Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
This trail takes you all the way from the coastline to Pole Mountain, the highest mountain on the Sonoma Coast. This demanding hike crosses grassy meadows near the coast, heads through forest and then up the steep southern slope of Pole Mountain. The views from Pole Mountain are spectacular. You can see far in every direction, from the Pacific Ocean all across California's Wine Country.
Leave the parking lot to the southeast and follow the wide trail past the picnic area. After 600 feet, the trail turns left and heads up the grassy slope. As you make your way up, you get excellent views of the coastline and the Pacific Ocean. Reach Sentinel Point at 0.75 miles, a small lookout with stunning views.
The trail then heads north and further up the hill. Reach the junction with Russian Gulch Trail
at 1.3 miles and continue straight. At about 2 miles, turn right onto the mostly level dirt road. The road bends south again and splits after 700 feet. Take the left and continue slightly uphill, enjoying the last views of the coastline. At 2.6 miles, the trail passes a large gate and then heads into the forest. Loggers Lament Trail
is to your left at 3 miles. Continue ahead until the road splits again at 3.3 miles.
Turn left here and follow the old forest road downhill. After 4 miles, Russian Gulch Trail
joins on the left. Continue to your right as the trail bends north and keeps on descending. Reach a small seasonal creek at 4.7 miles. This is the beginning of your ascent to Pole Mountain. The remaining 3.5 miles are mostly steady uphill. After 5.5 miles, you leave the forest and reach more open grassy meadows. As you continue uphill, views towards the south open up, giving you a glimpse of the coastline.
Cross another gate at 7.6 miles when another dirt road joins from the right. The trail is somewhat level for a little bit as you make your way to Pole Mountain. At 8 miles, turn left onto the steep dirt road to the very top. The last stretch is demanding, but the reward is absolutely worth it. From the top of Pole Mountain, enjoy the views in all directions.
Shared By: Tilman Giese