Bartholomew Park

Trail
2.70 Miles
350 Feet
Free
3point5stars (3.75)4
3point5stars (3.50)
3stars (3.25)
No
No
Yes
No
1000 Vineyard Ln.
Sonoma
Sonoma
More Info

The Bartholomew Park is a privately owned property that's run as a non-profit entity for the benefit of the citizens of Sonoma. What this means is that visitors can view it much as they would a public park in that admission is free. Unlike a public park, one can also purchase alcoholic beverages in the form of wine!

The trails you'll encounter here are tougher than you'd expect for trails at a winery. Certainly those wanting a more leisurely stroll can choose some perfectly flat paths through some of the vineyards. But heading up into the hills overlooking the property means lots of elevation gain and frequent stairs.

The hills, part of the Mayacamas Mountain range, are heavily forested and so tree cover provides some relief from the Sun. Despite the thick foliage there are still some occasions for getting a look at the surrounding terrain below at periodic vistas.

Bartholomew Park lies adjacent to Buena Vista Winery. A small bridge connects the two along the park's easternmost trail. The gate is not always open and it's unclear what the schedule is for this access.

The gate to the property close at 4:30 PM. There is a proximity censor on the gate though so that late stragglers can exit the property after closing time without letting in any newcomers.

Photos
Creek Crossing
Coppertone ascends after crossing a creek along the trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Sonoma Valley View
The great view of Sonoma Valley from the overlook just off of the You-Walk Miwok Trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Vineyard
The vineyards and buildings near the trailhead all escaped the 2017 fire. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Streamside
You'd be hard pressed to tell there was a fire event nearby for much of the trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Trail View
The hiking was pleasant and the weather was fair. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Fire Break
A fire break was bulldozed into the hill in an effort to stop the fires in 2017. Some of the structures in the distance may owe their existence to these efforts. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone on the trail
Coppertone looks back on the trail as we descend back towards the trailhead. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Shortcut Trail
The Shortcut Trail had one of the wider vista views down into Sonoma Valley. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Sonoma Valley
A peek into Sonoma Valley from the trails. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Redwoods
Native species are found throughout the hike, including some Redwoods higher up the mountain. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Stairs
We had forgotten how many stairs and steep segments were to be found here. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Creek Crossing
We used some stepping stones to cross the creek here. Lots of big trees, including what appear to be some Redwoods, kept us in the shade most of the hike. (Photo by Austin Explorer)

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Log Entries
Hiking and Caching
By Austin Explorer on 7/23/2022
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.21 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 35 minutes

Coppertone and I decided to revisit Bartolomew because of the four geocaches that were hidden along its trails.  It's always nice to have an extra reason to revisit a spot already hiked.

As it turns out the hike itself was reason enough.  We had forgotten how challenging some of the trail segments were and how wonderful the views were after ascending those steep pitches.

The park's trails suffered from wildfires in years past and the signs of damage are still visible in many areas.  The regrowth was encouraging.  More encouraging was the number of large, mature Redwoods with blackened, battle scared trunks that none-the-less sported lush, green canopies indicating they were ultimate survivors.

We hiked and outer loop consisting of the Grape Stomp and You-Walk Miwok trails.  Along these trails we succeeded in finding all four of the geocaches on our list.

Towards the end of our hike we encountered blackberry bushes that had a few ripe berries ready to be eaten.  So we celebrated our hike and geocache success with a little snack.

As we crossed one of the vineyards to get back to our trailhead we stopped and watched a gopher snake with another hiker as it checked out a few holes for a snake of its own.

Recovering from previous fires
By Austin Explorer on 2/23/2020
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 2.65 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Coppertone and I returned to Bartholomew Park for the first time since the 2017 fires that swept through some of the park.  Many tails were closed for some time afterwards.  There are still signs of the damage done by the fires and by efforts to try and stop the fire's spread.  But there are signs that nature is coming back, albeit slowly.

Most park visitors got a slow start to the day as well.  When we arrived there were no other cars in the parking lot.  When we finished up our hike there were no parking spots left.  Seems like others had the same idea of a visit today.  I'm glad we got there early.

The weather was beautiful, which was great for our hike this day.  But typically we would have had more rain by this point than we have.  Not a good sign for the coming year.

Hiking and Wine - the Wine Country Experience
By Austin Explorer on 11/13/2016
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 4.45 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 38 minutes

Our second trip to Bartholomew Park and we had somewhat forgotten how roush some of the trails are here.  Much of our walking recently has been on the sidewalks of Sonoma, so the elevation gain here was a rude reminder that we had better keep up our trail outings lest we lose whatever we've gained over the years.

This time we completed the loop including the outermost You Walk Miwok Trail, which means we've hiked them all.

We found more people on the trails this time around and most seemed to have dogs, all well behaved.  At the winery near the park trailhead there were enough dog owners to create an impromptu a dog social.

Unlike our first visit to the park, we had plenty of time to look through the winery museum on the site and take in a wine tasting of 5 varietals from grapes grown here on the grounds and elsewhere in Sonoma County.  We ended up buying a bottle and even picked up a longhorn decantor that reminded us of our time back in Texas.

Much more than expected
By Austin Explorer on 1/18/2015
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 2.77 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Coppertone and I decided to try out this trail system towards the end of the day without knowing too much about it.  Turns out we were only about an hour and a half before closing time, so we were only able to do one of the two possible loops.  We'll have to come back for the rest later.

The hike turned out to be far more strenuous that expected.  There's lots of ups and downs along the trail, often with stairs.  We only encountered a couple of people on the trail in the upper elevations with a few more closer to the trailhead where the trail was more flat.

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