THINGS TO DO
0.12 miles, minimal elevation change
From the parking area, head up wooden steps to an interpretive sign and a trail junction. Walk up the Chinese Gulch Trail (the right fork) to the Rhododendron Loop sign. Turn left at the sign. Follow the trail through a dense stand of rhododendrons. In 10 minutes or less, you’ll be back at the start of the Chinese Gulch Trail and the parking area.
Chinese Gulch/Phillips Gulch Loop
2 miles, 200-foot elevation change
From the parking area, head up wooden steps to an interpretive sign and a trail junction. Walk uphill on the Chinese Gulch Trail (the right fork) passing the Rhododendron Loop sign on your left. Shortly, you’ll be on a high traverse above the road that offers a raven’s eye view of the second-growth redwood forest below. After about 0.3 miles, you’ll cross Chinese Gulch itself, which is lush with ferns and flowering plants. Beyond the gulch, you’ll encounter a sign and a fork in the trail that could take you back to the road. You can either cut off here or continue on the Chinese Gulch Trail for another 0.6 miles, to its easternmost junction with Kruse Ranch Road. From there, head across the road, downhill, and westward on the (signed) Phillips Gulch Trail. In another 1.1 miles, through lots of young redwoods, you’ll be back at the parking area.
Turn right off Highway One at Kruse Ranch Road (near milepost 43). In about a hundred yards, the pavement ends with a warning: “One lane road 1,000 feet ahead. No turn next 4 miles.” Proceed through the reserve at a leisurely pace, with due caution for oncoming traffic and pedestrians. At the end of those 4 miles, you can turn around at Plantation Camp. Retrace your route, or continue to Seaview Road, which provides options for return to Highway One on Timber Cove Road, Fort Ross Road, or Myers Grade Road.
JUST FOR KIDS
On most weekends between May and September, park interpreters and volunteers lead hikes in the Salt Point State Park area. Occasionally, one of these hikes will focus on Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve. For more information, contact the Fort Ross Conservancy.
Help your children learn while visiting any state park by working through an Adventure Guide together. Download the guide online.
Before heading to the reserve, explore the Redwoods Learning Center, set up by Save the Redwoods League. It offers fun, redwood-themed activities, classroom tools, and ways to get involved in redwood protection. Redwoods Bingo, anyone?