The Bounties of Bouverie

Guided walks at the Bouverie Preserve in Sonoma Valley

Wildlife, wildflowers, and a hidden waterfall! This is VIP stuff! As in, very important place. The 535-acre Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen is a protected sanctuary of diverse ecosystems, plentiful wildlife, and—in spring—a stellar display of wildflowers. The only way to see it all is by joining one of Bouverie’s complimentary guided walks on select Saturdays.

Docents lead groups on a hiking journey across about 3 miles of varied terrain—from shaded woodlands filled with blue, valley, and live oaks to a rich riparian zone, chaparral, redwoods, even a pygmy forest! The higher you go, the better the views of the surrounding wine country hills. Wildflowers like lupine, blue dicks, chamomile, shooting stars, and red larkspur paint the scenery when conditions are prime.

There are over 130 bird species in the area, along with bobcats and gray foxes. You might also spy the nests created by nocturnal dusky-footed wood rats—notorious hoarders of all things bling—especially shiny treasures left out by humans. If you like The Walking Dead, then you’ll love the horsehair worm, a parasite that controls the brain of the potato bug, and is occasionally on display on your hike.

Break for lunch at the preserve’s waterfall, a long, sinewy oasis spilling into a natural grotto that has big life after big rains. The return route features a tranquil creekside ramble and a few other surprises—but we’ll let the docents do the talking from here….

TIP: The guided walks at the preserve are very popular and fill up fast. However, be sure to put yourself on the wait list as cancellations are common. Additionally, the preserve adds guided hikes throughout the year; keep an eye out for their Twilight Hikes in summer (not yet listed on the calendar).

The Bouverie Preserve (Hwy. 12 in Glen Ellen) can be accessed only on weekend Guided Nature Walks on select Saturdays. There is no charge for the hike, but a suggested donation goes towards preservation, conservation, and educational programs of Audubon Canyon Ranch. No dogs. 

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