On Saturday, March 14th, 2015, Jack London State Historic Park will host a community celebration and ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the East Slope Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail. This trail, on land never before accessible to the public, is the culmination of nearly two decades of focused effort and collaboration. Hikers, cyclists, and equestrians will experience sweeping panoramas from the top of Sonoma Mountain, finding different views than ever seen before.
The March 14 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and First Official Hike are both free and open to the public.
The new East Slope Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail extends the Bay Area Ridge Trail—an evolving and growing network of contiguous trail for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians along the ridgelines overlooking San
Francisco Bay. Today, over 350 miles of the 550-mile Ridge Trail loop are open. Jack London State Historic Park serves as the “gateway” to the new 1.2-mile East Slope, which also adds to 20-plus miles of trails currently accessible within the Park’s 1,400 scenic acres.
The natural surface, multi-use trail, located approximately 7 miles northwest of the City of Sonoma, crosses two private properties and a Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District-owned property, meandering along the ridge through oak woodland and open grassland habitats, and affords stunning views. A portion of the trail will be named “The Eliot Family Trail,” in honor of Pat and Ted Eliot who were instrumental in making the trail a reality. The project received a $55,000 planning grant from the Coastal Conservancy and Bay Area Ridge Trail, a $10,000 construction grant from REI, and a $5,000 grant from Sonoma Mountain Preservation, as well as many, many hours of volunteer time from community members led by the Sonoma County Trails Council and Jack London Park Partners.
“This project truly represents the best of collaboration amongst private and public landowners, funders, non- governmental organizations, and the public,” is how Susan Gorin, First District Supervisor described this noteworthy undertaking. “Working together, we built on each others’ strengths and were able to stretch limited taxpayer dollars to provide amazing outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone to enjoy.”
Janet McBride, Executive Director of Bay Ridge Trail Council says of the new trail’s significance: "The new East Slope Trail combined with existing Ridge Trail thru Jack London State Historic Park and the North Slope Trail stitches together a 9-mile showpiece Ridge Trail stretch ready to be explored."
About the March 14 Trail Celebration, free to the public:
10:30 am: Ceremony in the Winery Ruins of Beauty Ranch in Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen
Noon: The 13-mile round-trip hike to East Slope Trail commences from the Ranch parking lot.
The hike will be led by Craig Anderson of LandPaths, Dave Chalk former board member of the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association and founder of the popular Bill and Dave Hikes, and John Lynch, Park naturalist of Jack London State Historic Park.
The hike begins in Beauty Ranch and makes its way to the Jack London Lake, circling to Mountain Trail through a bountiful evergreen forest, flush with spring wildflowers to the Ridge Trail trailhead and then onto the new East Slope Ridge Trail. The beautiful Ridge trail is a slow elevation gain by a series of switchbacks through lush green with viewing opportunities of the Sonoma Valley and possibly the San Pablo Bay.
At 5 miles the hike reaches the top of this trail and the beginning of the East Slope trail.
For those who are unsure of completing the full 13-mile round trip hike, there will be numerous turn-around points along the way with Park docents to lead people back to Beauty Ranch.
Hikers should bring water, hiking poles, lunch, and binoculars, dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. For more information on the free March 14 event as well as the Hike, please visit jacklondonpark.com