Exploring Jack London State Historic Park (Sonoma)

Recently I went to Sonoma and ran through Jack London State Historic Park. It’s full of history, and I discovered the Ancient Redwood Tree.

Exploring Jack London State Historic Park ancient redwood tree

Located in Sonoma and also known as the Jack London Home and Ranch. In this historic park includes ruins of a house burned down before Jack London was supposed to move in.  It’s a California Historical Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.

Jack London State Historic Park

Jack London State Historic Park History:

Originally, the Jack London State Historic Park was owned by a winery called Kohler & Frohling. Jack London bought it in 1905, and he renamed it Beauty Ranch. He built a small cottage and converted into a home. In 1910, he began building a mansion that he spent over $80,000. In 1913, the mansion was destroyed by a fire. Jack London passed away in 1916.

Exploring Jack London State Historic Park

The Jack London State Historic Park features several historic features: 

  • Winery Cottage
  • House of Happy Walls: The House was created as a small and more formal version of the mansion. It now serves as the visitor museum for the Jack London State Historic Park. 
  • Wolf House ruins: The mansion that was destroyed due to fire.
  • Jack and Charmian London’s grave
  • Ancient Redwood Tree: The Ancient Redwood Tree is estimated to be between 1800-2000 years old.

Jack London State Historic Park

What can do you at the Jack London State Historic Park?

Visit all of the history. Unlike many running parks and trails, there is so much history at the Jack London State Historic Park. Due to COVID, many features are not open but typically there are guided tours as well as viewings of all of the parks features. You can also hike, run, picnic along the miles of trails. They even host weddings! It does cost $10 per vehicle to enter the park. You can find more information here.

Exploring Jack London State Historic Park

Miles of trails at Jack London State Historic Park:

At the park, there are over 29 miles of trails. If you did a 50k, you’d only have 2 miles of overlap. One of my favorite parts is so much different foliage, and you can run through forest, redwood groves, woodlands, and even grassy meadows.  You have a gorgeous view of Sonoma County. Several variations and the elevation vary from 600 to 2300 feet with a mix of fire roads and single track. Keep in mind, dogs are not allowed on the backcountry trails, and you can see a full park map here.

One of my favorite trails is the Ancient Redwood Trail. I actually didn’t even know the Ancient Redwood Trail existed. The Ancient Redwood Tree is 14 feet in diameter and guestimated to be between 1800-2000 years old. It’s also known as the “Grandmother Tree”. I actually had no idea that trees could be that old. After doing more research, I learned that some redwood trees can be over 3500 years old! That particular day shifted my mood wasn’t having a great day, and seeing that tree shifted my mood.

The second time, I went to Jack London State Historic Park, I decided to explore some of the more substantial hills and terrain. I ended up doing the most elevation in a single run (2700 feet) and let me tell you, it was not easy. One of the miles climbs over 700 feet in a single mile. It’s 100% worth it though. 

Jack London State Historic Park

The views from the top of the Ridge Trail are some of the most incredible I’ve ever seen. While you might end up with 10-12 miles, it’s worth it.

Jack London State Historic Park

In all, the Jack London State Historic Park is a beautiful spot, and I can’t wait to run more miles in the park. I look forward to exploring more when it’s open, including a museum tour. The views are some of the most beautiful in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys so that alone is enough to make you want to go! If you are visiting or even local from the Bay Area, I highly suggest it. 

You can see more hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever seen an Ancient Redwood?

What is the last historic spot you’ve been to? What is the best view in your local area?