Hood Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve

1450 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa

  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Camping
  • Equestrian Trails
  • Hiking/Walking Trails

Safety Alert: Trails are rugged. Always travel with another person. Be sure to bring sufficient water and appropriate clothing for weather changes.

Hours: 7:00 a.m. to sunset.

Parking: $7 per vehicle for day use. $1 per person (vehicles with 10 or more people)

North Entrance: 3000 Los Alamos Road, Santa Rosa. Access to the northwest portion of the park is through Los Alamos Road, a winding and narrow road. RV's and vehicles with trailers should use extreme caution. The driveway to the lower parking lot has been reconstructed and is now in use.

Southwest Entrance: 1450 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa. Access to the southeast portion of the park is via the Pythian Road Trailhead. It is located 1.3 miles up the North side of Pythian Rd., off Highway 12. To reach the horse trailer parking lot, drive .5 miles up Pythian Road off Hwy 12 and turn left onto Eliza Way. Continue 600' to equestrian parking between the two brick buildings.

Dogs: Permitted on leash no longer than 6 feet. License required.

Ranger Phone: (707) 539-8092

The park consists of 1,750 acres of wilderness with outstanding hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. On a clear day, park visitors may see the Golden Gate Bridge from Gunsight Rock and the Valley View Trail. Most trails are for experienced hikers in good physical condition.

Safety Alert: The trails are rugged. Always travel with another person. Be sure to bring sufficient water and appropriate clothing for weather changes.

Hood Mountain Regional Park contains 19 miles of trails, our most extensive trail system. Trails climb through forests, over meadows, and cross several creeks. Terrain is challenging, but the effort is rewarded with views of  both the Sonoma and Napa sides of the Mayacamas Mountains as well as views of Bay Area landmarks on clear days. Trails are strenuous, so please plan for ample time to complete hikes. Hikes may be extended by connecting to trails in adjacent Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. (Leashed dogs are welcome at Hood Mountain, but they are not allowed on Sugarloaf trails.)Equestrians also are welcome at Hood Mountain, with horse trailer parking off of Pythian Road 1 mile southeast of the main Pythian Road trailhead. Livestock water is available in the horse trailer parking lot and in Orchard Meadow. Hood Mountain includes several walk-in campgrounds available by reservation. 


General Info

  • Three environmental campsites are available in remote settings reached by hiking approximately 2 miles from parking areas. Sites include tables, food lockers and tent pads. Primitive toilets are nearby. Potable water and electricity are not available.
  • Sites are for tent camping only and are not accessible by car or RV. Two individual sites near Merganser Pond are reached via the Pythian Road entrance. One individual site and one group site along Azalea Creek are reached via the Los Alamos Road entrance.
  • Campfires and barbecues are not allowed, but cooking stoves are permitted. Trash service is not available, so garbage must be packed out.

Rates

  • The individual site rate is $20 per night for up to four people.
  • The group site rate is $225 per night for up to 50 people. 
  • Non-refundable reservation fees apply. Cancellation fees may apply.
  • Discounts and promotional offers are not available.

Rules

  • Hood Mountain campsites must be reserved by calling (707) 565-2267 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or visiting Regional Parks' office at 2300 County Center Drive, Suite 120A, in Santa Rosa between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Hood Mountain campers must check in at Spring Lake Regional Park's Newanga entry station before driving to Hood Mountain. At Hood, they will park at the Pythian Road or Los Alamos Road entrances, depending on the campsite. Campers must remain within designated areas after sunset.
  • Campers may stay up to four consecutive nights. Dogs on leash and horses are allowed.

Detailed camping and reservation information>

Trails Challenge

Hood Mountain Regional Park

This park is featured in the Sonoma County Trails Challenge, which invites you to get out and get active by hiking five of 15 routes highlighted in the updated Trails Challenge guidebook. Submit a trails log when you finish all five hikes and get a free Trails Challenge gift!

