Thwarted Walking at Hudeman Slough

We hoped we’d found another flat walk in the low lands along the bay. Off of Hwy 121 south of Sonoma is Ramal Rd. and on an unmarked road is Hudeman Slough, a Regional Park boat launch. Technically, the address is 28020 Skaggs Island Rd. – we found it as the only road that wasn’t a  driveway or had private warnings and was headed to the bay.

Hudeman Slough Boat Launch

The road has moved with the earth and was a wild ride of roiling bumps. By the time we got to the boat launch area we both said “Deliverance” in reference to the creepy backwater movie of the 70s. The thought passed, but it made us less daring.

Hudeman Slough view North

One trail is marked private and the other one didn’t look very enticing. Parks website said the boat launch is locked (it wasn’t) and does not have trails.

Hudeman Slough

The area is a Wildlife Refuge, so after enjoying the quiet and looking down on the slough we thought it suited the wildlife better than us.

Hudeman Slough overpass

We did try another road, where I’d seen signs, but when Mike saw ‘private’ and we heard gunshots, we thought we’d move along and try again when LandPaths or someone could cover for us.

See you on some other trail!

Lynn Millar

Photos by Mike Millar

PS: Last time we skirted the Bay on Hwy 37, we noticed lots of dirt in upheaval, the dikes are being removed to turn the agricultural land back to wetlands. Maybe there’ll be trails at Cullinan Ranch. And more places for wildlife.

Hudeman Slough Launch with Mt Tam

Update 2014: New walking sites possible. Click links below.

Sonoma Hiking Trails

Napa/Sonoma Marsh Restoration

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12 comments on “Thwarted Walking at Hudeman Slough

  1. You’re fearless AND sensible. Good combo. Nice pics eventhough the walk was thwarted by Private Property. I’m with Wood Guthrie “….but on the other side, it didn’t say nothin. That side is made for you and meeee.”

  2. The devices used to scare the birds off the grapes sound like gunshots, but I don’t know if you were near any vineyards at the time. I was intending to ride my bike over that bridge out on to the island, but the signs said no public access?

    • Thanks John. There were some vineyards nearby – maybe the sound was for the birds, but it spooked us. Yes, signs say no access over the bridge – not sure you can go much further in that direction. The other road that said private RR xing – was that RR xing only or not down the road? Great place to ride with few cars but the road is pretty rough – think agility ride.

  3. When I was a young man back in the early 70s we used to hunt that area using the dock as a launch point. There was a parking area near the launch ramp, even then you needed to double lock vehicles and trailers. At that time Skaggs island was still patrolled by the military. The problem always was its so isolated and difficult to watch consistently.’

    • Thanks for the story. It did look a little dicey – but I like the feel of wild and sad ‘development.’ I should go on a birdwalk there to see more. And I await more trails around the restored wetlands. – Lynn

  4. I tried driving over the bridge today and a guy in a truck came racing after me, went around me, stopped and got out waving his hands saying “TURN AROUND! THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY!” I said I would ask the sheriff about that…. as far as I know these are now public lands with public access and I wanted to try to drive to Wingo since the other direct road there was blocked by a locked gate at the pump house on Redding Road.

    • Wow! I would find that scary. I remember the bridge just after the boat launch said ‘private’ or State property…our state does not always mean public. I’d love to know what you find out or where the public access info is. – thanks, Lynn

  5. Do you not understand the restoration projects ongoing in that area? There are miles of amazing trails already in the Napa-Sonoma marshlands and more to come. Kayaking and hiking around these sloughs is magical. These are beautiful and sensitive wetlands that have been being restored for the last twenty years.

    No one is trying to thwart you- there are people down the road (and at the vineyards) trying to get work done. Skaggs Island Road leads only to the marsh restoration project. Are you and giulia intending to volunteer, or just trying to assert your right to go anywhere you please?

    http://www.napa-sonoma-marsh.org/overview.html

    The gunshots are propane cannons. They are fired when the grapes ripen to keep the crows from the fruit. This is wine country.

    I always enjoy learning at least a little something about an area before I go exploring.

    • Thank you for your comment and link. I have added it to the post along with one Sonoma Hiking Trails. I also updated the link to the restoration at Cullinan Ranch.

      Please note that this post is from 2012. I do not always have a chance to update each post (one of over 270) – this is not a regular website. My observations are from a visit at a particular point in time. I revisit places and may come away with a different experience.

      This post was to Hudeman Slough and while it’s a great place to launch a boat, walking locations were either marked private – or it was unclear if walking was okay. My blog is about walking and I do not encourage my readers to walk on private property or in closed parks.

      As to the other spot we stopped it was also unclear from signs if walking was permitted and the cannons were unsettling. As one reader pointed out they are to scare the birds. (Cows are restrained by fences.)

      With the changes there, perhaps I will walk in the area again. But the cannon shots do not make it a place I want to be – as the raceway noise discourages me from walking near Hwy 37 and the track. I would rather walk near the Sonoma Marin Marina or along the Napa or Petaluma Rivers. Please visit my bay sites at Bay Trail. http://backtowalking.wordpress.com/places/bay-trail-walks/

      I try to thank the people who care for the trails and the restoration of the wetlands. My apologies to them if I have overlooked anything.

      Lynn

  6. Yes. And they were thwarting me. Public lands mean just that. Vineyards are not part of “restoration” projects in my mind. I’m a third generation Sonoman so I am quite aware of the agricultural/environmental issues currently transpiring in that particular area.

    • Thank you for your comment. I have tried to credit the groups who create and maintain trails – and those trying to restore our wetlands. We all have a stake in finding the line between our agricultural needs and sustaining the environment for as long as we can. – Please see my comment to other reader. – Lynn

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