Sometimes the trails we are on are just as gorgeous as the vistas we are rewarded with at the top. The Lawndale Trail on the east side of Annadel was definitely one we will do again!
Getting there you travel down Highway 12 through Kenwood and down Lawndale Road which we found is a road we found we would love to live on! Then to a small parking lot at the trail head. The first couple hundred feet up on the trail and you have great views of Sonoma Valley and all her glory…but don’t turn around there! There’s so much more to see! It’s a gentle grade as my new favorite book (95 Day Hikes Around Sonoma County) describes which means you don’t really realize you are going uphill. I think our trail views were so distracting and beautiful I wouldn’t have minded climbing all day. We went from our typical Sonoma County trails of grasses, Madrones, Manzanitas and wildflowers to old douglas fir trees so big it would take 2 of us to give them hugs to young redwood groves. It was great seeing all the different varieties along just a 7 mile hike.
At one point in the hike I almost switched my camera to video just so I could try and show how wonderful and peaceful the trails are to be on. The ground is natural, soft and rocky in different places and winding through all the grand trees casting down just enough shade to keep the ferns along the trails happy. With the history of Annadel being a rock quarry and then a spot for cattle grazing, I am so thankful they decided to preserve this beautiful place for generations to come.
Annadel has several park benches strategically placed with gorgeous vista views, take your breaks at them and enjoy the beauty! Once we reached the top of our ridge we walked around Ledson Marsh and back down the hill to enjoy more beautiful vistas of the valley, mountain bikers on difficult rocky trails and deer bouncing through the forests. At our last park bench we were rewarded with expansive views of our beautiful Sonoma Valley across to Hood Mountain and could even make out the silhouette of Mount Tamalpais in the distance. I could have stayed in this spot all day. I am thinking the hubs and I should take a picnic lunch next time just so we can enjoy that spot longer!
From there it was downhill through more redwoods, trails lined with ferns and unfortunately dry creeks. We saw several deer along the way either bouncing through the forest or heading up the hill off the trail just enough to feel safe and watch us pass by. As we reached Schultz Road which would take us back to the parking lot we came upon an orchard with a mama deer and her 2 babies. It was a great ending to our hike! They were so cute and tolerated me slowly getting closer so I could snap a few pics of them. Back at the trail head we found the parking lot full and we were happy we had started the hike early enough to avoid the crowds.
The hubs and I are looking forward to exploring the other 28 miles of trails in the park in future hikes. Please comment below if you have a favorite hike at Annadel! Always looking for suggestions!