RUNderful Life: Manuel J. Barandas Park

Walkway at Manuel J. Barandas Park. / Mariah Talso Photo

FOR THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

I found a new trail this month and it is a beauty. I started at Manuel J. Barandas Park located at 2805 Grasslands Drive. There is an abundance of street parking, if you need to drive there.

I was surprised with how large this park is — there seems new and has something for all ages! The park features a ping pong table, cornhole boards, basketball courts, playground, baseball field, dog park, soccer field and more.

Mariah Talso Photo

Manuel J. Barandas Park is a great place to bring your kids or four-legged friends to get some exercise or grab your friends and have a BBQ. I have visited many, many parks over the past decade and have to say, this is in my top five favorite parks in all of Sacramento.

I started my run at the entrance to the park and traveled down a beautiful tree-lined path, complete with benches every 20 feet or so. I ran along the edge of the park where the park borders the Natomas Main Drainage Canal. I then crossed over the canal (over a cute, little bridge) and ran up the path (there are two options – a paved bike/walking path or a dirt path closer to the water).

The path goes all the way to Interstate 80. You can cross the canal here and head back on the east side, bordering the park or turn around and double back the way you came.

I went over the canal again and up to where the canal hits West El Camino Avenue. From there, I turned around and went back the way I had come, through the park. This trail makes for an easy run or a nice walk. The total distance was 1.75 miles.

Mariah Talso Photo

I went right at sunset, which was gorgeous. The canal had a lot of geese, some ducklings and a few fish jumping at dusk. The wildflowers and weeds were really pretty and I stopped multiple times to take photos.

Despite the path being really close to Interstate 80, you don’t realize the freeway is there until you get close to it. There is construction on the west side of the path, but on the other side, as you walk along it, you feel like you are just out and exploring nature.

At the moment, this trail seems to have very few visitors. I expect when the housing construction finishes on the west side of the path, the trail and park will start to see many more faces. Take advantage of the stillness, the calm, and the beauty of this trail, by visiting it soon.

I promise, you won’t regret it.

Mariah Talso moved to North Natomas in 2012. She has two young children who enjoy the trails, parks, and playgrounds in the area. In 2018, Mariah decided to run a marathon, took up running and hasn’t stopped. She loves running outdoors, traversing the trails and levees throughout Natomas. Click here to read her other columns.

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