Bennett Valley-Sugarloaf Ridge-Valley of the Moon-Sonoma Mountain

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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Today’s route heads north from Petaluma for the climb up Crane Canyon to Bennett Valley. It meanders around the quiet country back roads in the Sonoma region known as Valley of the Moon for the out & back climb up Adobe Canyon to the summit at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. It continues on another small loop around the Valley of the Moon to Henno and Dunbar Rd to Sonoma Valley Park. The ride climbs out of the valley from Glen Ellen to the summit of Sonoma Mountain on Sonoma Mountain Rd and drops down from the ridge on Pressley Rd for the return to Petaluma.

We begin the ride from Lucchesi Park in Petaluma.

E Washington St leads us out from the residential neighborhood to the outskirts of town towards the airport and golf course.

The flat terrain on Adobe Rd takes us north through the open country ranches and agricultural fields to Penngrove.

The turn onto Davis Ln and Railroad Ave is a quiet detour off the main road; it climbs up around the back country through a scattered ranching community and exits out onto Petaluma Hill Rd.

We head north on Petaluma Hill Rd for the next 3.5 miles; the flat terrain goes through the expansive farm and ranchlands from Penngrove to Cotati and Rhonert Park.

Crane Canyon Rd runs between Taylor Mountain and Sonoma Mountain; the flat road leads up to the mile long climb through the canyon with an average grade of 9.1%.

The road name changes to Grange Rd as you near the summit; it continues along with a short rolling climb followed by a one mile descent into Bennett Valley.

We head east on Bennett Valley Rd; this road leads us through the beautiful valley vineyards and residential community at the foothills of Bennett Mountain. Aside from Hwy 12, this road is also a busy thoroughfare for traffic to and from Santa Rosa and Valley of the Moon.

The road continues through the valley on gentle rolling terrain as it goes pass the hillside vineyards and ranch homes along Matanzas Creek.

The road kicks up for a short 0.2 mile climb with an average grade of 8.5% followed by super bumpy shady descent on a narrow two lane road-watch out for the potholes!

At the Sonoma Creek crossing, we turn north onto Warm Springs Rd; this less- traveled road follows alongside the creek under a canopy of trees through a small ranching community and Morton’s Warm Springs Resort.

The turn onto Lawndale begins with a short steep climb followed by a second small climb up through the scenic hillside vineyards and a quick descent.

The road turns right for a gentle climb to the top of the hill; it’s 0.8 mile with an average grade of 4.5%. Lawndale drops down through the valley vineyards and orchards around Kenwood to CA-12.

We head east on CA-12 for a short half plus mile; this is a busy road with a wide shoulder area.

Adobe Canyon Rd is a gorgeous out & back stretch to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park; it’s 3.5 miles which equals to a 7 mile round trip. The road begins on flat terrain through the vineyards at Kaz Winery and along the valley estate homes up to the first right hand turn at Baker Rd.

The road goes along Sonoma Creek on a gentle uphill through the scattered residential creek side homes for the next pretty 1.7 miles under a dense canopy of trees.

The road narrows as you near the Goodspeed Trail head and dramatically kicks up as it enters the state park with an average grade of 8.5% and steep sections with 10-13% grades! The 1.1 mile climb gains close to 500′ to the summit at the ranger station.

We make a brief stop at the Sugarloaf Ridge Visitor Center.

It’s a fun twisty descent back down the mountain to CA-12.

We stay on CA-12 E to our lunch stop at the Kenwood Market at Kenwood Village. There is a nice shady picnic area in the middle of the parking lot.

CA-12 E from Kenwood takes us to Warm Springs Rd.

Warm Springs Rd south from Kenwood to Glen Ellen is 5.1 quiet scenic miles; it’s a wonderful detour off the busy CA-12.

We continue on a loop through the less traveled roads around Valley of the Moon on Henno Rd to Henno Ranch Rd and Dunbar. The gentle climbs on these roads meander along the valley ranches and vineyards to the upscale residential homes around Dunbar Elementary School.

Dunbar Rd exits back onto CA-12 for a short 0.4 mile roll to Sonoma Valley Regional Park.

The loop around Valley of the Moon continues with a gorgeous 1.3 mile ride through the park with dense oak woodlands on a paved trail. The trail exits onto Arnold Dr at the SW side of the park.

Arnold Dr leads us to a stop at the Glen Ellen Village Market. It’s a great place to stop for food, restrooms, ice and cold drinks!

We exit through Glen Ellen on Arnold Dr and head west on Warm Springs Rd; the rolling terrain through the residential neighborhoods leads to Sonoma Mountain Rd.

Sonoma Mountain Rd is a single lane road with minimal to no traffic; this less traveled road is wonderful for cycling with fantastic scenery-oak woodlands, meadows, hillside vineyards and distant mountain vistas! The climb up Sonoma Mountain begins immediately with gradient ranges of 4-7%.

At Emery Rd, Sonoma Mountain Rd tilts up to steep grades of 10-12% for about 3/10ths of a mile and drops down to lesser grades of 5-8% to the first high point at Waldrue Heights.

The road levels out for a short distant as it winds through the upper meadows and vineyards before dropping down to Enterprise Rd.

After passing Enterprise Rd, Sonoma Mountain Rd kicks up again for another climb up to the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. It’s 1.2 miles with an average grade of 6.4% and a steep section with 10-13%.

The road continues on for a few more gentle rolling climbs to the mountain top vineyards and ranches before descending through the redwoods to Pressley Rd.

Pressley Rd climbs up to the top of the ridge for 0.7 mile with an average grade of 3.5%.

The road drops down from the ridge with phenomenal views of the valley below!

The stop at Crane Creek Regional Park offers fantastic views of the open valley meadows and surrounding vineyards.

Pressley Rd name changes to Roberts Rd/Roberts Ranch Rd at the Copeland Creek crossing to Petaluma Hill Rd.

We head south on Petaluma Hill Rd; the straight flat run leads us back to the town of Penngrove to Old Redwood Hwy.

Ely Rd N takes us up and over the hill from Penngrove to the residential subdivisions in Petaluma. Sonoma Mountain Pkwy continues through the neighborhoods to E Madison Rd and Novak Dr.

This is a fantastic ride from Petaluma to Valley of the Moon and back. The cool shady climbs up Adobe Canyon Rd and Sonoma Mountain Rd made up for the relatively high temps in the Sonoma region. Try out these roads less traveled and enjoy the peaceful calm of the mountains!

Garmin Stats:
62.37 Miles with 4312′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1166′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Moderately hilly with a few steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and warm with temps ranging from the high 50’s to the high 90’s. NW winds with 52% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile

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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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