1. The North Davis Greenbelts
You can find greenbelts throughout Davis, but my favorite is probably the North Davis Greenbelt system. The Greenbelt is a paved and protected walking and bike path that connects the green spaces and parks of North Davis. You can visit a park on the green belt or you can walk the various paths between parks. My favorite walk is a 3.5 mile loop that hits North Star Park, Covell Park, the Perimeter Greenbelt, and Senda Nueva Park. Ample trees along the Greenbelt provide plenty of shade for strolling in the summer months. Be sure to check out the Julie Partansky Pond at North Start Park if you enjoy birding or quiet nature observation.
2. The Arboretum
Maybe this sounds crazy, but I think UC Davis’ Arboretum is underrated! This is seriously one of my favorite places in Davis. I like to do the whole 3 mile loop in one stroll, but you can visit as much or as little of the Arboretum as you want. The plants are organized by collection with tons of information to absorb if you’re into that. There are many places to sit, but I recommend the picnic tables in the Muir Grove of Redwoods because it’s always shady!
About 15 Minutes from Davis
3. Putah Creek Riparian Reserve
The UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve is a 640 acre riparian and grassland ecosystem that runs along the southern edge of UC Davis’ campus. Most of the land is open to the public for fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. There are picnic tables and you can make a reservation to use the fire ring in the main picnic area. Dogs are allowed, just keep them on leash.
2. Cache Creek Nature Preserve
Cache Creek Nature Preserve is a 130 acre park of wetlands, oak woodlands, grasslands, and riparian lands with 1.5 miles of hiking trails throughout. In addition to trails, the Preserve is home to the Tending & Gathering Garden, a collaborative effort with the local Indigenous community to demonstrate native plant uses in Patwin culture, and the Jan T. Lowery Memorial Grove showcasing native CA plants. CCNP is open Sunday-Friday 8am-4pm (closed Saturdays). Dogs are not allowed.
About 30 Minutes from Davis
2. Rockville Hills Regional Park
By far my favorite local outdoors spot! Located in Fairfield, CA, Rockville Hills is about a 30 minute drive from Davis. The park is 644 acres with hiking and mountain biking trails, a lake, a pond, picnic tables, two caves, ample scrambling boulders, wildlife and wildflowers if the time is right. Find a variety of trails, easy to difficult. Dogs are allowed too! Heavy rains this winter have closed some trails, but the park is drying out.