sononoma sugarloaf state park
Sugarloaf Ridge SP

In Sonoma Valley, this is one of our favorite places to hike with kids, and the best time to come is spring or fall. In spring, kids can romp in fields of grass, creeks are flowing, in the meadows find orange California poppies, yellow buttercups, fairy lanternwildflowers. At any season, you can flop down in the shade of the oak trees and towering coast redwoods. Bring a picnic!



Visitor Center - Stop into the Visitor Center for a map and list of hikes (family hikes are for younger kids, longer hikes best for older kids). Also check out the dioramas of Sugarloaf Ridge to learn about habitats, plants and animals of the area (stuffed bobcat "Mr. Bigglesworth" is fun); at touch table "petting zoo," kids can touch bones and fur.
Tip: Need a cold drink after a hike, find them here.
Meadow Trail - On the Meadow Trail are picnic tables in the shade, fields of wildflowers in spring. Trail is wide and level, good for little ones, okay for strollers.
Hillside Trail - Hillside Trail is a bit longer, but it's also an easy trail, not too much up hill. Along the way, miniature "kid size" streams for play.
Waterfall - Canyon Trail - In the spring months, take a stroll to see a seasonal waterfall, rushing over the rocks in a series of cascades. (Summer and fall, waterfall may turn into a trickle).
Vista Loop Trail - In spring this one of best trails for older kids. Hike up along Sonoma Creek in the shade, then trail goes along the ride with panoramic views, and lovely wildflowers - purple lupine, poppies, buttercups. 4.1 miles round trip.
Bald Mountain Trail - Older kids and teens will enjoy climbing to the top of Bald Mountain (5.6 miles ). On a clear day are panoramic views - on a recent trip in spring, we could see the San Francisco skyline.
Robert Ferguson Observatory - A small observatory in the park is open at night to the public, and includes an astronomy presentation and viewing stars through telescopes in the observatory. Click here for the schedule.
Tip: Poison oak does grow along the trails, low to the ground, so pay attention if you're hiking in shorts.