Hike Armstrong Redwoods

Armstrong Redwoods Hike


From the issue Weekend at Guernie's

Ancient Secret

Some things just get better with age: fine wine, gourmet cheese, Betty White, and California's coast redwoods—the tallest living things on earth and the marquee attraction at Guerneville's 805-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Combine all of these aging delights (OK, not Betty) on a less-traveled 2.2-mile (round-trip) hike up Armstrong Redwood's East Ridge Trail. (See the TIP below for picnic provisions!) Near the start of the hike, a sign reads, "Steep Trail,"—a slight exaggeration for this moderate 400-foot climb that offers a canopy of cool shade, plenty of redwoods, and no crowds. When you reach a lone bench, follow the signs down to the picnic area. Here, young and slender redwoods intermix with their beefier ancestors—up to 1,400 years old! Wander over to the picnic tables by trickling Austin Creek and break for lunch. Finish the hike on the Pioneer Trail passing through a final grove of redwoods.

TIP: Pick up picnic provisions at Big Bottom Market, 2 miles from Armstrong Redwoods. We recommend the Parson Jones turkey sandwich, named after the tallest tree (310 feet!) at Armstrong. Its Havarti cheese and mouth-watering jalapeño jam pair nicely with the Russian River Valley pinot noir.

Parking for the East Ridge Trail is free, located in a lot just outside the park's official entrance gate at 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd. in Guerneville. The park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to one hour after sunset. Big Bottom Market is located in downtown Guerneville at 16228 Main St., and is open Wed.–Sun., 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. No dogs on trails.

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