4 Running Routes to Do in Wine Country

SANTA ROSA

Dine: Willi's Wine Bar
Offers 30 small plates for sharing and pairing with local wines. williswinebar.net.

Dream: Hotel La Rose
A 100-year-old historic landmark with all the charm you'd expect. hotellarose.com.

Unwind: Avanti Day Spa
Local favorite with spa packages named after Sonoma's fertile valleys. avantispa.net.

The biggest city in California's wine country, Santa Rosa, is also home to Empire Running Club (empirerunners.org), the oldest and largest running club in Sonoma County. Empire holds training sessions every day of the week except Friday, and hosts nearly 20 races in Santa Rosa each year.

A favorite running spot in Santa Rosa is the 5,000-acre Annadel State Park on the southeast edge of town. With 40 miles of trails through oak woodlands and meadows, you could run for days and never see the same tree twice. But many agree that the best route includes a dip in Lake Ilsanjo, tucked away in the heart of the park.

One such jaunt, clocking in at about six miles, starts at the auxiliary dirt parking lot on Channel Drive. Jump on the narrow, woodsy Cobblestone Trail and run two miles until it dead-ends at the Rough-Go Trail. Turn left and run about a half mile to the lake. Go left on Lake Trail, running around the lake until you intersect Warren Richardson.

This wide-open, well-maintained trail will take you through a forest of Douglas fir, bay and redwood trees on a gentle 2.5-mile downhill to the picnic area, where you can run back to your car in the auxiliary lot.

As the urban center of Sonoma County, you won't find any wineries within walking or running distance of Santa Rosa. But it's worth a drive to Copain Wines (copainwines.com), located about 13 miles north of the city. Perched on a hill, the winery offers shockingly beautiful views of the Russian River Valley, and a variety of elegant, nuanced reds.

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