North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park

Trail
4.50 Miles
1388 Feet
$7.00
(4.00)1
(3.00)
(3.00)
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
5297 Sonoma Mountain Rd.
Santa Rosa
Sonoma
More Info
Photos
The only significant stream crossing on the trail, the South Fork of Matanzas Creek, is easily handled thanks to this bridge. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Vineyards can be spied along several portions of the trail. In some cases the properly line gets quite close. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Not even a mile into the hike and the switchbacks are already occurring. There will be many more. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Much of the first mile or so of the North Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail goes over rolling grassland. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
A view from the summit of Jack London State Park. The fog rolled in and out, providing fleeting glimpses of Sonoma Valley. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The vast majority of stream crossing on the trail and over usually dry channels and they are well lined with rock to prevent erosion on the trail. On wet days they can be slippery though. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
On the descent the fog and cloud cover lifted somewhat, providing some better light over the lower segment of the North Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The Umbrella Tree Trail at the part features the majority of Redwoods here and thus it feels like a completely different park that the other areas. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
A view from the terminus of the Umbrella Tree Trail. The nearly 180 degree view here stretches into the Santa Rosa plain. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Log Entries
Walking in the fog
By Austin Explorer on 5/8/2016
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 12.84 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 53 minutes

Coppertone and I logged our longest hike in some time here today.  We went all of the way into Jack London State Park to the park summit near the top of Sonoma Mountain.  Maybe one of these days they'll open up the expansion land and let us go all of the way to the true summit.

The trails involve some impressive elevation gain and a number of switchbacks, particularly after the first mile from the trailhead.

As we got to the peak we looked back into Sonoma Valley and was quickly enveloped in thick fog that cut visibility down to a couple hundred feet.  The speed with which it moved in was impressive.  We bided our time and enjoyed our snacks and water at the summit and within a few minutes the fog broke and we could see into the valley again.  Very neat.

As we descended the rolling fog continued to ebb and flow along the trail.  We lucked out in being able to get a glimpse of the Bennet Valley from the overlook half way up the mountain that we had skipped earlier in the hike.

A group of four hikers was ascending as we were working our way down and from a distance we thought a group of about 10 or more was approaching based on the noise level.  Outside of that outlier there was some decent solitude and quiet even though other trail users were never terribly far away.

At one point we came upon two deer foraging along the trail and got within about 50 feet of them.  They were cautious, but not particularly spooked by our presence and continued to work their way perpendicular to the trail and uphill, disappearing into some tree cover.  Not too long after that we heard, then spotted, two turkeys travelling parallel to the trail.

We saved the Umbrella Tree Trail for last, which turned out to be fitting.  The near 180 degree views there are some of the best in the park, even if the elevation there is not as high.

Recommended Item
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Sonoma County is 35 miles north of San Francisco on the Pacific coast. This California county is known for its wineries and a magnificent natural landscape--a picturesque mix of rugged coastline, steep cliffs, forested hillsides, and verdant agricultural valleys. The cities, towns, and villages are as diverse as the geography. Interspersed throughout the landscape are thousands of acres of undeveloped parklands, forests, and open space.

Day Hikes Around Sonoma County is a collection of 125 of the county's best day hikes, providing access to both well-known and out-of-the-way greenspace. Hikes are found along the Pacific Ocean, across the coastal ridges, into wide valleys, and through thick forests. A third of the hikes are located along the coastline, accessed by Highway 1, which connects the coastal towns as it snakes along the oceanfront cliffs and bluffs. Many coastal access points that are not easily recognized from Highway 1 are clearly described. The remaining hikes explore the inland mountains, hillsides, and valleys through numerous state parks, regional parks, and undeveloped land. Highlights include fog-shrouded redwood forests, creekside canyons, wildlife sanctuaries, lakes, tidal bays, wave-pounded coastline, and sweeping panoramic views. A wide range of hikes accommodates amateur to avid hikers, from beachfront strolls to canyon treks. Straight-forward directions and clear maps accompany all hikes. A thorough index includes cities, trails, and points of interest.