Snapdragons take center stage amid other blooms at Sequoia Park in Eureka, Calif.
You can find some of the finest open space in the West practically around the corner. VIA readers certainly can. When we asked for your favorite municipal and regional parks, the rave reviews included these.
BIDWELL PARK Chico, Calif. "This peaceful place in the middle of our city is indeed Sherwood Forest," Marta Lorber says of the 3,670-acre park where parts of the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood were filmed. "People jog, walk, or bike; kids fly kites and catch pollywogs. It's a lovely place to go on a hot day." (530) 895-4972, www.ci.chico.ca.us.
LITHIA PARK Ashland, Ore. "This 93-acre park has paths, picnic areas, and a Japanese garden," writes Ashland resident Susan Dempsay. But the reason it's her favorite is "the creek that flows rapidly over rocks and around turns, making it a special treat to walk next to." (541) 488-5340.
McKINLEY SQUARE PARK San Francisco. Peter Laughingwolf of Portland recommends the "mind-blowing" swings at this 2.4-acre park atop Potrero Hill. "Once you get them going, it feels like you're literally flying over the city," he says.
ROSS PARK Pocatello, Idaho. Ross Park is "popular for family activities such as picnics and swimming," says Viti Kantabutra. "It has a beautiful zoo with yellow-bellied marmots and the zoo's mascot, Charlie the Grizzly." (208) 234-6232, www.pocatello.us.
SEQUOIA PARK Eureka, Calif. "I've never seen a city park so loved and used," says Eureka's Tina Nerat. "It contains a 65-acre grove of redwoods and has a fabulous formal flower garden—the dahlias, in particular, are incredible in the summer and fall." (707) 441-4203.
UVAS CANYON COUNTY PARK Morgan Hill, Calif. Wendy Satterlund of San Jose writes, "This park is lovely in any season. We pack up the kids, the cooler, and the camping gear for our annual 'camp-o-rama.' The park is far enough removed from the real world so that we can count shooting stars while we roast marshmallows around the campfire." (408) 779-9232, www.parkhere.org.
Our November/December Hit List will feature the West's best small-town holiday events. Send your favorite, along with details about why it's great, to On the Road, VIA, 150 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102. Or send it by email to email@example.com. If we feature your pick, you'll receive $50 and a VIA T-shirt.
Photography by Thomas Hallstein/Outsight
This article was first published in July 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.