Hiking to Sonoma Creek Falls requires just enough legwork to keep this 25-foot charmer uncrowded and serene. Tucked in Sonoma Valley a mile down a trail just outside the Sugarloaf Ridge State Park entrance, this watery wonder is a refreshing alternative to wine tasting. Park at the Pony Gate Trail turnout and cross the street to get on the Canyon Trail, a dirt path with wooden steps and loose rocks (wear good shoes!)
Follow your ears down to the creek and veer left before crossing the bridge. Sonoma Creek Falls swiftly snakes through glistening giant boulders dropping into a pool that carries into a bustling creek. Take a seat on a hulking rock, have a snack and enjoy the waterworks.
Use the parking area for the Pony Gate Trail, about 100 yards before the entrance to Sugar Loaf State Park. Take the Canyon Trail on the opposite side of the road and follow it down to the wooden bridge where you’ll turn left (before crossing the bridge) and immediately see the falls. No dogs.