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Petaluma Wetlands: Shollenberger Park, Alman Marsh, Ellis Creek

The Petaluma wetlands complex encompasses some 500 acres of tidal salt marshes and freshwater marshes, and has more than 7 miles of contiguous public trails that connect Alman Marsh, Shollenberger Park, and Ellis Creek. The wetlands are a birder's paradise; more than 225 species of birds have been identified here. On a clear day you can see Mt....
The Petaluma wetlands complex encompasses some 500 acres of tidal salt marshes and freshwater marshes, and has more than 7 miles of contiguous public trails that connect Alman Marsh, Shollenberger Park, and Ellis Creek. The wetlands are a birder's paradise; more than 225 species of birds have been identified here. On a clear day you can see Mt. Diablo to the south; to the east lies Sonoma Mountain, a long-dormant volcano.

Shollenberger Park is tucked inside an industrial park on the banks of the Petaluma River. A 2-mile loop trail circles the park; a 1-mile extension to the north leads through Alman Marsh to the Petaluma Marina. At the park’s northeast end you can connect to a 3-mile network of trails circling the polishing ponds at the Ellis Creek water recycling facility. To the west, a portion of the trail system parallels the Petaluma River; beyond it are hills clustered with native oaks.

Trail/Pathway Details

Shollenberger Loop Trail

Trailhead: Parking lot at Cader Ln.

Length: 1-2 total miles

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Level

Terrain: Firm

At the start of the loop, if you follow the trail to the right, a paved section travels parallel to the dirt and gravel trail for almost .75 miles.

Description

The 2-mile crushed gravel Shollenberger Loop Trail (a section at the beginning is paved) encircles city-owned dredge-spoil ponds that hold silt that has been dredged from the nearby Petaluma River. Pick up a self-guided tour brochure at the trail’s entrance to learn about the wetlands and their history (a curb blocks full access to the brochures). Nature did...
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Alman Marsh Trail

Trailhead: Foot of Marina Ave. and at Shollenberger Park

Length: 1-2 total miles

Typical Width: 30 in. to 4 ft.

The trail varies in width but is not less than 30 inches. Overgrown grasses narrow the trail in places.

Typical Grade: Level

Terrain: Moderately Firm

Description

Situated at the north end of Shollenberger Park, Alman Marsh covers 80 acres of former pasture and marshland that was restored after the river levee was breached in the late 1980s. It is a biologically sensitive place, home to several threatened and endangered species. From Shollenberger, follow the loop trail counter-clockwise and in less than .25 miles you...
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Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility Ponds (aka Ellis Creek)

Trailhead: Parking lot at the foot of Cypress Dr.

Length: 2-4 total miles

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Level

There’s one gentle hill about .25 miles out.

Terrain: Moderately Firm

The dirt and gravel portions of the trail may be uncomfortable in a manual wheelchair.

Description

The Ellis Creek water recycling facility is a great example of how a sewage processing and water purification plant can provide public and ecological benefits, from wildlife habitat restoration to recreational trails. Three miles of trails circle four elevated, bermed "polishing" wetlands, where heavy metals are removed in the final stage of water treatment. Tidal sloughs, a brackish...
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Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Shollenberger: Foot of Cader Ln. Ellis Marsh: End of Cypress Dr. Alman Marsh: An accessible space is at the trailhead in the public parking area within the Sheraton Hotel lot at the foot of Marina Ave. At the parking lots for Shollenberger and Ellis Creek
At Shollenberger, a few picnic tables are at the start of the trail and one is near the river, but all are dilapidated and uninviting.

Other Things of Interest

Petaluma Wetlands Alliance offers docent-led tours at Shollenberger and the Ellis Creek ponds on various Saturdays each month. Check the calendar for dates and times.
Polishing wetlands
Polishing wetlands (Bonnie Lewkowicz)

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Features icon key

  • bicycling
  • hiking
  • picnic
  • wildlife viewing

Additional Information

View Map  
Website: cityofpetaluma.net/
Managing Agency: City of Petaluma
Address: Cader Lane at S. McDowell Blvd.
Nearest City: Petaluma
Phone: (707) 778-4321
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Fees: None
Dogs: On leash
Public Transportation: Petaluma Transit
Useful Links: Petaluma Wetlands Alliance
Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, June 13, 2014
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

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Accessible Wheelchair Icon looks like a wheelchair with balloon wheelsBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing
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