Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Sonoma

Turn up Adobe Cyn. Road, just around the highway from Chateau St. Jean and Landmark, and head 15 minutes to the hills.  Just a few miles away from the winetasting in the Valley of the Moon, Sugarloaf Park is a piece of Sonoma-grown paradise.

There are redwood forests, a creek, and a 25-foot waterfall very close to the parking area on Canyon Trail.  There’s also the ¾ mile Creekside Nature Trail from the picnic area.  But, the real bonanza is Bald Mountain.

It’s a seven-mile roundtrip up Bald Mtn., and the views at the top are beyond spectacular.   In front of you is a 360 degree vista of the Bay Area, including the Golden Gate Bridge.  It gets hot climbing that hill—no shade—so wear a hat and take plenty of water.

Sugarloaf is also home to the Robert Ferguson Observatory.  You can view during the night or the day, and it’s the largest observatory open to the public on the West Coast.  Just a short walk from the main parking lot, you can go stargazing through 8, 14, and 24-inch telescopes.  Regular astronomy classes are held during the year.  Check out the website:  www.rfo.org for times and special events.

To your left, look carefully.  You’ll see the remnants of an Indian village.  With its creek, wide hills and some forests for hunting, this area was a perfect spot to live.  It still is.

Writer: Meredith Blevins, featured travel writer for the Authentic Wine Country.  Join her atwww.blevinswordworx.com for wine-country mysteries, classes, and the untamed west.

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