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
Nice year round.
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:
GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
(* 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
$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.
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 in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured
photos from this hike.
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
Ranch is an ideal community park, featuring soccer
fields, a playground, tennis courts, picnic areas, a baseball diamond,
and easy hiking trails. Only 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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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