Jack London State Historic Park

20.00 Miles
2400 London Ranch Rd.
Glen Ellen
More Info

While you might have read some of London's books, you might not have known that he devoted much of life to experimenting with new techniques in farming and ranching to increase yields and sustainability. The many buildings and ruins in the park are testament to this. Signage and displays provide a good deal of detail about the lengths he went to push the agricultural envelope.

The trails running around and to the farm buildings provide some of the more flat and easier to navigate paths for those wanting a shorter walk or something not too taxing.

The uphill portion of the park is marked by a tree line that partially shields the viewer from the severity of the incline that awaits.

Looking through an archway at the winery ruins. Beyond lay a working vineyard on private property. Farther back at the tree line, the forest and park land continues onto the steeper slopes. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The elaborate pig pen, aka the Pig Palace, was designed by Jack to save on manpower and provide for happier and healthier pigs. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The Pig Palace caused some social scorn for Jack as the locals considered it a waste of money. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Sherry Barn (previous usage), Manure Pit and Stallion Barn. The prickly pear cactus in the foreground highlights an experiment Jack perform with alternative cattle feed. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
A closeup of the Sherry Barn. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The distillery building right next to the London Cottage. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Mini groves of Redwoods can be found in numerous spots along the trails. Sometimes the trees gather in dense clumps. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Some service road trails are fairly wide and well maintained. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Moss covered plenty of rock and trees, like these along the Sonoma Ridge Trail (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Trees are not spared by the moss. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The growth of a single tree up close looks like another forest. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Sonoma Valley as seen from one of the overlooks on the Sonoma Ridge Trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Every overlook along Sonoma Ridge Trail seemed to surpass the previous one. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Sonoma Valley again, with the Mayacamas Mountains behind it. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone stands in a small stream that crossed the path. Frequent stream crossings and muddy bogs here and there caked our boots with mud. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Unfortunately it appears most, if not all, of the fruit trees in Jack's orchards have long since died. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
One of several creek crossings on our hike. With the recent rains, the creeks were all flowing. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone hikes along the rolling terrain. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Technically outside of the park, but the trails wrap around Fern Lake and turns back into the park. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
A view southwest from the road along Fern Lake. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone poses with the 2,000 year old Ancient Redwood. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The trails through and around the perimeter the historic orchard are more open and have less shade. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone crosses a small stream shortly before a larger bridge assisted crossing. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone on the bridge that spans Asbury Creek. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The open area near the junction of Old Fallen Bridge Trail and Mountain Trail offers up a nice view. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Standing in the center of a grove of Redwoods just off the Lake Service Road. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone on the muddy trail, a vineyard and views to the other side of Sonoma Valley. Welcome to wine country! (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Log Entries
Muddy Day
By Austin Explorer on 3/25/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.38 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 47 minutes

Coppertone and I had decided to revisit Jack London State Park earlier Saturday when the forecast was for no rain for the next week.  Saturday night it rained, but we didn't change our plans.  So we encountered some fairly muddy trails in certain parts of the park.  Coppertone indicated that it's "always" muddy when we visit.  It wasn't until later I logged onto hikingtrailhead.com and saw that our two previous hiking visits here were in January of different years.  Not exactly the best time to avoid rain and mud!

We ventured into the park's SE corner to hike some of the trails near Fern Lake and the historic orchards.  Our preferred path there, Vineyard Trail, was closed for the "season".  We're not sure what the season is, but I would guess it has something to do with winter and it's rains.  We doubled back and went down Quarry, which bypassed the closed segment.

We did a loop around Fern Lake, leaving the park property for a brief period of time.  When we looped back into the park we had intended to circumnavigate the lake on Inner Fern Lake Trail.  However, the trail from Orchard Road seemed to be a bit overgrown and had some brush piled up on it, something that's often done when park managers don't want people walking down trails.

We had another option in Red Hill Road (it's a jeep trail maybe, not a real road) that we took to SDC's Camp Via.  A large tree had recently fallen across the trail that we had to skirt under, but it didn't provide too much of an obstacle.

From Camp Via we we stopped by to visit the nearby Ancient Redwood.  A kiosk as we approached seemed to highlight a nice, but scarcely impression grove of Redwoods that gave Coppertone a bit of a letdown.  But we continued down the path and were rewarded with a suitably impressive giant that clearly lorded over the young upstarts we had spotted a bit earlier.  This old giant has apparently seen 2,000 years of history.  Very impressive.

We completed a loop around the edges of the orchards, crossed over South Asbury Creek and used the Fallen Bridge trails to get back to Mountain Trail for the main (and somewhat less muddy) path back to the trailhead.

Klondike Challenge Graduation Hike
By Austin Explorer on 1/28/2017
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 3 minutes

Coppertone and I had both taken part in the Klondike Challenge to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Jack London's life.  A select group of folks were invited to attend a ceremony at the park where some prizes were given out and stories shared about our hiking adventures.

After getting to know everyone the group set out on a 2.5 mile loop around London Lake.  The originally planned trek to the ancient Redwood tree was shelved given the recent heavy rains which had caused creek levels to rise.

Muddy outing
By Austin Explorer on 1/10/2016
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.30 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 22 minutes

Coppertone and I decided to make our first trip to the park that started the 500 mile Klondike Challenge this year in which we are both participating.  The recent rains let up on Sunday and we decided to take a chance with the mud.  We brought extra shoes to wear on the way home, just in case.  Our boots got plenty muddy and footing was a bit slippery on some of the steeper downslopes, particularly on Coon Trap Trail.

After discussing our options we opted for the circuitous Sonoma Ridge Trail loop that ultimately resulted in over 10 miles of hiking for us.  By the end of the hike we were plenty tired.  Despite the heavy tree cover over much of the path we still managed to find several impressive overlooks peering into Sonoma Valley below.

We were surprised by the number of buildings and structures remaining from Jack's agricultural experiments.  The information signs that discuss the poor farmers of the Sonoma Valley in the early 1900's seem a stark contrast to the wine culture that predominates today.

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