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Park Notes

  • This 1,700-acre wilderness park in the Mayacamas Mountains is 5 miles east of Santa Rosa, on the edge of the Sonoma Valley. At 2,730 feet, Hood Mountain is the highest peak between the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Its “Gunsight Rock” outcropping offers stunning views of Sonoma Valley and Bay Area landmarks beyond.
  • The park has 19 miles of trails and two backpacking areas and features the headwaters ofSanta Rosa Creek and a unique serpentine forest.
  • The park has two entrances about 8 miles apart—on Los Alamos and Pythian roads—and also can be reached by trails in adjacent Sugarloaf Ridge State Park on Adobe Canyon Road. Portable restrooms are located in the parking lots. No drinking water.

 Trail Notes

  • Hood Mountain’s trails climb through forests and canyons, over meadows, past ponds, and across several creeks. Terrain is challenging, but efforts are rewarded with grand views, including far-off views of the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Give yourself ample time and hike with a partner.
  • The routes featured here provide an opportunity to experience some of the park’s most striking features, including Gunsight Rock, the origins of Santa Rosa Creek, a pygmy forest, and the linkages to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and its Grandmother Tree.
  • The Gunsight Rock overlook lies just southwest of Hood Mountain’s summit.

4 Options for Hiking Hood Mountain

  1. NEW Los Alamos Road to Santa Rosa Creek

    3000 Los Alamos Road, Santa Rosa

  2. Los Alamos Road to Grandmother Tree/Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

    3000 Los Alamos Road, Santa Rosa

  3. NEW Pythian Road to Pygmy Forest

    1450 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa

  4. Adobe Canyon Road to Gunsight Rock

    2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood

PDF fileView larger image of Hood Mountain Trails Challenge Map Los Alamos RoutesNEW Option 1 - Los Alamos Road to Santa Rosa Creek

Suggested Trails: Hood Mountain Trail to Alder Glen Trail to Santa Rosa Creek Trail  
Length: 2.2 miles round trip
Degree of difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 757 feet

Trail Directions to Santa Rosa Creek

  • This is a great hike for a warm day as it follows the headwaters and pristine upper reaches of Santa Rosa
    Creek, where you can dip your toes and splash in the water. From the Los Alamos Road parking lot, descend the main trail—Hood Mountain Trail. Pass a few picnic tables and turn left on Alder Glen Trail.
  • Explore this shaded canyon, rockhopping over the creek at two crossings. After the second crossing, follow the trail uphill, to the right to a junction with Hood Mountain Trail. Turn left onto Hood Mountain Trail.
  • Hood Mountain Trail leads you downstream, leaving the creek and climbing a bit, then opening onto Homestead Meadow, where you’ll find two picnic tables.
  • Go right on Santa Rosa Creek Trail, just past the picnic tables, and enter a tranquil riparian paradise with pools of cold, clear water. You’ll cross a footbridge, and the trail will dead-end after about a half mile. Return the way you came.

Los Alamos Road Driving Directions

  • From central Santa Rosa, drive east on Highway 12 toward Kenwood, turn left on Los Alamos Road and drive 5.5 miles to the park entrance. (Note: sections of this road are narrow and winding. Trailers and RVs are not recommended.) Parking $7 or free for Regional Parks members.

PDF fileView larger image of Hood Mountain Trails Challenge Map Los Alamos RoutesOption 2 - Los Alamos Road to Grandmother Tree/Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Suggested Trails: Hood Mountain Trail to Quercus Trail (McCormick Addition) to Headwaters Trail to Grandmother Tree Trail 
Length: 5 miles round trip
Degree of difficulty: Moderately strenuous
Elevation Gain: 700 feet

Trail Directions to Grandmother Tree

  • From the parking lot, follow Hood Mountain Trail toward Santa Rosa Creek. Turn left at the McCormick Ranch/Sugarloaf Ridge sign onto Sugarloaf’s “Quercus Trail.” Follow it about 1.5 miles and go left on Headwaters Trail to the Grandmother Tree, an ancient coast live oak on a ridgeline with beautiful views. Return same way.

