Redwoods and ridgelines and phenomenal views of the Pacific: Get to Duncans Mills and hike the Islands in the Sky Vista Loop, a 4-mile charmer in Sonoma Coast State Park.
You’ll start on a fire road alongside a cattle ranch. After a quarter mile take your first right onto the Islands in the Sky Vista Loop Trail and hike up and through the park’s redwoods, with ferns blanketing the forest floor.
As you climb, take a right onto the Full Monty Trail towards the Fern Tree Viewpoint, where you emerge to, well, the full monty! Fields sweep across rolling hills dubbed “islands in the sky.”
The beautiful open plains offer wide-open views of the Pacific as you make your way over the ridge. Take the short detour to the Fern Tree Viewpoint to see a gigantic Monterey pine named for the ferns that cover the lower branches like bromeliads in the Amazon. Back on Islands in the Sky Vista Loop Trail, it’s just a quarter mile down the trail deeper into the park.
Your next left will be to continue onto the fire road—still part of the Islands in the Sky Vista Loop—dropping you back into the redwood forest. Take the fire road the rest of the way.
To find the trailhead, head to Duncans Mills and cross the river on Moscow Rd. Take your first right onto Freezeout Rd. The trailhead is located on the left-hand side of the road, about 0.4 mile south of Moscow Rd. You can also use these coordinates in Google Maps (38.449365, -123.050466). No water or restrooms are available at the trailhead. No dogs.