7 Sonoma County Hikes Worth the 360 Degree View
In the great Sonoma County outdoors there are leisurely hikes, and then there are hikes that are worth the 360-degree view. Some are harder than others, but most reveal vista views that are only imaginable for those willing to hike to the top. Check out these seven great Sonoma County hikes that are worth every step, with some being a leisurely stroll, and others worth the incline. Don't forget to click around in each photo below to see the full 360-degree view!
It's a hike to the top, but on a clear day, the views from the Bald Mountain summit are magnificent. Often you can see San Francisco Bay and Mount Diablo to the south, Mount Tamalpais to the southwest, the coastal range and the Pacific to the west, Mount Saint Helena to the north, and the Sierra to the east.
This park's Bluff Trail meanders along the cliff edge, providing wonderful coastal views; be sure to stop at Whale Watch Point to check for passing gray whales. It’s also pleasant walking up-river to the freshwater marsh (or beyond to the redwood grove populated by bristling sword ferns and rhododendrons).
For the views here, you need to tilt your head back and look up ... and up, and up. This 805-acre park is both serene and awe inspiring. Its soaring redwood trees include the 1400-year-old Colonel Armstrong and the 310-foot-tall Parson Jones.
Gunsight Rock at Hood Mountain Regional Park
On a clear day, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from Gunsight Rock and the Valley View Trail. It's a climb, but it's well worth the view. The park offers 1,750 acres of wilderness; its trails are intended for experienced hikers in good condition.
About four miles long and one mile wide, this small peninsula juts out into the ocean (thereby sheltering Bodega Bay). It's one of the best spots in the county for whale watching, bird watching, and just enjoying the views. The ocean-side hiking trails allow access to small, sandy coves and spectacularly scenic bluff-top vistas. Bodega Head is part of the 17-mile-long Sonoma Coast State Park.
With nearly 6,000 acres and 20 miles of trails that run through meadows and woodlands and across rolling hills, this is a recreational dream. Reached by driving through Armstrong Redwoods, Austin Creek is a beautiful place, with streams running throughout the year, oak trees crowning hilltops, and dazzling views that cause you to stop in your tracks.
About four miles north of Fort Ross, this beautiful 6,000-acre property includes one of California's first underwater parks, dramatic up-close views of crashing surf, a pygmy forest, and a lively visitor's center. The park has more than 20 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, and there’s some fascinating Tafoni sandstone at Salt Point — sandstone riddled with honeycomb-type erosion that produces ribs, ridges, holes, and other patterns.