Every Sunday morning for years I would be at the “No Name Flat” trailhead at 8 o’ clock sharp (…everyone who knows me knows this means 8:10, at least) to meet up with friends and dogs for the weekly hike around the “Half a Canoe” loop. The hike starts out at elevation with about a half mile approach until you reach the trail proper–at this point you are treated to a spectacular vista over the Warm Springs arm of Lake Sonoma and out West towards the ocean. Turn right here for a gentle 3 mile descent to the lakeside. If you have dogs under voice control there are a few good beachy spots where you can lob a tree limb out for them to fetch.
Now — after a couple hundred yards by the water — this is where the fun begins, a strenuous, steep 15-20 minute climb back up to the ridge. There are shaded picnic tables close to the top which make for a good point to regroup and wait for stragglers, and then it’s an undulating meander along the ridge with more great views and back to the approach.
Depending on how vigorously you bust it out, the hike usually comes out at just under two hours. Avoiding the heat of the day start at 8:00 AM and you might reap the benefit of a gentle marine layer fog, but if you go out in the evening to be back by dark you’ll likely catch a spectacular sunset over the Coastal Range. Call the Ranger Station at the foot of the dam (707) 431-4533 if you want to snag a walk-in or boat-in camp site, or try the Recreation.gov website (1-877-444-6777), for car camping or RV’s at Liberty Glen.