Sugarloaf Ridge State Park Rx for Health Program
Team Sugarloaf operates one of the SF Bay Area’s most successful and vibrant Park Rx programs. Attracting hundreds of attendees per year, the program offers a variety of events for different needs.
We recognize that well-being occurs along a continuum and we strive to offer programs that meet people where they are. For some, just getting outdoors is a big step. For others, walking a mile is an accomplishment. And some are ready to challenge themselves over many weeks to improve fitness and health. In addition, we have learned how important social and cultural components are when planning programs.
Park Rx for health program aims to help improve the health and well-being of Sonoma County residents through regular exercise in Sonoma County parks and on Sonoma County trails. By “nature” a collaborative program between health care and park professionals, patients are “prescribed” monthly activities at local parks which introduce participants to safe, low impact walking or other outdoor physical activities in nature. Our goal is to promote healthier lifestyles that result from engagement with nature.
At Sugarloaf, attendees that provide a signed prescription from their medical provider receive free admittance to the program. When a medical provider believes that getting a patient into the outdoors will improve their physical or mental wellbeing, we have a program for them to offer.
Park Rx for Health strives to:
- Prescribe healthy outdoor exercise through partnerships with health care providers.
- Increase access and utilization of parks by people who are historically underrepresented.
- Actively promote connections with nature through programs which encourage physical activity, stress reduction and social connection for overall wellness.
How To Participate
Sugarloaf has a variety of events in our program. Find an event that fits your needs, and sign up. If you have a Park Rx form filled out by your medical provider, you can attend for free, though parking fees apply.
PARK RX Events
- Hiking for Fitness Series: a series of 8 weekly group hikes with each hike increasing in difficulty. These hiking series are very popular and introduce people to the joys of walking in the outdoors. They also provide a sense of community and commitment that encourages series completion. Many of the leaders are health or fitness professionals. We have a beginning and intermediate program as well as a maintenance program. More information.
- Forest Therapy / Forest Bathing: Sugarloaf Park is where the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing, was introduced to the West and the program now has expanded all over the world. The Association of Forest Therapy supports the park by leading a monthly forest-bathing walk here at the park. More information.
- Yoga Hikes: Monthly yoga hikes allow people to enjoy the benefits of yoga in an outdoor setting. The hikes cover 2-3 miles with 4-6 yoga stops along the way. More information.
- Family Hikes: We have 1-4 family hike events per month. Family hikes are at 10 am every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on holidays. These events are free but RSVP is sometimes needed. Your Rx gets you in free.
- Senderos Naturales Program: Sugarloaf offers Spanish-language outdoor programs in the county, with 1-3 events per month. This program attracts between 20 and 60 attendees to each event. The events range from family hikes to naturalist lead hikes and overnight campouts. More information
For Medical Providers
How does it work for a Medical Provider?
If you have a patient that could benefit from getting outside for exercise, stress reduction, or family or community engagement, write a prescription!
Have your patient or you review this website for options.
At most parks, your prescription will allow access to a single event or series of events.
Alternatively, it could provide entry for self-guided hikes. ParksRx are valid for three months from the date written.
We are seeking financial support from the Sonoma County Medical community. See here for more information.
Team Sugarloaf offers a variety of hikes as part of the program. Parking fees apply.