Toughest in Sonoma?

Merganser Pond
A view of the tranquil Merganser Pond from the trail which runs over the earthen berm that contains it.
User: Austin Explorer - 3/27/2016

Location: Hood Mountain Regional Park

Rating: 3stars
Difficulty: 4stars  Solitude: 3stars
Miles Hiked: 8.40 Miles  Elapsed Time: 4 hours, 54 minutes


Even starting out at the Pythian Road Trailhead the trail gets steep.  This turned out to be a harbinger of things to come.

We elected to take a series of trails up to the peak which represented the Bay Area Ridge Trail passing through the park.  In hindsight this may have been shortsighted given the extra mileage it added onto the strenuous effort.  Use a more direct route avoiding Valley View Trail if you're gunning for the summit alone.

The Valley View Trail was not without its merits though.  It provided some wildflowers and some of the best views of Sonoma Valley on the trails.  And this includes the views from the top of Hood Mountain.

Coppertone and I were not quite prepared for the steepness we encountered here as we made our way to the top of Hood Mountain.  We knew there were switchbacks and elevation gain but were surprised to find a very steep grade awaiting us on the final pitch to the summit.  We were tired.

Once at the top of peak it was a bit disappointing to not have wide sweeping views of the terrain below.  The problem is the peak is hemmed in by thick foliage.  We found a rock outcropping just off the peak area that rose high enough to peak over the brush and catch a glimpse of what we'd accomplished.

The views along Panorama Ranch Trail on the way down were also impressive.  We stopped and exchanged camera duties with a couple and their dog so that we all were able to get in on the photos.

A couple of girls from an area junior college were on the trail and could be heard yelling out their frustrations with school and homework.  Hate to break it to ya girls, but the real world isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Enjoy your time in school while you can.  I suggest more hiking, and silence.

Log Photos
Trail View
Merganser Pond
Sonoma Valley
Sonoma Valley Again
Summit View
Headed Down
Panorama overlook
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