Cherry Hill P300
Peak 910ft P300
Grove BM P300
Fitch Mountain P750
Peak 1,219ft P300
Peak 2,140ft P300
Peak 1,740ft P300

Thu, Nov 7, 2019
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX

I was heading north to join Sean and Asaka for some CC-listed hikes in NorCal on Friday and Saturday. I decided to head up on Thursday to do some easy peaks to break up the drive, though I didn't leave until 11a to avoid rush hour traffic through the South Bay and San Francisco. To make things easier, I simply looked for peaks that Andrew Kirmse and David Sanger had already done, knowing they were A) prolific in the North Bay area, and B) usually had a GPX track and a short write-up to describe any issues. The longest of these was about a mile, one-way, the shortest a near drive-up.

Cherry Hill

This was the only peak not actually in Sonoma County, but rather in neighboring Marin, near the city of Navato. A paved residential road reaches nearly to the summit where a water tank and cell tower are located. Parking is allowed on one side of the road only. I parked near the last house and walked up the use trail adjacent to the fence west of the summit. The use trail leads to the summit where what looks like a wide public trail goes over the summit north to south - not sure how to access that, but it is unlikely to be shorter than the route I used. There's a large oak at the summit and a bunch of other trees that leave views wanting, but I got a partial view looking south and another looking west to Novato on the way back.

Peak 910ft / Grove BM

These two summits are located in the hills east of Santa Rosa and were burned over in the 2017 Tubbs Fire. I hadn't realized this at first, thinking all the construction was for new homes going up, but soon realized they are just now getting to rebuilding the neighborhoods two years later. Peak 910ft, home to a large water tank, looks to be the site for a new fire station, undoubtedly to allow faster responses times. Grove BM is still a vacant lot as Andrew had found it in 2016. But the nearby homeowner he talked to is now gone, only the foundations left from the fire damage. The lots had been cleaned up, but no home were being rebuilt near the summit yet. Just down the road it's another story, with some homes completed, others nearly so, many others in various stages of construction. The numbers of construction workers and equipment is really staggering - they must be drawing crews in from around the state and probably other states, too. Some utility trucks I saw in one area had Indiana plates. It was all very sobering seeing just how many homes had been destroyed in that one fire...

Fitch Mountain

This peak is located in a park just east of Healdsburg. There are trailheads located on the northwest side at a dog park and the east side on Hilltop Rd. I used the dog park side of the mountain as Andrew had, though my route was slightly shorter by starting to the right and avoiding the drop to the old water tank down by the dry creek. The trail leads to a road l which will eventually wind its way to the summit in about a mile, a nice, pleasant hike through mixed rewood and oak forest. No real views from the summit.

Peak 1,219ft

These last three summits are all found along Skaggs Springs Rd, on the south side of Lake Sonoma. Peak 1,219ft lies on private property, about a quarter mile from the pavement. There's very little parking available anywhere on this road. I parked up against an old gate leading to a little-used ranch road. A short walk along the road and a shorter walk cross-country through a forest leads to the summit, no views. Interestingly, the pine trees in the forest are all the same age, about 20-30ft in height, perhaps planted after a fire.

Peak 2,140ft

This summit is found adjacent to the roadway. A very short but steep climb up the embankment gets one to the summit. No fence to hop here.

Peak 1,740ft

This summit is located on an active vineyard though it can't be seen from the roadway. A climb up another steep embankment gets one out of view and some short hiking through brush and forest to reach the vineyard boundary. They have a perimeter fence to keep deer out, probably not easy to scale without damaging it. Luckily, I found a section of the fence dilapidated under some trees and thick-ish brush that let me onto the property without having to go over any fencing. The highpoint is found several hundred feet from the boundary, unfortunately the rows don't go in the direction one would prefer to get directly up to the summit. Walk around the permeter, pick a likely row, hike to the top and call it good. The dark purple grapes were ripe and rather sweet.

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This page last updated: Thu Nov 7 18:53:42 2019
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