Explore Sonoma hiking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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This is a beautiful hike with thigh burning climbs that bring you to hands-down, the best panoramic views in the Bay Area. Bring water because there is limited shade and layers because the wind can be gusty at the top.

mountain biking
4 days ago

This is easily one of the best trails in the area. Killer views the whole way, and at the top an absolutely amazing lookout spot perfect for sitting on a rock and having some lunch. Very fun for hiking and mountain biking. On the way down you can go extremely fast on your bike without having to worry about it being too technical.

Great trail with beautiful views of the cities!

Great for trail running

Definitely one of the most beautiful trails I’ve been to. Will come back for sure!

Absolutely wonderful trail! It comes to a gate that you must pass, then you get to experience some friendly cows if you are lucky. There are a couple points that will definitely get your heart pumping, so be prepared for a decent hike but its well with the trip and perfect for running!

Grueling but sooooo worth it. One of the most gorgeous hikes the bay has to offer!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a very, very, bad idea.

I thought it was going well for the first mile or so, pretty boring, but still with the hope that it would improve as it went on. Well holy shit was I wrong; almost immediately into the first mile and a half I remember the advice that a reviewer gave about the ticks, only to look down at my shirt to my complete and utter shock, not one, not two, but four of the vampiric little creatures climbing up my shirt. I walked a couple hundred more feet thinking that I had just gone through a bad patch, boy was I wrong.

Now, I live nearly two hours away and lordy me can I tell you that having the idea of these little blood sucking creatures latched onto me did not make it any shorter.At this point I'm just about to call this trail a bad omen, considering that my car was drenched in fire retardent on the way down the switchbacks and that I nearly had several head on's through the mountainous roads. I'm scared of what disastrous things this innocent looking trail can bring onto others.

I would only recommend this trail if you think that nearly dying of blood loss on the way home is enjoyable.

edit: I guess one of the upsides to the County Fire is that all of the damned ticks in the area have burned. Too bad the trail seems to have been involved in the burn though, I would have liked to venture during the Spring season when the ticks have calmed themselves.

Hiked from Big Rock trailhead to just past the transmission towers, then back. Great views, good workout, beautiful views. Total hike: 7.2 miles, 1,325 ft of elevation, 2 hr 41 min.

It was a great hike! Like the previous comment said- go clockwise so you’ll hit the hardest part first. The views and breeze were amazing!

Loved this loop. Steady elevation gain w/no super steep areas, lovely shade through stands of oaks and redwoods. Easy parking along the side of the road where pavement turns to dirt. A bit of a hidden gem.

What a surprise! Equal to the best trails in Marin and Sonoma counties. Misty day, but a great showcase for the Redwoods and ferns that dominated the trail. Will be hiking the trail again on a hot, sunny day just to enjoy the contrast.

hiking
1 month ago

It was SO DIFFICULT. My boyfriend and I hiked this with some friends who have hiked it once before. I was way too ambitious with this hike lol, considering I’ve never been in a major hiking trip before. I think it took us a total of 10 hours (plus the breaks and the 30 mins we spent at the top). Our friends came home with a lot of ticks but my boyfriend and I were tick-free. I think the reason for that is because we wore leggings rather than loose fitting pants. Also, there were a lot of pointy plants that grew towards the path and you run into a lot of them. I have scratches on my legs but my arms were saved since we wore long sleeves. Luckily, it wasn’t very hot because there was a lot of clouds. It even sprinkled at the top. However, we did run out of water, so bring a lot.

I’m happy to have completed the hike but it was pretty difficult, I don’t think I’d do it again.

Good luck to the rest of you, happy hiking!

Definitely difficult but absolutely beautiful and worth the effort. Completed the 7.5 miles with our dog on leash.

Trails maintained well. Great views and numerous waterfalls from the get-go. Trail stats says 7.7 miles but my Garmin Fenix 5x says we did 10 miles.

