Best Easy Day Hikes San Franciscoand39;s North Bay  by Tracy Salcedo-Chourré

Best Easy Day Hikes: San Francisco's North Bay Guide Book

by Tracy Salcedo-Chourré (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes San Franciscoand39;s North Bay  by Tracy Salcedo-Chourré
Best Easy Day Hikes San Francisco's North Bay includes concise descriptions and detailed maps for twenty-two easy-to-follow hikes in Marin County, Sonoma County and the Napa Valley. Discover a region of diverse scenery and natural splendors -- including superlative bay views, ancient redwoods, windswept dunes, stunning Sonoma Valley vistas, and a historic mining road with vineyard views.

© 2011 Tracy Salcedo-Chourrand233;/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: San Francisco's North Bay" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 22.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 22.

I’ve done a little hiking in my day, traveling miles through some of the loveliest terrain in North America, including Yosemite, the Colorado Rockies, Alaska, and the Yukon. But here’s the truth: If I could hike only one trail, I would head out to Abbotts Lagoon. A chorus of chirping songbirds and lowing dairy cows accompanies hikers along the trail to Abbotts Lagoon, which spans fields of lush wildflower-studded scrub and ends amid windswept dunes at the edge of the turbulent Pacific.
Point Reyes Station, CA - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 3
A favorite of pet owners—a section of the park is open for off-leash dog walking—this suburban park also offers treats for the hiker, including a loop that skims the borders of vineyards and offers great views. Alston Park is a dog’s paradise. Canine companions romp the trails with their masters, relishing the rare freedom of being able to explore off-leash. Too bad most dogs keep their noses to the ground. If they bothered to look up (like their humans do), they’d find the park also boasts great views of the Napa Valley.The 157-acre parcel is composed mostly of rolling grass-land, with sparse clusters of oak offering shade.
Napa, CA - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 2.5
On a clear day, a tour around Bodega Head presents views of whale migration routes in the Pacific, the mouth of Tomales Bay with Point Reyes beyond, the golden arc of Doran Beach, and Bodega Harbor.
Bodega Bay, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.1
Stretch your legs on a steady climb to the ridge top overlooking Armstrong Woods, then stretch your neck looking up the ramrod-straight trunks of redwood trees into the quiet green canopy.
Guerneville, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 2.8
The Marin Headlands encompass superlative views of the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay. These two trails, one super easy and the other more remote and challenging, take in those views. You see them everywhere—those iconic photos of the Golden Gate Bridge with the sparkling San Francisco skyline behind. No need to purchase a postcard if you venture on either of these short trails in the Marin Headlands. You can snap the photo, but the images in your mind’s eye will be just as lasting.
San Francisco, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
A circuit around Lake Lagunitas rambles through redwood groves and serves up nice views of the wooded slopes of Mount Tamalpais—and may include glimpses of great blue herons along the shoreline and turtles on the floats near the dam. Lake Lagunitas is one of five lakes within the sprawling watershed on the flanks of Mount Tamalpais managed by the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD). About 110 miles of roads and trails are maintained within the watershed, one of Marin County’s most valuable recreational resources. Watershed lands form Marin’s backyard, and the Sleeping Lady watches over it all. The flat, easy loop around Lake Lagunitas, on a wide fire road that invites walking and talking, is very popular.
Kentfield, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 1.7
A long, contemplative hike along ranch roads and levee tops leads through the marshlands along Sonoma County’s San Pablo Bay coastline. Expect excellent birding and solitude, especially along the loop on Lower Tubbs Island itself. Depending on the season, hikers can view a variety of plant and animal life along the trail. More than 300 wildlife species either live in or pass through the tidal preserve. Birds are a huge draw: The refuge attracts seabirds and shorebirds galore, including ducks, pelicans, gulls, plovers, and sandpipers. Songbirds and raptors (including northern harriers and white-tailed kites) also nest and hunt in the marshes. Bring a guidebook.
Novato, CA - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 8.2
Two short trails—the Verna Dunshee Memorial Trail and the Plank Trail—allow hikers to circumnavigate the highest peak in Marin County and then climb to its summit, enjoying panoramic views every step of the way.
Mill Valley, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
