Canyon and Pony Gate Trails Loop

Smaller falls
Even some of the smaller water falls on the hike were a nice feature to find along the trail.
User: Austin Explorer - 1/26/2019

Location: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Rating: 4stars
Difficulty: 3stars  Solitude: 3stars
Miles Hiked: 2.93 Miles  Elapsed Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Comments:

Coppertone and I decided to hits the trails for the first time in months in part to see the falls here while the water levels were high.  It just would not be the same in the fall when there might best be a trickle.

We walked past the park entrance gate along the road until we got to the Canyon Trail trailhead.  The trail immediately begins a consistent descent towards Sonoma Creek below.  The path all along this trail and mostly through Pony Gate Trail is heavily treed, providing some relief from the Sun.

Just prior to encountering the main falls on the trail there is a miniature but long, multi-step falls that of a seasonal stream that feeds into Sonoma Creek.  It was worth a stop of its own.  Compared to its larger companion nearby, the falls here provide but a whisper.

The main falls, which seems to have no official name, is a short distance beyond and at high flow levels provides a nice aquatic roar that drowns out most other sounds nearby.  It was not crowded at the falls, but during our time at the spot there was always someone coming or going.  It's obviously the highlight of the trail.

The trail continues on to the west this time ascending until it intersects with Adobe Canyon Road that leads into the park.  We took a right for a short distance along the road to the Pony Gate Trail trailhead.

From here, it's more uphill hiking.  The dense vegetation doesn't provide for much of a view but there are several additional streams, all easily fordable, bubbling and darting around their rocky beds.

Rather than continue on a small unhiked section of the Canyon Trail back to Adobe Canyon Road, we elected to go with the unnamed trail that heads more directly to the park entrance gate.  This choice minimized the distance we would have to walk along the road to get back to our parking spot.  It also turned out to be a fortuitous choice.  The sky opened up as the trail gently descended down a grassy meadow with the peaks of Sugarloaf Ridge clearly visible in the distance.  A fine way to end the hike.

We found that we are both woefully out of shape!  This wasn't a particularly hard hike and the elevation gain was not that high, but we suffered far more than we should have - a sure sign that we need to make a point of hitting the trails more often.



Log Photos
Smaller falls
Trail View
Seasonal Waterfall
Cairn
Bridge
Pony Gate Trail
Sugarloaf Ridge