Ragle Ranch Regional Park,
Sonoma County Parks,
Sonoma County
In brief:
1.9 mile loop in a small park bordering Sebastopol apple orchards.

Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 1.9 mile loop hike is easy. Ragle Ranch trails have minimal elevation change.

Exposure
:
Mostly exposed.

Trail traffic:
Moderate.

Trail surfaces:
Dirt trails.

Hiking time:
1hour.

Season:
Nice year round.

Getting there
:
From US 101 in Sonoma County, exit CA 116 West. Drive west on 116 about 8 miles, to the center of Sebastopol. Turn left onto Sebastopol Avenue (which becomes Bodega Avenue) and drive about 1.2 miles west. Turn right onto Ragle Road, and drive about 0.5 mile north to the park entrance on the left side of the road.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
http://www.transitandtrails.org/trailheads/395

GPS coordinates* for trailhead
:
Latitude 3824'11.82"N
Longitude
12250'49.96"W
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging
:
Gas, pay phones, stores, and restaurants back in downtown Sebastopol. No camping.

Trailhead details:
$7 entrance fee per vehicle (self-register if entrance kiosk is unattended). Scads of parking in paved lots. Drinking water along the trail. Restrooms at the trailhead. Maps available from the entrance kiosk when staffed. There are designated handicapped parking spots, and some paved trails appropriate for wheelchairs. Sonoma County bus #24 (North Loop) stops across from the park, on Covert Lane. Visit the Transit Info website for details.

Rules:
Park is open from sunrise to sunset. Trails are open to hikers, equestrians, and cyclists. Dogs are permitted on leash only, on two short trail segments.

The Official Story:
Park office 707-823-7262/Sonoma County Regional Parks headquarters 707-565-2041
Sonoma County Parks' Ragle Ranch page

Map Choices:
Park map

Ragle Ranch in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.

View photos from this hike.




Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Ragle Ranch is an ideal community park, featuring soccer fields, a playground, tennis courts, picnic areas, a baseball diamond, and easy hiking trails. TrailheadOnly 157 acres, the park is not really a destination for hiking, but it is a great choice for a daily dogwalk or run. The park's three narrow dirt trails also are prime training paths for novice mountain bike excursions -- just remember that the trails are multi-use.
     Atascadero Creek cuts through the middle of Ragle Ranch, and trails wind through seasonal wetlands overgrown with blackberry vines. There are two recently planted memorial redwood groves at the park, but other cultivated trees have been here longer; old gnarled fruit-bearing pear trees maintain a ranching legacy. Visit in early spring or autumn to enjoy the pear trees bloom and then turn their leaves ablaze with color.Blackberry Trail
     Start at the corner of the parking lot, near the Gazebo Picnic Area, on an unmarked dirt path. After passing the Peace Garden, the path approaches a fenceline and information signboard. Turn left and head downhill on Blackberry Trail.
     
The trail, a little wider than single track, but still multi-use, descends easily through the remains of an old pear orchard. At 0.10 mile, unsigned Hilltop Trail departs to the right, just before bridge #4. Continue straight on Blackberry Trail.
     Willow and blackberry tangle in lush profusion along the trail as it enters the wetlands area of the park. You may see wild mint in bloom, growing near the creek in early autumn. The trail is narrow here. At 0.27 mile Thistle Trail sets off to the right from an unsigned junction, after bridge #3. Continue straight on Blackberry Trail. Blackberry Trail
     Blackberry Trail skirts the park boundary near a private apple orchard, on the left. Inside the park, a few young valley oak and wild rose shrubs mix through lots more blackberry, and some coyote brush. Pockets of willow, ash, and black oak form a natural boundary near the western edge of the park. To the right, a bare flat meadow gives way to a distance glimpse of Mount St. Helena. Thistles, dock, and wetland grasses are common. Along the level trail a vineyard is visible on the left. At 0.78 mile, a path veers left toward a creekbed. Continue straight.
     Blackberry brambles line the trail like the walls of a maze. Fennel, thistles, wild radish, and mustard bloom in spring and summer, and wild carrot is abundant in early autumn. The trail takes a tiny dip and then rises again to level ground. At 0.93 mile, you'll reach a junction with the other end of Thistle Trail. Turn left to remain on Blackberry Trail. Blackberry Trail
     After crossing bridge #2, the trail begins a transition to a sparse oak woodland. You might see valley, black, and coast live oak along the trail, as well as plenty more blackberry. At bridge #1 the trail comes close to the park boundary again, and you may hear traffic from nearby neighborhoods. Look for a graceful, sprawling coast live oak on the right side of the trail. At 1.35 miles, the trail forks. Bear left. (Straight is also an option.)
     The trail ducks under some black and coast live oak, then runs along a Rotary redwood grove. At 1.39 miles, you'll reach a junction with a paved path. Turn right.
     Descending just a bit, the paved path ends at a road and small parking area at 1.46 miles. There are picnic tables off the trail to the left. Cross the road and pick up Hilltop Trail, marked by an information signboard.Bench on Hilltop Trail
     The narrow multi-use trail ascends gently through a memorial redwood grove. At 1.52 miles, turn left onto an unmarked path. After a few steps the trail reaches a bench, where there are nice views west. Ferns cluster together in grassland where a few poppies bloomed even in October. A nearby cotoneaster shrub imitates rose bushes with red berries in autumn, but unlike rosehips, these fruits are poisonous. Continue on the path back to Hilltop Trail, then bear left. The trail crests and then begins a descent. There's another bench off to the right. Adopting a level grade, Hilltop Trail runs parallel to the wetlands, on the right. At 1.73 miles, you'll reach a junction, again, with Blackberry Trail. Turn left and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Total distance: 1.89 miles
Last hiked: Tuesday, October 1, 2002