tackling the trails in Annadel State Park or the varied terrains of Sonoma County’s Regional Trails.

Stay Hydrated and Energized

Carrying water or a hydration pack is a must, especially for longer distances or on warmer days. If you’re planning a longer run, consider bringing quick snacks or energy gels. Staying hydrated and maintaining energy levels are key to enjoying a safe and energizing run.

Respect the Natural Environment

As a running enthusiast, I find joy in not only the physical benefits of my hobby but also the connection to nature it provides. It’s important to respect the natural environment by staying on designated paths, disposing of waste properly, and keeping a safe distance from wildlife. Spring Lake Regional Park and Annadel State Park are especially rich in natural beauty and deserve our respect.

Be Mindful of Safety

Whether you’re running on the urban Prince Memorial Greenway or exploring the extensive trails beyond the city, it’s important to prioritize safety. Let someone know your planned route and expected return time, carry a phone for emergencies, and be aware of your surroundings to avoid potential hazards.

Engage with the Local Running Community

Finally, Santa Rosa hosts a vibrant running community. Participating in local running groups or events can enhance your experience through shared tips, recommended routes, and group runs. It’s a fantastic way to meet fellow running enthusiasts and deepen your connection to Santa Rosa’s running scene.

Gear and Accessories for Running in Santa Rosa

Having immersed myself in Santa Rosa’s vibrant running scene, I’ve gathered some indispensable insights on the gear and accessories that elevate the experience. Running in locations like Spring Lake Regional Park or Annadel State Park isn’t just about lacing up any old pair of sneakers; it’s about preparing oneself with the right equipment to tackle the diverse terrains and weather conditions Santa Rosa has to offer.


Selecting the proper shoes stands as the cornerstone of any running gear. In Santa Rosa’s variegated landscape, which includes well-manicured park paths and rugged state park trails, I personally lean towards trail running shoes for their versatility. Brands like Salomon, Brooks, and Hoka One One offer excellent grip and stability, crucial for both the muddy trails of winter and the dry, dusty paths of summer.


Equally important is the right clothing, which must cater to the temperate but unpredictable climate of Santa Rosa. In the summer months, I always opt for moisture-wicking fabrics in my shirts and shorts, ensuring I stay dry and comfortable even when the temperature rises. For the cooler mornings and evenings, especially outside the summer season, layering is key. A lightweight, breathable jacket becomes my go-to, effortlessly carried when not needed.

Hydration Packs

Staying hydrated is paramount, especially on longer runs or in the heat. I’ve found hydration packs to be a game-changer, allowing me to carry water hands-free and sip easily without breaking my stride. Brands like CamelBak and Osprey have several runner-friendly models that are lightweight and come with varying water capacities, fitting for both short jaunts around Spring Lake and endurance runs in Annadel State Park.

Safety and Navigation Gear

Prioritizing safety, a good-quality headlamp and a whistle are essentials I never forget, especially when venturing out in the early mornings or evenings when visibility is lower. For navigation, particularly in the expansive trails of Annadel State Park, I rely on my GPS watch not just to keep track of my pace and distance, but also to ensure I can navigate my way back or explore new trails without getting lost.

Events and Races in Santa Rosa

Exploring the running and jogging routes in Santa Rosa opens up a world of enchanting trails and scenic vistas, but the experience doesn’t end there. The city hosts a variety of events and races throughout the year that cater to runners of all levels, from beginners to marathon enthusiasts. I’ve had the pleasure of participating in several of these events, and they’re a fantastic way to connect with the local running community, challenge oneself, and enjoy the beauty of Santa Rosa in a competitive but friendly atmosphere.

The Santa Rosa Marathon

One of the standout events in Santa Rosa’s running calendar is the Santa Rosa Marathon. It’s not only a Boston Marathon qualifier, but it also showcases some of the best routes the city has to offer. Running through downtown, along scenic creeks, and through vineyards, the marathon offers a diverse landscape that’s both challenging and rewarding. I always find the energy of this event infectious, with local bands playing and spectators cheering you on throughout the course.

The Annadel Half Marathon

For those who, like me, have a particular fondness for trail running, the Annadel Half Marathon is a must-try. Taking place in the beautiful Annadel State Park, this event tests your trail running skills with its hilly terrain, all while offering stunning views of wildflowers and lake vistas. It’s a great way to experience the trails I mentioned earlier, with the added excitement of a timed race.

The Empire Runners Club Events

The Empire Runners Club is a cornerstone of the Santa Rosa running community, organizing several races and events throughout the year. These range from low-key, family-friendly 5Ks to more competitive 10Ks, and even track events. Participating in these events has allowed me to meet fellow running enthusiasts and become more involved in Santa Rosa’s athletic community.

Vineyard Runs

A unique feature of running in Santa Rosa is the opportunity to participate in vineyard runs. These events, often held by local wineries, combine running with wine-tasting, offering a relaxed, festive atmosphere post-race. The courses wind through vineyards and offer breathtaking views of the wine country. It’s a delightful way to combine a love for running with the chance to sample some of the best wines in the region.


Exploring Santa Rosa’s trails has been a journey of discovery and delight for me. Whether it’s the serene paths of Spring Lake or the challenging terrains of Annadel State Park, each run is a new adventure. I’ve learned the importance of being well-equipped, from the right shoes to essential safety gear, ensuring every run is as enjoyable as it is safe. Participating in local events has not only challenged me but also connected me with the vibrant running community here. And let’s not forget the unforgettable experience of vineyard runs, where the reward is as rich as the journey. I hope my experiences inspire you to lace up your running shoes and explore the beauty of Santa Rosa on foot. Happy running!

+ posts

Ben Rutstein is the publisher of this website, he started traveling to northern California in 2014, and the Santa Rosa is one of his favorite places to visit, from that time onwards he has explored everything from visiting cafes to yoga in parks, local hikes.

He is known to drop everything at a moments notice for a visit to a winery or a visit to a park.

Scroll to Top