Los Alamos Road Driving Directions

  • From central Santa Rosa, drive east on Highway 12 toward Kenwood, turn left on Los Alamos Road and drive 5.5 miles to the park entrance. (Note: sections of this road are narrow and winding. Trailers and RVs are not recommended.) Parking $7 or free for Regional Parks members.

PDF fileView larger image of Hood Mountain Pythian Road Entrance Trails Challenge MapNEW Option 3 - Pythian Road to Pygmy Forest

Up: Lower Johnson Ridge Trail to Panorama Trail to Hood Mountain Trail to Upper Johnson Ridge
Down: Upper Johnson Ridge to Orchard Meadow Trail to Panorama Ranch Trail to Lower Johnson Ridge Trail
Length: 6.7 miles round trip 
Degree of difficulty: Strenuous 
Elevation Gain: 1,260 feet

Trail Directions to Pygmy Forest

  • From Pythian Road’s upper parking lot, take the Lower Johnson Ridge Trail. After a short, steep road walk, the trail veers left and switchbacks uphill. After hopping seasonal Hood Creek, hook right to stay on Lower Johnson Ridge Trail and keep switchbacking uphill.
  • At the next trail intersection, go straight onto Panorama Ranch Trail. At the Orchard Meadow Trail intersection, turn left to stay on Panorama Ranch Trail.
  • You’ll soon leave the mixed conifer forest and enter a pygmy forest of stunted Sargent cypress, manzanita, and coyote brush. Climb steeply uphill and stay right to keep on the trail at an intersection with an unmarked service road. You’ll come to a rocky outcrop on your left with a scenic view of the pygmy forest - a great picnic spot.
  • Continuing on, go right on Hood Mountain Trail. Notice the heights of trees as you gradually leave the pygmy forest.
  • Go right on Upper Johnson Ridge Trail. You’ll soon reach your hike’s highest point and begin switchbacking downhill.
  • Just past the Hendrickson homestead site, go right on Orchard Meadow Trail, then left on Panorama Ranch Trail. From here, retrace your route to the Pythian Road trailhead via Panorama Ranch and Lower Johnson Ridge Trail.

Pythian Road Driving Directions

  • Pythian Road entrance: From central Santa Rosa, drive east on Highway 12 toward Kenwood. Turn left on Pythian Road and drive 1 mile to the marked park entrance on your right. Parking $7 or free for Regional Parks members.

PDF fileView larger image of Hood Mountain Trails Challenge Nattkemper RouteOption 4 - Adobe Canyon Road to Gunsight Rock

Suggested trails: Goodspeed Trail to Nattkemper Trail to Gunsight Rock
Length: 7 miles round trip 
Degree of difficulty: Strenuous 
Elevation Gain: 1,900 to 2,100 feet

Trail Directions to Gunsight Rock

  • Enter Sugarloaf Ridge State Park on Adobe Canyon Road.
  • Drive 2.3 miles to the dirt parking area on the left and head out on the Goodspeed Trail. After 2.1 miles, the trail crosses into Hood Mountain Regional Park and becomes Nattkemper Trail.
  • Follow Nattkemper for another 1.2 miles and turn left for .2 miles to reach Gunsight Rock.
  • Return the way you came.
  • Or make a one-way thru-hike from Adobe Canyon Road over Hood Mountain to Hood’s Pythian Road parking area by riding the “Sugar-Hood Shuttle” on select summer weekends. Go to the events calendar at SugarloafPark.org for hours and details.

Adobe Canyon Road Driving Directions

  • Adobe Canyon Road entrance: From central Santa Rosa, drive east on Highway 12 toward Kenwood. Turn left on Adobe Canyon Road and drive to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park’s lower parking area, which is a trailhead pull-out on the left side of the road. Parking $8 or free with annual Sugarloaf parking pass.

View Map and Get Directions

Reserve a Campsite   

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Take the Challenge

Get Your Guidebook

Download the free 2017 Trails Challenge guidebook, hike 5 or more trails & get a free t-shirt!

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Trails at a Glance

* New Itineraries and the 50-Mile Challenge for Regional Parks' 50th!

PDF filePark Map 26.3 MB (PDF)

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