1) Hike the Trails in Daylight or Moonlight
From redwoods to rolling vineyards, Sonoma Valley’s regional and state parks have miles of magical trails. Hike under redwoods and ancient oaks at Jack London State Park, or go see the splendor of a fall sunset at the locals’ favorite Overlook Trail, just above the Plaza. Soak in the warmth of the lower-sitting sun, or bundle up to see the moon and the stars and listen to the owls on a night hike at Sugarloaf Ridge. For something different, walk the vineyards on a do-it-yourself tour at St. Francis Winery.
Sonoma’s food + drink scene is fall of flavor, and great views! Taste your way around the valley, from the restaurants surrounding the historic plaza to wineries nestled among the hills. Reserve a food & wine pairing at Ram’s Gate, where your autumn exploration includes a view overlooking the greater San Pablo watershed. The oasis is part of the Pacific Flyway, where birds of many feathers flock together, making beautiful music with their birdsongs while you taste wines from the valley. Bonus: Steal this fabulous holiday-season recipe and wine pairing of pork rib roast and Cab Franc.
3) Scenic Drives and Strolls
Ready for some fall colors in wine country? Pick up the map of the local trees at the visitors bureau and stroll Sonoma Plaza’s stunning 8 acres. Surrounded by cafés, tasting rooms, restaurants, and shops, a plaza walk among 30 varieties of trees is a relaxing way to experience the change of season. If scenic drives are more your thing, escape to the Valley of the Moon Scenic Highway. Stop for a mountaintop tasting 1,400 feet above the valley floor, and eat a delicious wood-fired pizza lunch in a gorgeous outdoor courtyard nearby.
4) Morning Glory!
Morning Glory! Those crisp mornings during harvest in Sonoma Valley are some of the most memorable you’ll ever experience, giving you all the feels of fall. Wake up to the scents of the valley’s bounty—from freshly baked bread and brewed coffee at the Plaza’s Basque Boulangerie Café to the aromas of crushed grapes during the peak of harvest. Bonus: Get up close to the grape crush on the Loxton Crush Pad Tour. It’s a front-row view of how grapes are sorted, crushed, and fermented into wine. Later, enjoy a special cellar tasting of current releases. (No reservations needed, but hurry—this harvest season experience only goes until the end of October.)
5) Sonoma Valley Now
Fall is a magical time of year, and Sonoma Valley has a gorgeously produced guide to help you make the most of the season. Discover the valley’s top outdoor adventures, find your must-taste food and wine spots, and learn about great places to stay. You can also find good deals and autumn promotions.