Wine-free in Sonoma County: Hiking in Jack London Historic Park

While most cats will recognize Sonoma County as home to one of California’s best-known wine-growing regions, it’s also important to know this area is full of nature, small-town charm, and home to the late Jack London, a popular author amongst all animals. As a traveling cat, I felt an immediate affinity toward Sonoma County and a strong desire to explore more than just the vineyards. When I discovered Jack London Historic Park just outside of Glen Ellen, CA, I practically hopped at the idea of learning more about the acclaimed author who is best known for his exploration of the human-animal bond. After all, what cat did not love reading White Fang and Call of the Wild?

Jack London Historic Park – the Must-do Sonoma County Hike

Sonoma County Hikes - Wolf House at Jack London Park
Wolf House

Located just 8 miles north of Sonoma, California, you won’t waste too much time driving here. There is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle, which feels like a steal once you realize the scale of the park.

Upon entry, the road splits. To the left, you’ll find parking for the trail leading to the Happy House of Walls Museum, Wolf House, and Jack London’s gravesite. I’d recommend starting here.

Walking down the main path, you’ll notice the valley’s natural beauty, which Jack London held so dear. The museum, built after his death is a tribute to the life of the Londons.

Following the main path past the museum, you’ll find the final resting place for Jack and his children. Finally, at the end of the path, you’ll find the most striking feature of the park, Wolf House. Here you can view the grand remains of Jack London’s dream house. You can also read the story of how it tragically burned down right before he was set to move in. 

Jack London Historic Park in Sonoma California
Ruins at Jack London Historic State Park

Once you are done with this side of the park, don’t forget to check out the other side. Here you’ll find London Cottage and ruins from the blacksmith shop. A lovely hike around the outskirts of a working vineyard will take you to the small, yet serene, London Lake. 

You don’t have to know the works of Jack London to enjoy a trip to this historic park. The 47.5-acre plot of land offers easy hikes, historic ruins, and some little-known history about one of America’s most beloved writers. 

Glen Ellen, quintessential Sonoma, California

Before leaving the area, stop at Glen Ellen, where you can explore a prime example of Sonoma Valley living. The town is tiny, with a population of under 800.

I’d suggest grabbing a parking space on Arnold Dr. and strolling through town. Here you’ll find several shops and galleries to explore. Make sure to stop at Les Pascals Patisserie et Boulangerie for some freshly made French pastries. It’s the perfect way to reward yourself for an active morning.  

French pastries in Glen Ellen, CA - Sonoma Valley
French macaroons at Les Pascals

Now that the wine-free portion of your day is complete, it’s time to start tasting that Sonoma wine! There are a few good tasting rooms on the main road in Glen Ellen, including Laurel Glen, Talisman, and Wine Snob.

Make sure to spend some time driving around the valley as well. There is nothing more lovely than sipping wine in the picturesque vineyards of Sonoma County, especially after a morning of hiking through Jack London’s historic ranch.

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