Basics: This hike is to the top of the 2729-ft Bald Mountain in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. From the top you’ll have views of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys along with the San Francisco Bay Area and many of the nearby peaks. This hike is approximately 6 miles roundtrip. The parking fee is $8. Potential hazards include: rattlesnakes, sun exposure.
Directions to Trailhead: From the Sacramento area, take westbout 80 to westbound Highway 12. Stay on 12 through the town of Sonoma (google maps may help you navigate this part). Continue following 12 until somewhere around Kenwood. Start looking out for signs to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Adobe Canyon Road. Make a right on Adobe Canyon Road and follow it up to the park kiosk. Park in the large parking lot on the left, past the kiosk.
Trail Description: We began our Bald Mountain hike at the parking lot just past the kiosk in Sugarloaf Ridge SP. We paid our $8 parking fee (might as well support the parks while they are still open) and laced up our hiking boots. The trailhead is next to the pit toilet at the edge of the parking lot. We began walking and quickly came to a fork in the trail. Since we had left all of our hiking books in the car, we just guessed and took the right fork.
The trail headed up through oak forest and before long, we came to a narrow paved road. This is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. We didn’t research this trip a whole lot, so it was a little surprising to see the paved road.
We continued following the trail (road) up up up. It winds through chaparral and shady forested sections. Eventually we arrived to a fork just below the summit of Bald Mountain. An unpaved road split off to the right and wound up to the top of the peak.
At the top there is a bench plus signs showing the names of all the nearby peaks (quite useful). There was a bit of fog when we were up there, so we couldn’t see the Golden Gate or Angel Island, but we were able to see Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, Mt. St. Helena and the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. It wasn’t too hot, so we were able to sit at the top and eat lunch. In the summer, you’d probably want to get out of the sun and find a shadier place to eat your lunch.
We headed down the same way we came, but this trip would be great as a loop. To make it a loop – take the Meadow Trail (at the sign on the left) back down to the parking lot.
One thought on “Bald Mountain”
We took the Gray Pine Trail to get back down to the parking lot. We did not encounter any other hikers on that part of the trail. After initially following a ridge and winding through a light gray pine forest the trail then became partially rather steep. We saw multiple mountain lion tracks. Down in the meadow we had to wade through Sonoma Creek twice to follow the trail. It was a much wetter spring (2011) than this year (2014). The view up on top was spectacular.