The West County & Joe Rodota trails system takes in some of Sonoma County's most scenic and sweeping rural vistas. The Joe Rodota trail is built along the corridor of the old Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway, which carried passengers between Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Sebastopol until it was abandoned in 1984. The rail-trail system was designated as a Community Millennium Trail by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton and the White House Millennium Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
The Joe Rodota parking area and trailhead is at Wright and Sebastopol roads in Sebastopol, close to midpoint of the Joe Rodota trail, is the preferred place to begin your ride. You could also go east toward Santa Rosa, riding for just under 3 miles through an industrial area to the eastern end point at a creek in Roseland. The recommendedand more scenicalternative, however, is to head west from the Wright Road parking area toward Sebastopol along State Route 12. This 3-mile westward section of the Joe Rodota Trail parallels SR 12 and soon emerges into scenic farmland that evokes Sonoma County's pastoral heritage. The trail runs along a creek in places, and you should be able to spot a variety of birds and wildlife: the trail meanders through the Laguna de Santa Rosa, which is the largest freshwater wetland complex in Sonoma County. If you're lucky, you may encounter a bald eagle, white pelican or osprey.
This straightaway section of the trail flows into Sebastopol and ends. You will have to cross through the downtown area to pick up the link to the West County Trail north of town. As you enter Sebastopol, take a right on Petaluma Ave. After 0.25 mile, take a left on McKinley Street Pass then take an immediate right onto Main Street. Continue on Main for another 0.25 mile. Just before you reach the local high school, you will find the trailhead on your left. The trail is wooded here, and is a heavily used commuter route connecting the adjacent neighborhoods to the high school and downtown Sebastopol.
After about a mile, the trail feeds into Gravenstein Highway. As you continue north along the highway you will pass lush vineyards and farmlands. After 1 mile, turn left onto Occidental Road. Stay on Occidental Road for just under another 1 mile until you see the official signage on your right marking the trailhead for the original West County Trail.
This last 4-mile section of the trail passes through beautiful vineyards, picturesque farmland and orchards. A special treat is the fresh aroma coming from apple mills you will pass the industrial section of the trail on the second mile of the West County trail. The trail finally ends at Ross Station Road in Forestville.
Parking and Trail Access
To access the Wright trailhead from US 101, head north on US 101 toward Landfill Access Road, just before reaching Santa Rosa. Take the State Route 12 Exit toward Sebastopol and merge unto SR 12W/Sebastopol Freeway. Turn left on N. Wright Road and immediately turn right at Sebastopol Road. The trailhead parking area will be on your left. Parking is also available in Sebastopol at the trailhead on Petaluma Avenue.
To reach the West County trailhead on Occidental from US 101, take the SR 12W Exit toward Sebastopol. Turn right on Fulton Road and take the immediate left on Occidental Road. Follow Occidental Road for 5.2 miles until you see the West County trailhead parking area on your right.