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Bald Mountain Trail, Vista Trail, and Meadow Trail Loop

A great overview hike of Sugarloaf State Park
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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.2 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  This hike will provide a great overview of Sugarloaf in a relatively short time. The trail starts at the valley floor, climbs and does... more »

Tips:  Bring water on the trails and appropriate clothing.

Dogs are OK in places here if controlled.

Ticks can get bad here.

I've not... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trail Head

Parking lot and trailhead is located just inside the park entry gate and near the ranger station. The Lower Bald Peak Trail will start off up grass slopes with scattered oaks dotting the hillside.

2. Junction

Meadow Trail and Lower Bald Mountain Trail. The trail intersection is in the middle of a meadow. Take the Bald Mountain Trail up the slope. The next segment will enter an oak forest and then enter chaparral country. There will come a hairpin turn near the top that is a good place to get one’s bearings and take in the surrounding countryside across... More

3. Junction

Lower Bald Mountain Trail and the paved Bald Mountain Trail. Head up the Bald Mountain trail for about .2 miles. Do take a look periodically to the west and a view of the Valley of the Moon. So far most of the trail has been a gentle up grade. The paved Bald Mountain road gets steep. The road appears to be used to service a local cell tower. The ... More

4. Junction

Bald Mountain Trail and Vista Trail. Follow Vista Trail.

5. Spring

A spring is up-slope of trail with an island of fern and horsetail in the forest.

6. View

Vista point overlooking Sugarloaf Valley and into the Napa region. The trail is generally on an open grass slope.

7. View

A vista point on a rocky knoll overlooking the park’s valley floor. Includes a number of peaks to the east and south including Little Bald Mountain with a vineyard on its flank.

8. Junction

A side trail that leads out to a large knoll. On the way out one will need to follow lesser trails through the brush which will end out on a broad rocky point.

9. View

Out on the end of the rocky knoll for the best vista on the trail. The view from this location is expansive and includes much of the park and well beyond. When done, retrace the route back to the main trail. The main trail will generally follow the contour first through the grasslands and then will begin entering oak woodlands. As one approaches... More

10. Junction

Vista Trail and Headwaters Trail. Continue on Vista Trail to start down toward the main meadow below. A significant general downgrade starts.

11. Vista

Vista Point. Nice view including the Headwaters. Oak, Pine, Bay Madrone, Tan Oak mixed forest cover.

12. Creek

A seasonal creek crossing.

13. Meadow

A mountain meadow to provide a break from the woods.

14. Creek

The trail approaches and follows Headwater Creek.

15. Creeks Join

The seasonal Headwater Creek we’ve been following joins a year-round unnamed stream in mixed Bay (Pepperwood) and Live Oak forest. The trail then follows the joined streams.

16. Bridge

The trail leaves the forest at a small bridge and has entered the valley floor. Vegetation here is generally grasses and coyote brush. It's flat without much of a view. There are plenty of deer at this spot.

17. Junction

Vista Trail and Gray Pine Trail. Gray Pine Trail is a multi-use trail and service road. Follow the Gray Pine Trail westerly towards the Valley of the Moon.

18. Creek Crossing

A creek crossing: there's no bridge and no large stones to use. The trail also acts as a service road at this point.

19. Junction

Gray Pine Trail and Meadow Trail. Follow the Meadow Trail westerly.

20. Picnic Spot

Picnic benches in a bay grove by the creek. A very nice lunch spot.

21. Forest Cover

Re-enter Bay and Live Oak forest cover adjoining the creek.

22. Saturn

This park has a “Planet Walk” - a series of waypoints at scaled distances from the sun for visitors to explore. This is the point marked “Saturn”.

23. The main meadow

Entering the park's main meadow with the trail hugging the base of the north side's hills. In the distance is the horse barn and stable area across the valley.

24. Planets!

You've walked to “Jupiter”.

The park actually has a resident astronomy program and telescope. There is a series of planets posted along this trail to help visitors (and especially local school field trips) develop a feel of planetary scale.

25. Observatory

“Robert Ferguson Observatory,” which also marks the point for “Earth”. Nearby in the meadow is "The Sun". The observatory is very active year-round hosting astronomy programs.

Tucked in behind cars parked next to the observatory is the Lower Bald Mountain Trailhead that will allow the loop to be completed off paved roads. Not having a... More

26. Equestrian Center

The Pack Station. Sugarloaf gets a lot of local equestrian use. Continue following the road out.

27. Outdoor Movies

Entrance to the park’s outdoor movie theater, which is open seasonally.

28. Picnic Areas

A large sun/shade picnic area between the road and creek. There are others scattered around suitable for families and groups.

29. End

Return to trailhead.