Mix wine country with a picnic, hike, and more – Riverfront Regional Park
It it always healthy to mix in some exercise among all the wine and food consumption during a wine country trip. The Riverfront Regional Park in the Russian River Valley provides just that with some easy hiking trails. The Coastal Redwood picnic grove provides an added bonus for contemplating nature and enjoying a peaceful picnic lunch. If you are new to Northern California, don’t miss the Coastal Redwood Trees. These are the tallest trees in the world. The park entrance is directly across the road from the Copain Winery, and there are several wonderful and fun wineries to visit within just a few miles of Riverfront Regional Park.
The main hike is around the beautiful Lake Benoist. It is about 2.5 miles and very moderate. At about the half-way point, there is a short spur leading to a small beach on the Russian River. This is a rare look at one of the great wine rivers of the world. The Russian River is a direct influence on the terroir of those great Pinot Noir wines coming from the vineyards growing on its banks. Following your hike, sit and relax among the Redwood Trees. Even on a warm day, the Redwood Trees provide plenty of shade and cooling air to enjoy a picnic lunch and, of course, a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. There are barbecue pits, lots of tables, a volleyball court, and horse shoes.
“Must see” wineries
This is certainly one of the less traveled roads in Healdsburg and Sonoma County wine country. It is a beautiful road surrounded by vineyards. Our favorite wineries include J Vineyards, Acorn, Foppiano, and Rodney Strong. J Vineyards has sparkling wine that would be perfect for your picnic at Riverfront. Acorn is a small winery run by Betsy & Bill Nachbaur. They have an old vineyard, providing a field blend for a fantastic red wine labeled Acorn Hill. It is a blend of five different grape varieties. Foppiano dates back to 1926 and is still family run. Rodney Strong is one of the largest wineries in the area and has a beautiful tasting room and picnic area.
Getting to Riverfront Regional Park
From San Francisco, take Exit 498/Old Redwood Highway and drive through Windsor for 2 miles. Turn left on Eastside Road and drive a mile to the entrance. From Healdsburg, take Old Redwood Highway exit and then Eastside Road. Continue along Eastside Road for about 4 miles.
Helpful resources for this trip
- Sonoma County Parks – Riverfront Regional Park
- Old Redwood Highway Wine Trail
- Dining and Lodging in Healdsburg
- Aerial view of the park and the Russian River
- When to visit the Sonoma wine country