Yolo County Walkabouts
The “Sergeant Margie” dog-face beside an entry means the place is dog-friendly (you can take your leashed dog there).
Cache Creek Conservancy Nature Preserve: The preserve is 130 acres of wetlands, grassland, and riparian habitat found in Woodland, California. The trails are well-marked and easy to travel; many of them are handicapped accessible. The property is bordered by Cache Creek on one side and the Gordon Slough on the other. It’s open almost every week day, but it’s weekend hours are limited, so it’s best to check the website or call first if you want to visit. Part of the property includes a large barn structure (that is home or owls) and another part includes a Tending and Gathering Garden of native plants used by the local Native American tribes. No dogs or horses are allowed on the property.
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven: The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is a dog-friendly half-acre plot of land near the University of California, Davis set aside for the study of bees. It’s right next door to the Harry Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Because the garden is only an acre and the paths are well drawn, it’s easy to walk around it, and even if there are no researchers on hand, there are signs throughout the place that let you know what you’re looking at. The street on which the garden is situated has a lot of tall olive trees along it, so there are a lot of shady places to park. There are no restrooms open to the public, however, so take that into consideration before you make the drive. The garden is open from dawn to dusk year-round and admission is free.
Lake Solano Park: The park is in Winters, CA. — which is actually in Yolo County, but the park butts up against Solano County, so I’m listing it here, too. It’s about 30 minutes from Woodland and is a nice mix of manicured lawns, paved walkways and large restrooms, and more “natural” areas with foot-trails along the side of the lake, so there’s something for everyone. There is also a small dock area with canoes you can rent, and a glassed-in nature center where you can rent out the exhibit room and use the kitchen (for a fee, of course). It’s quite lovely. In the middle of the park is a fishing hole where kids and seniors can fish. All around the park there are cottonwood trees, mulberry trees, black walnut and buckeye chestnut trees, grey pines, cattails, tules and horsetail grass, seasonal wild grapes, gooseberries and wild blackberries… Lake Solano is fed by Putah Creek, and is supposed to be one of the best places in the Sacramento Valley to fly-fish for Brown and Rainbow trout. I saw actually some Brown Trout just basking in a shallow pool when I was there in the spring, and in another area saw a huge bullfrog tadpole sitting in the water. I also got to see ducks, geese (and ducklings and goslings), Blue Herons, Red-Winged Black Birds, Phoebes, and Scrub Jays while I was there… and several peacocks, including one in his full regalia, strutting for the females. Dogs are not allowed in the park (but are allowed in the camping area across the street).