Sonoma is not just for fancy wine-tasting, it is also a place to relax your senses and enjoy the calming beauty of nature. If you happen to go there, don’t miss the chance to go hiking in these nature spots:
Jack London State Park
Being in the city could be a bit overwhelming at times and a walk in the park is a great stress-reliever. Jack London State Park is a quiet and peaceful place, with tall redwoods lining the trails offering shade that helps envelope hikers with cool, soothing breeze.
If you’re feeling more like a cowboy, or would rather not walk long miles, you can also ride a horse. Horse back rides are guided, and are by reservation only. I’m not too sure about where the trail leads to for riders as we were on foot, but the park is enchanting overall.
Also, even if you’re no Picasso, you could still be artistic and immortalize Fern Lake through your art. Okay, this might be a bit extreme but look at this beauty. I believe we had been walking for more that two hours so when we got here, it made me high. We circled the lake on foot, and every step was worth it.
Direction: Jack London Historic State Park is located at 2400 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, CA 95442. Learn more at their website: http://www.jacklondonpark.com/.
We did a slow hike in the 300-acre Bartholomew Park for this year’s Fourth of July. The Park is actually part of a winery, and is big enough for you to enjoy a 3-mile, half-day hike. The park is also home to Benicia’s Lake.
The trails are beautifully lined with trees, and over at the peak, you can see Mount Tamalpais. However, my favorite part of the Park is the lake because of the tadpoles. It maybe shallow but it’s the first time I have seen such giant tadpoles.
We went on a rainy weekend in the middle of January 2016. The Slough is a 57 acre of natural seasonal freshwater marsh that’s being restored for the wildlife of the San Pablo Bay Region.
Note: The area has reclaimed water so it’s unsafe to drink, swim, and go fishing. For safety reasons, hikers must stay on the trails. Dogs and vehicles are not allowed there too.
Hudeman Slough is a haven for migratory and resident waterfowls, and in our two-hour, 3-mile walk, my super birder husband saw 48 species of birds. I would say it is a lot of birds considering that it was raining slightly heavier than usual when we were there.
Just to show how many, here’s Larry’s Bird List for our Hudeman Slough trip: Canada Goose | American Wigeon | Mallard | Northern Shoveler | Northern Pintail | Green-winged Teal | Bufflehead | Ruddy Duck | Pied-billed Grebe | Great Blue Heron | Great Egret | Snowy Egret | Black-crowned Night-Heron | White-tailed Kite | Northern Harrier | Red-tailed Hawk | American Coot | Black-necked Stilt | American Avocet |Killdeer | Greater Yellowlegs | Dunlin | Least Sandpiper | Long-billed Dowitcher | Wilson’s Snipe | Bonaparte’s Gull | California Gull | Forster’s Tern | Mourning Dove | Anna’s Hummingbird | American Kestrel | Black Phoebe | Say’s Phoebe | Loggerhead Shrike | American Crow | Common Raven | Tree Swallow | Marsh Wren | American Robin | European Starling | American Pipit | Common Yellowthroat | Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) | Savannah Sparrow | Song Sparrow | Red-winged Blackbird | Western Meadowlark | House Finch
My favorite among these birds is the very common Red-winged Blackbird. There were so many of them in the area that it almost feels like being at a Star Wars bird sanctuary (because I feel that their song fits the movie franchise perfectly). I love a section there that’s almost like a lake, and looking at the Bonaparte’s Gulls gliding over it felt like watching a ballet show, or watching an Olympic ice skating competition.
Direction: To get to Hudeman Slough, drive east on Highway 12 from Sonoma to Ramal Road
What’s your favorite nature stop in Sonoma? Share your comments below!
Latest posts by Iva Maurin (see all)
- Nature Hiking Spots in Sonoma - July 24, 2017
- Weekend Hike Adventure at Pinnacles National Park in California - April 16, 2017
- Coastal Adventure in Half Moon Bay - January 17, 2017