This is fun hike for everyone. Speed demons will find they can run the whole way. Kids will enjoy climbing the rocks at the overlook (parents may not!). The redwood forest is magical. The meadows have beautiful views and often many wildflowers. The madrone trees show off their red bark. The oak forests are peaceful. Try it, you'll like it!
The trail can be hot and exposed on warm summer days. It is often an excellent winter hike and has fewer mud problems than other trails near here.
From the small parking lot (you may have to go further up the road and walk back to the trail), you'll most likely be cold and damp as you descend to Sonoma Creek in a deep redwood forest. Cross a lovely bridge and pass through more redwoods until you climb up out of the creek floor.
This ares is near the edge of the redwood life zone, so they thrive in the cool wet valley, but as soon as you ascend you'll be in more familiar CA scrubland. It can suddenly feel quite hot and exposed over the next section of trail.
Descend slightly to cross a road and then begin the non-stop climb. Along the way, you'll pass through beautiful open meadows, often filled with wildflowers, oak forests, and madrone groves. We've seen rattlesnakes, rabbits, and deer of course.
Near the top, take the left fork to the Gunsight Rock Overlook
. It has a terrific view over Sonoma valley, and is a much better destination than the summit of Hood Mountain, which is mostly tree covered.
Enjoy a rest and maybe a picnic, then return the way you came.
Redwoods, CA oaks, madrone, wildflowers. Rabbits, snakes, and deer. Lots to discover!