Come early if you want to find parking close to the trailhead as it gets crowded later in the day.

hiking
2 months ago

we camped at westside campground so it gets you into all the county parks make sure you go during the week you have the beach to yourselves sand dollars everywhere nice quite walk and they allow dogs on leash so nice to walk a beach where our dog does not try to get attacked by other dogs

loved it! beautiful and shady. it was a gradual climb to the top so not too bad. the trail at times gets pretty small. but a beautiful place!

hiking
2 months ago

Took the dogs around the lower loop, “lower” being relative at 1200 ft... lol. Great gradual hike with well maintained switchbacks. The Redwoods coming down over the mountain into the Novato valley are a great treat to eventually see on your way to the top. Looking forward to doing the upper loop next time!

I visited the first week of May (2018). The trail was completely overgrown and (I didn’t realize until it was too late) totally infested with ticks. I have picked probably more than 50 off of my dog, and am still finding more. I had to puck most of them off in the middle of the street because even the grass by the side of the road was crawling with them. He is up to date on his tick meds, but these monsters are not dying once they bite him. I’ve also found half a dozen on myself. I’m afraid to go in my car because I know I must have missed some. Visiting this trail was a very, very bad idea.

This was so moderately perfect!!!!! Gorgeous! Everything is in bloom. Wonderful hike

An all day hike. The fall and spring are the best times for this trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Rocky trail, very pretty

- Parking: very easy and plentiful, even arriving late on a sunny Saturday morning; park near the trail start
- Scenery: amazing, and quite varied! Cataract Trail is almost completely wooded and you'll see small waterfalls. Near the middle of the hike, you'll enter a beautiful expanse of green hills and flowers; it looked a little like the Wizard of Oz.
- Wildlife: we saw deer and a sleeping owl during the trail :) No birds.
- Bathrooms: there was 1 portable potty at the parking lot
- Shoes: the inclines were mostly stairs, so regular exercise shoes worked fine for me. The declines / inclines were not gravely / sandy.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail with great views! The trail was well marked, we followed the map in the post and had no problems using the trail markers. There is some wildlife on the trail, we saw a coyote. Enjoy!

A bit rough on the old joints but awesome hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail. Need to start very early because the views are against the sunlight when you get to the top, making the lake ordinary as supposed on the west side of the lake, the lake views are exceptional, like in heaven. Because of this, I gave 4 Star. The non-lake views are great though.

Actual hiking time 8 hrs 20 Min. But it took us 9 hrs and 15 mins to finish the whole trail because of extra time to enjoy the view, wild flower and to take short breaks for food and drink.

On one part of the trail, a lot of California Poppy and some other wild flower are blooming ( mid April).

Definitely need to download the map before you go because you would get lost, like other reviewer said, in rocky area where the trail is not obvious. Easy to get back in Trail with navigation in the app.

Trekking poles are recommended because 2-3 area is very steep, and some area is sandy slippery and you are on the edge of the slop. Most area are slow ascent and decent making the trail easier to climb.

Having seen review with ticks, I used bug spray on shoes and lower legs, and had no problem at all.

Bring at least 3 L water and add electrolytes powder. (Costco sales it). Even at low 70 degree F temperature, I drank more than 3 L. Half of the trail has no tree, no shade. Not recommended in hot day.

The trail is very quiet. We did not see any another people. Thanks to the other review, we looked for and parked at the sign of 20 mile mark. Maximum 4 cars could park there. We felt a bit uneasy and unsafe leaving our car there. But no problem with our car when we came down at Sunset time.

Varied views. Springtime brings flowing waterfalls and wildflowers.

hiking
3 months ago

The scenery is amazing and the miles are long - start early and bring sunscreen!

One of the most scenic hikes in the area. The waterfalls are amazing. We took a detour to the top of the hill across the Ridgecrest road to find some breathtaking 360 views down to Stinson beach. It was a perfect spot for lunch. It adds about 1.5 miles to the hike but is absolutely worth it.

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