South Lake Trail via Old Skaggs Road

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Lake Sonoma Recreation Area

South Lake Trail via Old Skaggs Road is a 5.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Geyserville, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length5.5 miElevation gain980 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyBackpackingCampingFishingHikingMountain bikingBird watchingrunningForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowers
Description
Waypoints (0)

Great place to backpack right on the water. Moderate hike good for older kids. Note stream crossing about 3/4 miles in. Tables and fire rings at campsites. Bass fishing is productive off the banks. Best to go in fall and early spring to avoid the heat and summer boat-in overnighters.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (19)
Photos (25)
Recordings (22)
Completed (39)
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Brigid Wasson
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HikingBlowdown

This was my first time out after the 2020 fires. tThe devastation from the fire is plain to see on this trail. I made it all the way to the Buck Pasture Campground which was pretty tiring on this hot day. There are many downed trees on the trail so I don't recommend hiking here until the park service has had a chance to clean it up.

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Robert Freeman
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BackpackingGreat!

Backpacked to Old Sawmill campground which is better for hike-in camping as fewer boats can access during the summer. The downside is that the lake is very shallow/muddy. We accidentally walked down the riverbed instead of following the trail in and ended up hiking up to the trail near Old Sawmill but took the wrong trail all the way to Buck Pasture. The Old Sawmill trail is not marked, but there is a sign at the 3-way junction where you should turn north towards the lake along the unmarked trail. When you get to the riverbed, the trail continues directly across it (about 10 yards downstream) and is unmarked. The Old Sawmill campground is a very nice location but has limited shade. The sites are together in one area but OS1 campsite is the hardest to find (across a spring to the south east near the toilets). The OS1 campsite has an old broken horse corral, a hitching post (great for a hammock), and an old cracked spring-fed well that still holds a very small amount of fresh water (if you have a filter). If you do use the well, be careful not to disturb the water or the silt will mix with the fresh water. You'll need to dump the top vegetation from your pan prior to filtering it. The lake is an option for water as well but is much dirtier and harder to access. The pit toilets were in fairly bad condition with no toilet paper and one of the trashcans had been dumped all across OS2 campsite, so it probably isn't maintained very often. There are posts with hanging hooks at each campsite for your food bag or lantern along with a picnic table, fire-pit with grill, and a trashcan. We used our sleeping pads as water floats to avoid standing in the mud and enjoyed the lake all day. The lake water level was 430 ft MSL (http://sonoma.uslakes.info/Level.asp) and most boats had trouble keeping their motors out of the mud on the shore next to this campsite. There is a rock to jump off of and possibly a rope swing but these are only usable in the spring / early summer when the lake is higher. There are lots of blackberry bushes, lots of wasps, and a few mosquitos to deal with.

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Sara Rathbun
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Hiking

Good trail for an overnight with older kids. Lots of poison oak and blackberries, so long pants are best. If you are staying overnight, make reservations and beware of wasps when you are eating.

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Brandi W
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Hiking

We went on a hot day in the middle of June and in the early afternoon- probably not the best time. Go earlier in the day and you’ll be fine. It was bearable due to the shade from the trees every so often. There was no one on the trail, the camp sites were empty and not too many boats on the lake so we had the little beach to ourselves. I will say that somewhere between halfway and 3/4 of the way up to the lake, I debated turning around but saw the lake off to the left and that was motivation enough to keep going. The stream you have to cross early on was low this time of year but got swarmed by mosquitos in that area. There was some sort of bone and lots of animal scat so just be cautious. It is a moderate hike but the weather can make it harsh & watch out for rattlesnakes.

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Haley Manwarring
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Hiking

We hiked this trail late April and the weather was perfect. The forest floor was still lush and green and the wildflowers were bountiful. There is a small river crossing about 30 minutes into the hike so we took our shoes and socks off and waded for awhile. On the way back the cool water and rocks felt good on our sore feet. At the end of the trail you will run into Sonoma Lake and Buck Pasture, where there is 3 camp sites set up nicely with outdoor restrooms and picnic tables. Perfect for hike-in camping. I love this trail. So beautiful and the perfect amount of elevation gain for my skill level.

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Olivia Fabrizio
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Backpacking

I was stunned to have the whole place to myself during a week were every hike-in site along the point Reyes seashore was booked up. Here in the pristine live oaks nothing but empty sites as far as the eye can see. I will mention that because of the spring rains the first creek crossing was running a bit high (knee level, I’m 5’5”)

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Scott Feuer
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Backpacking
First to Review

Great place to backpack right on the water. Moderate hike with older kids. Note stream crossing about 3/4 miles in. Tables and fire rings at campsites. Bass fishing is productive off the banks. Best to go in fall and early spring to avoid the heat and summer boat-in overnighters.

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Michael Pallatroni
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Hiking
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Sara Rathbun
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Hiking
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Ali Mansour
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Hiking
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Kurt P
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Hiking
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Emily Sims
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Hiking
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Scott Feuer
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Backpacking
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Scott Feuer
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Backpacking
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Kurt P
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Hiking
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Rebecca Reuben
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Hiking
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Jim Heinz
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Hiking
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Lu Ann Adler
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Chris Cerda
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Mountain biking
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