Hike a loop around beautiful Lake Suttonfield in Glen Ellen
Tucked in charming Glen Ellen and accessed via a pullout parking area along Arnold Drive, Lake Suttonfield pours on the charm beyond the nearby wineries. There’s a lovely and easygoing 2-mile trail that loops around this large reservoir, flanked by impressive oaks, early blooms like popcorn flowers, and —on a clear and sunny day—a primrose sky settling into a tangerine orange hue layered in lavender as the afternoon deepens.
From the parking pullout on the east side of Arnold Drive there are two entrances; one is actually to Sonoma Valley Regional Park. Though immediately adjacent to that park, Lake Suttonfield is state-managed, and technically located on Sonoma Developmental Center land. So you want to take the less formal looking trailhead, with a sign saying Lake Suttonfield (it’s on a fence, and to the right of it is the obvious entranceway)—you'll see a wide paved trail with plentiful open space immediately surrounding it. Follow the path straight and then uphill as it slightly winds to the trail encircling the lake.
Follow the trail counterclockwise and soak in the unfurling views from nearby mountains all the way to Mount Tam. The trail stays close to the water the entire time, so you’ll know which path to stay on.
A few spur trails trace their way to shoreline coves for a little extra tranquility, and to catch a closer look at the resident ducks. Sunlight winks across the water and filters through the artistry of oak branches. This park has a simple beauty and yet holds much biodiversity and an impressive resiliency.
BONUS: Post-hike, there are nearby wineries, including Eric Ross and Benziger Family Winery, as well as great places for a bite to eat (and some chocolate!) at Jack London Village. With football in playoff season, we like the Jack London Pub, where you can grab some good beer and tasty chicken wings, and catch up on the games; it also has a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking the free-flowing creek.
Dog-friendly! Be mindful parking on Arnold Drive; this is a busy road. The pullout is shortly after the gray bridge (you’re likely to see other cars there already).
Bring the Outdoors to Your Inbox
Sign up for our weekly email and stay up to date on where to explore in California.* No spam, that's a funky food!