One Sonoma County Hike for Each Month of 2024

Lace up your boots — here are 12 hiking destinations to explore this year, each perfect for the month listed.

This article was originally published in the January/February 2022 issue of Sonoma Magazine. It was updated on Jan. 17, 2024. 

Lace up your boots—here are our standout picks for each month of 2024. Click through the above gallery to take in some of the scenery.

January — Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods is a great place to relax and recharge after the bustle of the holiday season. Here, magnificent, 1,200-year-old Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as coastal redwoods, tower in a way that makes humans feel very small and very serene. 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville. 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville.

February — Bald Mountain

A steep, exposed trail leads to the summit of 2,729-foot Bald Mountain in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. From there, forested ridgelines roll in every direction, Mount Diablo and San Francisco rise in the distance, and bright-yellow mustard glows between vineyard rows far below. 2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood.

March — Gualala Point

There’s no bad time to walk the Bluff Top Trail from Gualala Point Regional Park, whether through fog or heat (such as it is) or ocean breeze. But best may be on a clear March day, with the northward grey whale migration nearing its peak and mother-calf pairs hugging close to shore. 42401 Highway 1, Gualala.

April — Cloverdale River Park

Seven regional parks offer public access along the Russian River’s 64-mile course through Sonoma, this one being the farthest north. In April, as heady spring flows rush past, watch for wildlife among restored riparian habitat from the paved 1.1-mile trail. 31820 McCray Road, Cloverdale.

May — Red Hill

Southeast of Goat Rock and the Russian River mouth, on Pomo land and the site of a former ranch, lies 1,062foot Red Hill. On the hike up from Shell Beach, watch for sea pink, a native coastal wildflower that produces ball-shaped clusters of bright-pink blooms on long stalks every May and June. Highway 1 and Shell Beach Road, Jenner.

June — SDC’s Orchard

By the time the former Sonoma Development Center orchard was added to Jack London State Historic Park in 2001, it was nearly a century old. Today the revitalized plot still produces apples, pears, apricots, and plums. Walk the trails of the 40-acre orchard to marvel at this year’s budding crop. 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen.

The sun shines through the canopy at the Grove of Old Trees, an old-growth redwood grove with walking trails, near Occidental. (Alvin Jornada/The Press Democrat)
The sun shines through the canopy at the Grove of Old Trees in Occidental. (Alvin Jornada/The Press Democrat)
An inviting trailside bench allows visitors to take a rest in the Grove of Old Trees, an old-growth redwood grove near Occidental. (Alvin Jornada/The Press Democrat)
An inviting trailside bench allows visitors to take a rest in the Grove of Old Trees. (Alvin Jornada/The Press Democrat)

July — The Grove of Old Trees

Easygoing trails weave through and around this small, secluded preserve, which includes 1,000-yearold coast redwoods saved from the logger’s saw in the 1990s. The grove’s restorative properties are enhanced on a hot summer’s day by the shade and stillness of these ancient beings. 17599 Fitzpatrick Lane, Occidental.

August — Santa Rosa Creek Trail

Urban and rural, pavement and gravel, creeks and ponds: this cherished (and mostly shaded) Santa Rosa greenbelt offers a bit of everything. That can also include river otters, hawks, and a rare opportunity to stroll just feet away from historic vineyards, now on the verge of harvest. 782 Willowside Road, Santa Rosa.

September — Jenner Headlands

Hiking to the 2,204-foot summit of Pole Mountain, the highest point on the Sonoma Coast, offering unobstructed views in every direction, is a true peak experience — but it’s also a challenging, 15-mile affair. Luckily, on a shining latesummer day, the bright-blue sea dazzles from the first step. 12001 Highway 1, Jenner.

October Taylor Mountain

Don’t miss fall colors on this beloved peak, where the palette is even richer from the top. Hike the serpentine trail to the summit amid vivid big-leaf maple, bay laurel, and arroyo willow, then peer down the southwestern flank onto golden vineyards. 3820 Petaluma Hill Road, Santa Rosa.

November — Crane Creek

Those glossy, caramel-colored, nut-like things lying everywhere along the trail from the parking lot to the creek are one of the marvels of early winter: California buckeyes, free of their velvety shell after dropping from their namesake tree. 5000 Pressley Road, Rohnert Park.

December — Tolay Lake Regional Park

As rains arrive, the lake starts to fill, and resident and migratory raptors become more active. From the ridgetops or the more intimate, lake-level Causeway Trail, look for white-chested ferruginous hawks soaring, agile American kestrels hunting, and broad-winged northern harriers floating low over the grass. 5869 Cannon Lane, Petaluma.