After completing the first half of the trail on the Calistoga side of the mountain Coppertone and I were eager to see what the eastern half of this trail had to offer. The drive to the trailhead was an adventure all its own. It's about a 1.5 hour drive from Sonoma Valley but the real adventure is the last few miles that take place on a single lane dirt road headed up the mountain. I'm not entirely sure what we would do if we encountered a vehicle headed in the opposite direction but thankfully that did not occur.
As you would expect on the Oat Hill Mine Trail, the surface is very rocky. However, to get to the pass that marks the halfway point there is far less elevation gain. There's a bit of up and downs but 400 feet of elevation difference is less challenging than the west segments almost 2000 feet.
The solitude is far higher here on the eastern half of the trail. In almost 4 hours of trail time we came across only two other people. The canyons opening up into sparsely populated Pope Canyon meant quiet solitude for the entirety of the hike.
A surprise birthday party later in the day required us to push the pace a bit to make it back home in time. It would have been nice to have a bit more time to take in the views, which were spectacular.