Sometimes you don’t have to go very far to find something beautiful. Sometimes you just need to grab the hubs and follow the mossy steps and the sound of a creek flowing and you get rewarded with a beautiful waterfall. If that isn’t enough fun for you then run through a hailstorm for cover on your way up to Neptune and Pluto!
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park has several wonderful hikes available and the last one we did there was just as breathtaking as the others. We have watched the sunset through the canyons off of Pony Gate Trail, experienced the 360 degree views of wine country from Bald Mountain, walked most of the planets on the planet walk, and we have now experienced the beautiful waterfall off of Canyon Trail and the amazing views from Brushy Peaks!
As we drove into the park we could see the water rushing down Sonoma Creek and I was as giddy as a kid in a candy store! We parked near the trail head for Canyon Trail and walked about a half mile down rock and wood steps to the seasonal 25′ waterfall. I had been there with my cousin a few weeks before and it only had a trickle. This time it was flowing!! I was so excited! Something, well anything, about water makes me so happy inside! We snapped a few pics, took some pics for a family that braved the weather to see the waterfall and headed back up to the car. We had a window of good weather and we wanted to take full advantage of it!
Heading back up the hill warmed us up for what came next! We were just walking along enjoying the stroll through the campground and the little streams (at this point we are under trees and in a valley) when all of a sudden this big dark mean cloud appeared right above us! It dumped hail on us! I stuffed my camera under my jacket and we ran to find cover not knowing how long this would last. Have I mentioned I am not a runner? Thankfully it was just long enough to lightly cover the ground in white little balls of torture while we had our snack a little early under covered tables. Thanks Sugarloaf for having shelter! Once that passed and blue sky started popping out we found our way back to the Hillside Trail and were greeted by a faint rainbow. This is the good that comes from mean dark clouds. 🙂
Brushy Peaks Trail is nicely done with the switchbacks you don’t realize you are climbing up. The trail described on Sugarloaf’s website gets you to Neptune but keeping going about .5 mile past Neptune and Pluto and you are rewarded with some amazing views of a hidden little valley and views to Napa! There’s a picnic table up there to just chill and enjoy the views. Thankfully while we were up there the weather cooperated and the skies were clear enough to see for days!
Side note – Sugarloaf has an observatory as well as a great educational program for kids to learn about the planets and they have signs around the park and if you find all of them you get a prize!
From here head on back down Brushy Peaks. We opted to take the Meadow Trail back to the car for a little different scenery. We made it back to the car before the next downpour and all without me falling in the mud. It was a good day!
Brushy Peaks hike was approx 5.7 miles, 830 ft elevation gain, flushing toilets and $8 entrance fee but if you buy an annual pass you can also go to Jack London!