Sonoma County on Horseback
Whatever your dream about horseback riding might be, you'll probably find it in Sonoma County:
- Cantering swiftly on a beautiful beach at sunset, hair streaming behind you, waves crashing alongside? Yep.
- Comfortably astride a gentle horse that's picking its way through a thick forest, the only sound that of a persistent woodpecker seeking dinner? Sure.
- Trotting smoothly alongside a fast-moving early-spring stream fed by a 25-foot waterfall high above? You bet.
- Riding alongside neat rows of lush grapevines. Of course.
For the most part, horseback riding can be done all year long in Sonoma County, though it can get a bit muddy in winter. Even so, smack in the middle of January or February plenty of sunshine is bound to come along and dry up the trails.
Here's an alphabetically-arranged list of Sonoma County companies that provide trail rides:
Chanslor Stables, a working western horse ranch, offers guided horseback trail rides with breathtaking ocean views. Follow miles of trails that take you to lofty mountaintops, grassy meadows, coastal dunes, or along the beach. Private rides are available, including a private picnic ride. Information: 707-589-5040
Horse 'n Around Trail Rides offers a 60-minute sand dunes ride that provides panoramic views of the Bodega Bay harbor and Sonoma Coastline; a 90 minute beach ride that includes the dunes and harbor views, plus riding along a long stretch of beach; and trail rides on the Hagemann Ranch Trout Farm, an incredible family-owned ranch with gorgeous views of the rolling coastal hills. Information: 707-875-3333
Explore a beautiful winery by riding through the vines on seasoned, gentle horses with the help of an experienced, friendly guide from Sonoma Valley Trail Rides. As an option, after your ride you can enjoy a world-class wine tasting and/or picnic designed especially for you. Rides are available at winery venues or at an art and nature preserve, with horses suitable for riders of all levels of riding experience. Riders must be 12 years or older; weight limit 225 pounds. Thanks to the valley's temperate climate, trail rides are offered year round. Information: 707-343-5511
Triple Creek Horse Outfit, located in Sonoma Valley's Kenwood, offers guided wine-country rides at Jack London State Historic Park (where the celebrated author lived and maintained his Beauty Ranch) along 20+ miles of trails. This state park boasts some of the finest riding trails in the world, past acres of vineyards producing grapes for premium wines, through open oak woodlands and through shady groves of tall redwoods. Information: 707-887-8700
Enjoy vistas of lush green vineyards, the Russian River, and picturesque rolling hills horseback riding on more than 600 acres in beautiful Alexander Valley. Trails are available for every level of rider, either English or Western. Bring a lunch and enjoy a picnic at the ranch after your ride. Box lunches are available at the nearby Jimtown store (with advance reservations). Information: 707-433-3729
On Your Own
If you have your own horse, these state and county parks offer equestrian trails:
Sonoma County Parks
- Foothill Regional Park
- Shiloh Ranch Regional Park
- Spring Lake Regional Park
- Hood Mountain Regional Park
- West County Regional Trail
- Crane Creek Regional Park
- Helen Putnam Regional Park
- Riverfront Regional Park
California State Parks
- Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
- Austin Creek State Recreation Area
- Jack London State Historic Park
- Salt Point State Park
- Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
- Trione-Annadel State Park
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.