Paved paths and scenic bridges lace through a forest of some of the oldest, tallest, and most glorious trees in California. A magnet for tourists and locals alike, Muir Woods National Monument provides the quintessential redwood experience.
Mill Valley, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
The expansive Napa River floodplain, a fertile wetland that supports healthy populations of songbirds, shorebirds, and wildflowers, is the setting for this easy paved trail.
Napa, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3
This historic mining road leads up into the hills on the east side of the Napa Valley and offers hikers a taste of wilderness and great vineyard views. While the views are civilized—of orderly vineyards, glittering retention ponds, and the rooftops of rural homes—and road noise occasionally drifts up into the hills, the Oak Hill Mine Trail also feels wild and remote. It’s a wonder the road ever got built. The winding passage took twenty years to construct, linking Calistoga (and its railroad) with a cinnabar mine that operated on and off from the 1870s to the 1960s. The miners distilled quicksilver (mercury) from the cinnabar; the quicksilver in turn was used to refine gold from California’s Mother Lode and silver from Nevada’s Comstock Lode.
Calistoga, CA - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.2
This little preserve straddles the divide between suburban Tiburon and Corte Madera and features a pair of hiking only trails with spectacular views of San Francisco and San Pablo Bays.
Corte Madera, CA - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 2
Experience space travel with your feet firmly planted on Earth on the Planet Walk. Trailside interpretive signs mark the relative distances between the planets in the solar system. A more traditional nature trail leads to the Planet Walk.
Glen Ellen, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.5
Perched on a rocky promontory as far west on the continent as you can go, the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse was a welcome beacon for ships navigating the dangerous coastline. These days it’s the beacon at the end of a short trail that, for those who dare, includes a thigh-pumping stair climb.
Point Reyes Station, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
Tucked in the rolling hills along the Sonoma-Marin county line, this loop climbs through grasslands to an oak-studded ridgeline with great views across west county ranchlands and east across Petaluma to Sonoma Mountain. A lovely bowl filled with meadow grasses and wildflowers crowns this trail loop. A local favorite that’s well worth a visit for out-of-towners, the route skirts a small pond on the way up and features wonderful views of both the Petaluma River valley to the east and west county ranchland to the west.
Petaluma, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 1.5
Though the redwood-thick shade along Ritchey Creek is the highlight of this trail loop, the high point, Coyote Peak, offers filtered views of the Napa Valley floor and the steep wooded slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains. Combine an easy ramble through redwood groves along Ritchey Creek with a brisk climb to the summit of Coyote Peak, and you’ll understand why these are among the most popular trails in the park. The Redwood Trail—a wide, cool, walk-and-talk path—parallels the south side of Ritchey Creek. Verdant ferns and redwood sorrel carpet the canyon floor in winter and spring.
Calistoga, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5
Take a seat on any of the stone benches at the summit of this route and bask in stunning vistas across the Sonoma Valley. On the descent, check out historic gravestones in the Mountain Cemetery. Ascending a hillside behind Sonoma’s historic plaza, the Sonoma Overlook Trail showcases the city’s natural and human history, from springtime wildflowers and shady oak and bay laurel groves to the tiered gravesites of some of its founding families.
Sonoma, CA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.5
Without question one of the most well-used, well-loved trails in Sonoma County, this accessible, mostly paved route begins in busy Howarth Park and circumnavigates Spring Lake, a pretty little reservoir.
Santa Rosa, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.6
This study in switchbacks leads to a monument erected to honor famed writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who honeymooned on the lower slopes of Mount St. Helena in 1880. A small stone monument topped with an open book commemorates Robert Louis Stevenson’s visit to Mount St. Helena. In the late nineteenth century, before he hit the big time, Stevenson brought his new bride, Fanny, to an abandoned mining cabin on the flanks of the mountain. Now both the cabin and Stevenson are gone, but his legacy remains.
Calistoga, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
Follow an easy route through onetime ranchland and a brushy headlands valley to little Tennessee Cove. Bordered by a steep cliff on the south and imposing hillsides on the north, the small beach opens onto the turbulent Pacific.
San Francisco, CA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.4