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Lake Ilsajo, Buick Meadow Loop - Annadel State Park

Connecting several trails to cover the central third of the park with not a hint of the city just over the hill.
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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 8.7 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Overview: This walk takes you through the central third of Annadel SP and through some of the best of what the park has to offer. Some... more »

Tips:  Temperatures are moderate: daytime highs during the summer are in the 80s and 90s; wintertime highs are in the 50s. Rainfall averages ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trail Head

Directions to Trail Head:
From Summerfield Drive:

Two options:
1) East on Park Trail, follow around loop to Carissa Avenue.

2) East on Carissa Ave.

The trail head is on the corner of Carissa Ave. and Annadel Heights Dr.

There is a large city-operated open space property occupying the grass slope. The trail head is the Veteran Memorial Trail at... More

2. Junction

Take the right fork (southeasterly). This trail will almost immediately head east and down a steep eroded and rocky trail into a gully.

3. Junction

The north running trail is an easier grade back to the last junction. Continue to the right toward the southeast and up the valley on the side slope. The country is primarily stunted oak and grassland.

4. Junction

The Veteran's Trail connects to the park here near a bridge on the Canyon Trail. Cross the bridge over Spring Creek.

5. Junction and Map

Take a look at the informational board tolearn about the park and get your bearings.

Head southeasterly up Spring Creek toward Lake Ilsanjo. The trail will follow the creek on an uphill grade through a moderately steep-sided canyon under alders, redwoods and bay trees that
grow along the creek canyon. On the way you’ll see a nice picnic spot next... More

6. Picnic Spot

One of the picnic spots with benches along the trail.

From here, the canyon and trail will generally steepen as it continues up toward the lake. As the trail curves to the east there will be a creek crossing which is fairly dry except after rains. Overall, the vegetation will become dryer.

7. Junction and Lake Ilsanjo Dam

Nice view of most of the 26-acre lake, down the face of the dam, and a portion of the canyon just hiked.

There is a restroom at the eastern shore and picnic benches are scattered periodically along the shoreline.

Picnic benches are available here.

Follow the Lake Trail left (northwest) along the lake. There are some popular fishing spots and... More

8. Junction

Junction: Lake Trail and Rough Go Trail.

Continue following the Lake Trail as it leaves but continues around to the north end of the lake.

On the way to the next waypoint the forest will open to grasslands and a finger of the lake. Foot trails and a dirt service road toward the lake provide access to fishing and picnic benches near the water.

9. Junction

A side-trip. Turn off the Lake Trail to visit a pagoda lookout across the grassland meadow.

The stone gazebo with benches was built with a contribution in 1984 by Elmer Burka to make the park a more enjoyable place.

10. Junction

Major Trail Junction. W.P. Richardson Trail, Louis Trail, and Lake Trail. Information signage describing Lake Ilsanjo.

Cross the intersection and head northeasterly on the W.P. Richardson Trail, which is listed as the South Burma Trail on the park map. The trail will start on a modest uphill grade into forest cover and follow a valley.

11. Junction

W.P. Richardson Trail and South Burma Trail.

W.P. Richardson Trail travels north toward a park entrance point.

Follow the South Burma Trail easterly on a continuous, gentle upward grade.

12. Partial Vista

A partial vista through tree cover overlooking The Valley of the Moon and Oakmont Village(a retirement community), and grazing lands below the mountain slopes across the valley.

13. Picnic Bench

Picnic bench and rest stop in a mixed Douglas-fir and oak forest.

14. Picnic Bench

The trail is approaching the ridgeline of the hill at this point. The vegetation has stunted considerably with periodic openings and a general chaparral cover. Keep an eye (or nose) open for Sonoma Sage (blooms May to June also with scarlet fritillary March to May).

Another picnic bench is at this point.

15. Vista

The seemingly endless uphill walk is done. Buick Meadow stretches out below the trail for much of its length at this point.

The trail will follow the edge of the meadow to the southeast and reenter the forest cover. Shortly after, the trail reverses direction heading west which puts us halfway home.

16. Vista

Another great viewpoint on the meadow. Heading westerly the trail grazes the base of a hill splitting Buick Meadow into north and south halves. It's hard to believe the area is surrounded by cities and towns.

17. Junction

Junction: South Burma Trail and Marsh Trail. There is a bench here with a nice view looking back on the meadow. Follow the Marsh Trail westerly into the forest that will include oak woodlands, Oregon oaks, and scattered redwood groves. Further on the trail will cross along the lower slope of Bennett Mountain and there will be views overlooking... More

18. Redwoods

Rounding a heavily forested hill and into a side gully, the trail heads into a very nice redwood grove with lush broad leaf ground cover.

19. Junction

Junction: Marsh Trail and Ridge Trail.

The Ridge Trail is a segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Follow the "Low Road" and stay on the Marsh Trail.

20. Vista

Picnic bench on knoll overlooking the surrounding countryside.

To the north across Annadell, the lake, and Santa Rosa and west across the park, Santa Rosa, and to the coastal hills across the valley toward Sebastopol.

21. Junction

Marsh Trail and Canyon Trail.

Benches, a trail map, a place to tie the horses in oak woodlands.

Follow the Canyon Trail south and around a bend.
The trail through here is a dirt service road that is well graded.

22. Vista

Topping a rise on a broad grass-covered slope, you will open up to a view stretching west to north that includes Bennett Valley, the Santa Rosa Plane, and portions of Annadel.

The trail heads down into a small grassy valley while skirting the northern flank of a tree-covered hill.

23. Gate

Intersection on the cure near a gate in the park boundary. Continue following the Canyon Trail down the valley into an oak.

24. Junction

Return to POI 5 and continue straight through, heading northwest along the slope.

Return to POI 4.

Bypass the steep, rocky trail and continue straight (north) to round the hill on a gentler and visually pleasant fence-lined grade.

26. Junction

Return to POI 3.

Continue down the grass slope to the trail head.

27. Trail Head

End of hike.