Couldn't complete loop around Lake Benoist
By Austin Explorer on 6/30/2019
Distance: 2.40 Miles Duration: 58 minutes
The first of two hikes today so that Coppertone and I could complete our 2019 Sonoma County Parks Trails Challenge. We were surprised to see park employees at the entrance. No concern for us since we have a yearly pass.
We start off from the trailhead and walk in the cool shade of the Redwood trees that cover the aptly named Redwood Hill. This straight shot parallels the shore of Lake Wilson and leads directly to Lake Benoist, the largest in the park.
Wen end up taking a right at the split in the trail and work our way counterclockwise. The shade of the Redwoods gives way to ample Sun exposure for a while though less impressive trees provide some relief from the Sun's rays. At times one can spot both the lake and the Russian River along the path. Numerous small spurs and occassionally parallel paths break off of the main trail.
Almost half way through the loop we encounter a barricade stating that the area is closed for restoration. We double back and take a split off the trail that looks quite official and come to another barrier that stops us in our tracks. The water level is such that there's no clear way to get across. It almost looks like part of the official trail has washed away though when water levels are lower another parallel trail below might be able to make it across. We see in the distance some folks who did not heed the plea to avoid trampling through the restoration area making their way around the cut to continue a loop. That's not us.
We turn around and make it an out and back trail. To try and make up for not competing the loop we cut take the Redwood Hill Trail back towards the parking area. This trail section is like the direct opposite of the main trail. It's steep, more muddy than dusty, shady to the point of being somewhat dark and a lot more fun. On top of that we didn't see another soul on this particular trail segment.