A Change of Scenery: Walking Trails in Sonoma County

When planning a trip to Wine Country, you might want to spend all day every day sampling the many spectacular varieties of reds and whites that Sonoma County has to offer. But if you decide you want to spend an afternoon doing something different, you might be wondering what else there is to do in the region. Sonoma County has beautiful hiking and walking trails that provide a relaxing change from the tasting rooms and restaurants.

Whether you want to bring a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine from your favorite vineyard or to get a little bit of exercise in a beautiful place, Sonoma County has many trails of varying lengths and difficulties to enjoy the outdoors.

You may have heard of the famous Muir Woods in Marin County, which is a beautiful place to stop at on your drive north from San Francisco. However, we delight in sharing with our guests that we have a smaller, quieter, and more tranquil version of Muir Woods here in Sonoma County–right in the middle of your wine tasting locations! Armstrong Redwoods is the perfect spot for any visitor looking for some relaxation in the midst of Wine Country.

If you’re dreaming of scenic Redwood groves and flat trails, we recommend the Armstrong Redwoods in the Russian River Valley. The park is about a 30 minute drive from The Honor Mansion. The self-guided Pioneer Nature Trail is an easy stroll through magnificent, massive Redwoods, and is about a mile and a half long. When you arrive at the visitor center and main parking lot, many people park here and walk into the park for free. You can also enter the visitor center to get a map of the trails, or ask the innkeeper here at The Honor Mansion for an information pamphlet and map.

Armstrong Redwoods http://www.redwoodhikes.com/Armstrong/Armstrong1.jpg

A highlight of the park is certainly the Colonel Armstrong Tree, which is the oldest in the park and is estimated to be 1,400 years old. The namesake of the park and tree come from a lumberman who preserved this section of the park in the 1870s–just before The Honor Mansion was built in 1883. The rich history of Sonoma County winds through this park’s trails, and the quietude of the Armstrong Redwoods echoes a calmness and tranquility to energize you for the rest of your trip in Wine Country.

For more challenging hikes, you may choose to follow the other trails on the map below. Pool Ridge Trail and East Ridge Trail are both long, strenuous hikes that have steep inclines and rewarding views of the valley. Pool Ridge Trail is a 2.3 mile loop with a 500 foot steady climb, and East Ridge Trail is a 3.3 mile loop that combines the Pioneer Nature Trail and the Pool Ridge Trail, which certainly makes this route a hike.

Map of the trails http://www.redwoodhikes.com/Armstrong/Armstrong.html

If you are looking for different scenery than Redwoods, or you plan to take multiple hikes during your visit to this beautiful region, Spring Lake Park is also located in the Russian River Valley, about a 30 minute drive from The Honor Mansion.

http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/spring-lake-park-santa-rosa#bRIcNPzwjOs2SSxyin3-2g

Spring Lake Regional Park is another lovely spot with a flat trail around a gorgeous lake. The Spring Lake Loop is 2.3 miles and is mostly flat, winding around the waterfront and passing by many blooming flowers.

http://sonomaseawolves.com/custompages/wcross/2012/spring_lake.pdf

If you are looking for a more strenuous trail, the map also shows the rest of the nearly 10 miles of trail that Spring Lake Park has to offer. If a long, difficult hike is what you’re looking for, you can follow the Bay Area Ridge Trail east to the connecting Annadel State park and continue your hike onward and upward!

A third wonderful option for taking in the great outdoors is the Healdsburg Ridge, which has hikes 2-3 miles in length and provides gorgeous views of Fitch Mountain, Mayacama Mountains, and the Russian River.

http://www.anncarranzacreations.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/From-Healdsburg-Ridge_1_1.jpg

Getting to the Healdsburg Ridge from The Honor Mansion will take less about 5 minutes by car, so this can easily be fit into a busy day’s plan. You may overlook the same sights you’ll see while out and about wine tasting, but gain a different perspective on the beauty of the region.

http://www.manzanitawebhost.com/sonomahikingtrails/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/healdsburg-ridge-park-map-300×226.png

There are picnic grounds in all three of these parks, so don’t forget to ask the innkeeper to borrow a picnic basket that includes plates, serving dishes, cups, and champagne glasses! All you’ll need to do is stop by a local market and pick up some tasty options for your perfect picnic in the park.

As always, our innkeepers here at The Honor Mansion would be happy to provide any additional information, answer any questions we can, and help you plan the perfect daily activities for your trip to Sonoma County! We look forward to hosting you soon.

The Honor Mansion, A Wine Country Resort
891 Grove St.
Healdsburg, CA, 95448
(707) 433-4277
[email protected]

For more information, you may enjoy visiting:
http://www.redwoodhikes.com/Armstrong/Armstrong.html
http://parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/Get_Outdoors/Parks/Spring_Lake_Regional_Park.aspx
http://www.sonomaopenspace.org/Content/?p=10045/preview.html