Gilliam Creek Trail– East Austin Creek Trail • East Loop

Guerneville, California

Gilliam Creek Trail– East Austin Creek Trail • East Loop Professional Review and Guide

"Austin Creek State Recreation Area encompasses 5,683 acres in a largely undeveloped area in north-central Sonoma County. The isolated wilderness is adjacent to (and accessed through) Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. The rugged topography includes rolling grassland meadows, oak-covered knolls, deep valleys, forested ridges, chaparral hillsides, oak woodlands, conifer forests, and year-round streams. There are three back country camps and more than 20 miles of hiking and equestrian trails. A large nine-mile loop trail traverses the recreation area from east to west. This shorter, 4.2-mile hike explores the first half of the loop. The hike begins with vistas across the Russian River Valley from 1,100 feet. The path contours across grassy slopes and tree-lined creek ravines on the Gilliam Creek Trail. En route, the trail fords Schoolhouse Creek three times. The hike returns on the East Austin Creek Trail, an unpaved service road. The road steeply winds up the canyon through meadows along the aptly named Panorama Grade, offering spectacular vistas. The next hike—Hike 48—includes directions for the entire nine-mile loop."

Gilliam Creek Trail– East Austin Creek Trail • East Loop Reviews

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Although it's an out-and-back, the beautiful lake scenery makes it a pleasure in both directions. The has a nice mix of ascents and descents, all moderate in difficulty. There's a nice amount of shade provided along much of the trail, and even a micro-forest of redwoods that appears out of nowhere. Trail hints: a) Shortly after beginning the hike, I encountered an unexpected fork in the trail. Staying left to continue up the hill put us on the right course. b) There's a 4-way intersection where Bummer Peak Trail meets Half-a-Canoe Trail. The trail to the left and the trail straight ahead intersect again, so either will work. It appears that a new trail may have been created recently as these two trails intersect again later. With better trail signage this would be a 5-star experience.
This is a nice easy walk, it is a pretty area but very little to offer. The camp sights at Bummer Peak are very small, one tent maybe. Hike to the lake, its good to see but Lake Sonoma isnt very apealing. While I am backpacking I like to go to areas that you can only get to while hiking, there are several campgrounds next to the lake that you can get to by boat. I have hiked all around the lake several times, the best hiking/backpacking location is to leave from Liberty Glen.

Gilliam Creek Trail– East Austin Creek Trail • East Loop Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
1,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3 hours
U.S.G.S. Cazadero Austin Creek State Recreation Area map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jun 2018