Hiking the Solar System at Sugarloaf Ridge

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park may be the only place where you can camp in a beautiful meadow, close to nice clean hot showers, visit a terrific public observatory, and then hike a trail with informative markers placed to scale to show you the relative distances of the planets from the Sun. Very cool.

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The Robert Ferguson Observatory is a wonderful place to learn more about our place in the universe. We happened to be there on a “Solar Observing” day, when they have telescopes set up with specific filters to allow you to view the sun directly and potentially see sun spots and if you’re lucky, solar flares. If you get as excited about astronomy as I do (or even if you are only mildly curious, which I hope you are) time your visit to the park to coincide with one of their solar observing days or star “parties”!

Plus, there are great hiking trails up to Bald Mt and Brushy Peaks, for as much as 10 miles and 2,000 ft total elevation gain. The trails are well maintained, and at the top you can enjoy views of Napa Valley and some nearby vineyards.

At lower elevations, healthy oak forests provide shade in the Sonoma Creek watershed.

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We were fortunate to obtain the sunniest campsite, #15 (first come first served, not reservable) which helped our solar production and provided us with an opportunity to try out our Aluminet shade cloth covers; they do help keep the interior temperature down.

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We are definitely making a return trip to this campground!

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