*Please be aware that we come down the mountain on the fireroad. It can be steep and some people don't care for fire road hiking BUUTTT if that does NOT include you then this is a great way to start your day. On a clear day there is no place more beautiful than the top of Bald Mountain. We are usually off the trail by 1 leaving you with ample time to enjoy the rest of your day. This is a spectacular trail with a 360-degree view at the summit. We are starting on Lower Bald Mountain Trail which immediately starts to climb us the bottom of Bald Mountain. We pass through grasslands as we climb up to Bald Mountain Trail. Bald Mountain trail is a fire road and we are on it for a short but steep section...we are all relieved when we exit the fire road onto Vista which is a lovely trail that basically travels along the relatively flat flanks of the mountain with gorgeous sweeping views of St. Helena and Glen Ellen. We then turn onto Headwaters which will give us the second good uphill section which once the winter rains have started is lovely because we follow a stream that cascades it way down the side of the mountain right beside the trail! This section ends on Red Mountain trail where we make our way to the beloved Gray Pine fire road which give us our last good huff and puff section to make it to the top. We will come down the paved Bald Mountain Trail. This is a moderate to difficult delightful trail. Steep and narrow trail at some points with the contrast of a fire road on the way down but highly recommended if you are a moderate hiker that has be hiking consistently.
On a clear day you can see from the Sierra Nevada Range to the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. This is not easy and we will huff an puff as we slowly climb but it IS very worthwhile! Our way down will be primarily on the paved fire road.
This is a 7 mile loop with an elevation gain of appx. 1700 feet.
The link to the park brochure and trail map is below:
Car pool etiquette- Come prepared to drive, be aware that there may be no others wanting to car pool from your selected location or there might be a lot of people and everyone might want to ride. We determine who gets the rider seats by who has most recently been a driver in the past. This is worked out based by who shows up at the car pool location. We can't guarantee anyone a seat because we never know until that day who will show up. We do our best to work it out and make everyone happy but we need everyone to pitch in and help make it work!
Then PLEASE if possible try to use the two locations below. The more locations we have the less effective we are and it's so much more complicated. Exceptions would be if you are not close to either location.
Car pool locations:
Car pool will be at 8:55 at Caltrans Park & Ride lot adjacent to the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial building. We gather by the Airporter pick up point.
Petaluma-Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St. suggested leave by 8:40.
Adobe Canyon Road ---near the entrance to Landmark Winery. Park on the dirt area beside the road. suggested leave by 9:15
Please read and be familiar with the guidelines of the group as listed below. It’s important before you come on a Wanderer hike that you agree and are prepared with the following.
We combine enjoyment of the trail with respect for everyone’s time. A steady pace and we just keep going! If you are in the lead you will end up waiting at trail junctions. If you are in the back you will be asked to do your best to keep up with the group and at waiting points the group may move on as soon as you are within sight. Our pace averages 2.5mph. We do get separated from time to time as everyone walks their own pace but please bear in mind that you will need to be able to stay within several minutes of the group. Make sure this is something you are prepared for and would enjoy.
Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments. Cancellations or any adjustments will be posted by 10pm the previous evening.
Give yourself time to find the trail head so that you arrive prior to the scheduled time. That is the time we head out on the trail. It would be disappointing to miss having you on the hike due to late arrival. You will be left behind if you are not ready to head out at the hike start time.
Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good rugged soles that are well broken in.
Duration: 3-4 hours
Facilities: at the trail head
Dogs?: none allowed here
Bring plenty of water. More than one bottle is usually a good idea.
Dress in layers. The hike starts off cool but rapidly warms up.
Bring a snack. We have a break at the top.
Always try to car-pool if you can. If there is a noted car pool that is full or doesn’t work for you it would be wonderful if posted your own on the hike’s comments spot. And car poolers if you are riding with someone other than your leader please chip in for gas and the use of their car.
Bring your smile and great attitude! Once again....this is not about finishing the hike in record time...it's about enjoying ourselves and the outdoors! If you are a fast hiker you will be waiting for those of us that huff and puff our way up the trail. If you are a slow hiker you will find that we head off up the trail as soon as you catch up with the group. Please make sure this is something that you will enjoy! We are ALL about trail enjoyment while respecting everyone’s time!
See you on the trail!