The path is easy, flat and paved, often enclosed in a fence. The fence on the left here actually has some grape vines growing in it.
While walking the Sonoma Bike Path one might note that the path through most of its length is straight. Really straight. This is no accident. It's a product of the rails to trails movement. In addition to straight shots, railroads also typically routed their lines to minimize drastic elevation gain. Today that means you'll end up with a flat walk on a smooth, paved surface - ideal for beginners. And don't let the name Sonoma Bike Path scare you off. Hikers and walkers are perfectly welcome along its miles of trail.
Sonoma bills itself as "real wine country". So the eastern edge of the trail starts off in a vineyard, naturally. The land here was actually part of the very first vineyard planted in California. Nearby, Sebastiani Vineyard and Winery provides tours and wine tastings to give your hike a little something extra.
Though the tracks of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad have been pulled up long ago, you can still see signs of the route's rail past by visiting the Sonoma Depot Park Museum. The building adjacent to the trail is a recreation of the train depot that long served the Sonoma area in the early 1900's. A fire in 1975 destroyed the original structure. An extensive display inside the depot is coupled with several railroad cars on display outside.
The trail passes just south of the Vallejo Estate, part of the multi-unit Sonoma State Historic Park. Upon earning its independence from Spain, Mexico appointed General Mariano Vallejo first Commandante General for California. After California's incorporation into the US he remained a prominent figure in the area. The Vallejo Estate served as the Vallejo home in the 1850's and was referred to as Lachryma Montis.
In the west, the trail ends at Maxwell Farms Regional Park, which can also serve as a convenient trailhead for this hike.