The Sonoma Mountain Trail is an out-and-back trail that leads to the Park summit. This is primarily a fire road and is steep in some sections. The trail meanders among redwoods, ferns, oaks, madrone and wildflowers. Distant overlook views are found about 1.5 miles from the Beauty Ranch parking lot at May’s Clearing, where on most days you can see 60 miles to Mount Diablo. To enjoy a storybook hike up the mountain, take Lower Lake Trail and continue on Upper Lake trail on the way up. You will pass through fairy rings of redwoods and hear Graham Creek, which Jack London immortalized as Wildwater Creek in his novel The Valley of the Moon.
The Sonoma Ridge Trail and Hayfields Trail also connect to Sonoma Mountain Trail and offer distant and different views than seen at the summit. Refer to the map to plan your trek. There are ancillary trails leading to the Historic Orchard and the Ancient Redwood.
Distance, Category and Difficulty
- This 8 mile+ trek is rated as difficult. Expect to rise from 600 feet to 2400 feet at the summit.
- Exposure: Mostly shady.
- Trail traffic: This steep and mostly shady trek is great for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The trail is usually accessible year-round. Dogs are not allowed on any back-country trails in the Park.
- Trail surfaces: The trail is a fire road for a good portion with ancillary trails leading off that are single track.
- Hiking time: 5 hours.