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."