For one of the biggest, most spectacular views of wine country under the rising moon, head to the peak of Sonoma’s Bald Mountain. Yep! Bald Mountain in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park offers a glowing twofer view: straddling both Napa and Sonoma valleys. But you’re going to have to do some legwork! It’s 6 miles (round-trip) for this hike—best suited for those with an after-hours sense of adventure. (Because of the length of this journey, and to get the best photos, it’s a good idea to get to the summit before sunset and descend as the moon is rising.) The most straightforward route, and the only one we’d recommend for this outing, is combining the Stern Trail and Bald Mountain Trail. Get an early start and follow the wide trail as it winds among Sugarloaf’s hills, becoming more exposed the higher you go. On a clear evening at the summit you’ll be treated to a vista well worth mooning over! The peaks of the Sierra Nevada glint on the horizon, San Francisco sparkles in the distance, and mighty Mount St. Helena looks close enough to touch; below, the golden hills and green valleys of Napa and Sonoma roll away. Return the way you came. Sugarloaf shines!
UPDATE: GUIDED FULL MOON HIKE OPTION: This Saturday evening, August 5, 2017 Sugarloaf is hosting an “Almost Full Moon” guided hike: This moderate to strenuous level 4.2-mile route goes up Vista trail to see the moon rise over the Mayacamas and the sun set over Sonoma Valley from Indian Rock. The hike climbs 600 feet. You will descend via Bald Mt. Road and Stern Road. Get tickets and info.
To reach Sugarloaf Ridge State Park: From Hwy. 12 in Sonoma Valley, go east on Adobe Canyon Rd. in Kenwood. Drive 3.5 miles to the park entrance. There is an $8 entrance fee. The Stern Trail trailhead starts across from the visitor center; take this for the first half-mile, then turn right on the Bald Mountain Trail and continue on it all the way to the summit. Descend the way you came. The park may not have maps; print out a map beforehand. Give yourself an hour and a half to two hours to walk to the summit. The park closes at 10:00 p.m. No dogs.