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Besides wines and vines, the ‘other’ Healdsburg is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Editor’s Note: This summer we’re posting a series of stories with ideas for local outdoor recreation, from easy walks and biking trips to the zipline and hearty hikes. Enjoy the variety of activities in our own backyard and get out there!

A popular marketing story in the Healdsburg wine industry is that winemakers and vineyard managers are farm laborers of the land. “We’re just farmers,” they like to say. As a bunch of “salt of the earth” who only work the land, they sweep away all aristocratic airs and golden stereotypes.

But what could use a good marketing campaign, and is often lost amid the endless rows of vineyards, is the idea that the same land these farmers cultivate is also home to a plethora of hiking, biking trails. and kayaks.

“You can only eat and drink that much. At some point you want to get out there and go on an adventure, ”says Randy Johnson, owner of Getaway Adventures and Wine Country Bike Tours.

Welcome to the best excuse to burn off a prix fixe marathon meal at the three-star Michelin restaurant – the other Healdsburg, an outdoor lover’s paradise that spills over into the Dry Creek and Alexander valleys.

“Hotel concierges tell us all the time that they’re always looking for something to say to their customers when they ask: What can we do outside in Healdsburg? ”, Explains Rochelle Collier, General Manager of River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips.

And it’s not just for wide-eyed tourists. Many locals forget that adventure awaits them in their own backyards. Just in time for the last hurray in August, here’s a quick rundown of the outdoor activities in and around Healdsburg.

Paddling

Located near Veterans Memorial Beach, River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips was recently purchased by Southern California transplant recipients David and Kim Lockhart. She works in marketing for Sony Pictures and is a freelance actor-filmmaker and martial arts guru who occasionally sings in a Doors tribute band.

They have so much faith in the Russian River boat rental business that they bought it during the pandemic and have been renovating ever since, hauling nine tons of sand by truck to create a bigger beach, where they also have concerts on weekends. -end.

As drought causes historically low flows in the Russian River – typically they will see between 75 and 125 cfs (cubic feet per second) of water, and lately it’s around 25 to 40 cfs – that hasn’t prevented customers from renting canoes. and kayaks and enjoy the river all summer long, says Collier.

“If you hit a gravel bar, you have to get out of the boat and bring it back into the channel,” she said. “But we put leashes on each boat, so it’s not that difficult.”

The Lockharts didn’t open the Alexander Valley trip this summer, but the popular 5-mile self-guided Rio Trip is doing well. Lately, kayakers have seen river otters “more than ever,” says Collier, as well as ospreys, herons and turtles.

Rates from $ 75 to $ 150 for the 3-6 hour trip to Rio. 4 years and over. 13940 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg. 707-433-7247. riversedgekayakandcanoe.com

By two wheels

“There is a really pent-up demand to go out,” says Randy Johnson, owner of Getaway Adventures. “I can’t tell you how many people called us up and said, ‘We just wanna do something, anything, just put us on a bike, put us on a kayak, take us out somewhere. . “

Her biggest problem right now is finding enough guides to cover demand, as business is three times higher than before the pandemic.

“It was crazy,” he said. “We get a lot of last minute bookings and our rental business has grown significantly. “

Guided tours range from 10 to 15 miles, with a gourmet lunch and plenty of stops in between. Packages range from full-day bike rentals and private guided tours to self-guided multi-day trips from the coast to redwood forests to winding valley roads that take guests from winery to winery. and in guest rooms, with luggage delivered every step of the way.

Healdsburg Bike & Wine Tour $ 250. Daily self-guided bike rental (hybrid, electric and road) from $ 39 to $ 99. Pedal and paddle day trip starting at $ 144. 61 Front Street, Healdsburg. 800-499-2453. escapadeaventures.com

Walk

For a great hike to the top of Dry Creek Valley, take Dry Creek Road through Sbragia Winery to Lake Sonoma. On the other side of the bridge, park in the Little Flat parking lot and cross Rockpile Road, where you will find access to the trailhead. The 4.7 mile round trip Little Flat to Bummer Peak trail winds through madrone, scrub oak, and manzanita, climbing 974 feet and the reward of breathtaking views of the valley.

John Smith

The author John Smith