Day of the Dead Cemetery Tour

45 people came to walk through Mountain Cemetery and hear amateur historian, Fred Allebach tell stories about past Sonomans that now inhabit the cemetery. Not only were the curious hikers entertained with stories about well known pioneers such as Samuel Sebastiani, Mariano Vallejo, and William Montini, they also were introduced to lesser known real estate tycoons, butchers, and even murderers.

Grateful dead folktales were told and Sonoma’s rich history came alive. The funds from this years tour will be used to repair the damage from fire fighting actitivies. If you missed this event and would like to take a self guided tour of the cemetery, pick up the Mountain Cemetery Walking Tour brochure at the Overlook Trail Kiosk written by Fred Allebach and enter the Mountain Cemetery next to the kiosk.


Walk Sonoma History Through Sonoma Mountain Cemetery



Saturday November 4

Two Opportunities: 9:30 am OR 1:00 pm

The Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards invite you to take a lively, informative walk through our historic cemetery with amateur historian Fred Allebach.

Meet cowboys and Indians, ranchers and real estate tycoons, farmers and farriers, carpenters and stone masons, quarrymen, grocers, butchers, bakers, maybe a candlestick maker, and many more!

This fundraising event is limited to 20 participants. Your $35 donation includes the walking tour and small bites. . . complete with googly eyes.

All proceeds go to the Sonoma Overlook Trail Maintenance and Education programs. The Trail is solely supported by private donations. To reserve your spot, email Hope Nisson Indicate time preference.

Raceway Hike

Thanks to all of you hikers who made donations to raise money for the rehabilitation project on the Overlook Trail this past Saturday. Over 100 hikers gathered at Sonoma Raceway for a special hike that offered 360 IMG_0121degree views, wildflowers in bloom and wooly weeders doing their jobs—we even saw some spring lambs frolicking in the still-green grass.

IMG_0147We had a delicious picnic lunch provided by Levy Restaurant.


A huge thank you to Steve Page and his team for the superb job of hosting, promoting, and keeping us all on track over hill and dale.IMG_0139


If you’d like more information about how your hiking on the Overlook is even going to be better. . . go to the information on our rehabilitation project that your donations are going to support.

Signs of Spring

Spring is definitely in full swing. Wildflowers such as lupine and California poppies are in profusion, as are the butterflies that frequent the also prevalent Blue dicks (like the Swallowtail pictured).

The trail is mostly no longer muddy (until the next rain, at least), so now is a great time to get out and enjoy the warmth and the wildlife. Just keep your eyes peeled for rattlesnakes, as they have already been sighted on the trail. Other wildlife to look for include squirrels, deer, lizards, and wide variety of birds, from Red-Tailed Hawks to Red-Shafted Flickers to Great Horned Owls (all of which have been sighted from the trails).

Another sign of spring is, well, a sign. We just replaced the sign at the top of the trail that describes a little of the history of the area and names some of the surrounding sights viewable from the upper meadow. On the Overlook Trail, costs such as these are borne by the volunteer Stewards of the Overlook Trail group, which
collaborates with the Sonoma Ecology Center that serves as our fiscal agent. But anything that costs money to maintain or upgrade the trail and property requires us to raise money through events, donations, etc. If you feel so moved, please click on our “Donate Now!” link in the righthand column. Or, come to our next event at the Sonoma Raceway.

In any case, enjoy all of the sights of spring and stay safe out there!

150 MPH Hike?

Sonoma Raceway Overhead Best New ColorWell, not quite, but don’t miss your chance to be part of the first organized hike on the pristine 1,600-acre Sonoma Raceway property on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. All proceeds from the three-mile hike benefit the Sonoma Overlook Trail.

Steve Page, president and general manager of Sonoma Raceway, will delight us over lunch with some history as to how the raceway property was acquired and what the raceway is doing to protect this environmentally sensitive land.

Email us now to reserve your spot for this signature event! Your $50 contribution includes your participation in the hike, followed by a lovely picnic by Levy Restaurants with sweeping views of the Sonoma Valley. Friedeman Wines has donated their highly acclaimed Lancel Creek Wines to be served with lunch. Come meet the winemaker! Hikers can also participate in a raffle to win a pair of tickets to an upcoming Sonoma Raceway event.

Reservations are required. To reserve your spot or for more information, email


The Cemetery Tour, Back by Popular Demand


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14th, 2015, 10 A.M. to 12:15


Our tour of the Sonoma Cemetery on November 1 proved so popular that we have scheduled another one.

Amateur historian Fred Allebach will lead an informative walk of the Sonoma Mountain Cemetery introducing you to cowboys and Indians, ranchers and real estate tycoons, farmers and farriers, carpenters and stone masons, quarrymen, grocers, butchers, bakers, maybe a candlestick maker and many more!

This fundraising event is limited to 25 participants. The $30.00 donation is a non-refundable, tax-deductible donation that includes the Sonoma Overlook Trail, the walking tour, and a light snack.

In the event of rain, check your email the day of the event as the Tour will be conducted light rain or shine; heavy rain will reschedule the event to Saturday, 11/21 at 10.

Proceeds support the Sonoma Overlook Trail Maintenance and Education programs. The Trail is solely supported by private donations. The walk is sponsored by Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards. To reserve your spot, contact Laurie:

Overlook Fundraiser

by Joanna Kemper

Oh what a beautiful morning for the Sonoma Overlook Trail!

P1000786Haywood Winery hosted a very successful Sonoma Overlook Trail fundraiser last Sunday, September 27th. Fall was in the air, the leaves were turning yellow and a kingfisher flew overhead. Thirty four Overlook Trail donors walked the beautiful terraces of vines that are carved into steeply sloping hillsides. The ambitious amongst us reached the 800 foot elevation, while the less ambitious of us sat by the lake enjoying the peace and quiet and reflected colors of the fall leaves. Although the grapes had already been harvested, there were still a few left …. mmmm tasty …the Haywood’s don’t spray for insects and are happy to leave some for the birds…and walkers!P1000777

Peter Haywood, renowned winemaker, led us on the ramble and spoke about wine, growing grapes, this year’s harvest and about the people who care for the vines. He is rightly proud of the full time Haywood crew and reflected on how the crew’s feel for the land contributes to making great wine.

We returned to the lake together for a refreshing repast donated to us by Sonoma Market, with of course Haywood wines, supplemented with fruit and sweets provided by Hope Nisson, Rosemarie Marks and Laurie Friedeman. Laurie, fundraising Chair for Overlook Stewards says, if you missed this one, come join us November 1st for our Day of the Dead Mountain Cemetery walk and watch for information about the first ever walk on the 1600 acre Sonoma Raceway property in the Spring. To join our mailing list, e-mail to

Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards, an all-volunteer group, maintain the Overlook trail, provide information and docent-led hikes focusing on the trail’s flora, fauna, and history and raise funds for these services. The trail is funded by private donations without tax funds. If you would like to donate to The Overlook Trail, you can do so through our parent organization, the Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC) website and designate the Sonoma Overlook Trail for your donation. Join us next time! — Joanna Kemper, Chair of the Overlook Trail Stewards