Please see updated hours below.
Fort Ross State Historic Park
No Drones Allowed in Park
- The noise and sight of drones can alter other people’s enjoyment of nature.
- A drone hovering nearby can feel intrusive and threatening.
- Drones can capture photographs and video without someone’s permission.
- Drones mimic the behavior of predatory birds and can frighten wildlife.
For these reasons State Park units in the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District do not allow launching, landing or the operation of drones on State Park property.
The park is 12 miles north of Jenner on Highway One. From Highway 101 there are two routes to the fort:
Highway 101. Take the East Washington Street exit. Go west (left). Washington turns into Bodega Avenue, which after a few more name changes, turns into Highway 1 North and takes you to Bodega Bay. This route is a straight shot--much easier to drive than it looks on the map. At Bodega Bay, follow Highway 1 North.
From Santa Rosa
Highway 101. Go past downtown exits for Santa Rosa. Just north of town, take the River Road exit. Go west (left). River Road will turn into Highway 116 in Guerneville. Follow 116 West, then follow signs to Highway 1 North towards Jenner and Fort Ross.
From the North
Take Highway 1 from Fort Bragg and go south about two hours drive. We are about 16 miles from Stewart’s Point.
Approximate driving times from:
Santa Rosa -- 1 1/2 hours
San Francisco -- 2 1/2 hours
Sacramento -- 3 1/2 hours
Fort Bragg -- 2 hours
Fort Ross State Historic Park brings attention to the varied stories that have occurred here through the centuries, including the long formation of the coastal natural history, the centuries past and present of resident Kashia Pomo people, the Russian colonization periods (1812-1842), the Ranch era (1842-1972), and the over one hundred year era of this area as a protected resource as a State Historic Park. The park's Visitor Center is an excellent place to start a tour of Fort Ross to become acquainted with the rich natural and cultural history of the area.
Fort Ross was a thriving Russian-American Company settlement from 1812 to 1841. This commercial company chartered by Russia's tsarist government controlled all Russian exploration, trade and settlement in the North Pacific, and established permanent settlements in Alaska and California. Fort Ross was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the North American continent, and was established as an agricultural base to supply Alaska. It was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding, and Russian scientists were among the first to record California’s cultural and natural history. Fort Ross was a successfully functioning multi-cultural settlement for some thirty years. Residents included Russians, Alaska Natives, local Native people, and individuals of mixed Russian and Native ancestry.
Today, the Fort itself consists of several buildings surrounded by stockade walls. The structure of most historical interest is the Rotchev house, an existing building renovated about 1836 for Alexander Rotchev, the last manager of Ross. This is thought to be one of the only remaining original buildings from the Russian period. Several other Russian-era buildings have been reconstructed: the first Russian Orthodox chapel south of Alaska, the stockade, the Kuskov House, the Officials Barracks, the Magazin (Fur Warehouse), and two corner blockhouses. A replica of one of the Russian windmills was also added to the park grounds in 2012.
Following the Russian period, the area was a working ranch with diverse interests in agriculture, livestock, and shipping. Butter and apples were primary exports during the ranch era, and there are tangible relics of this period to be seen at the park today such as the Call House, built in 1878.
The weather on the coast is ever changing: you can expect fog, wind, sun or even rain--sometimes on the same day. It is best to dress in layers. The ground is often wet either from night moisture, fog, or rain, so appropriate shoes are advised.
Parking and Fees:
Entrance fees to Fort Ross are $10.00 per vehicle. If you are 62 years or older the entrance fee is $9.00. If disabled you are eligible for a $5.00 discount with pass. Your register receipt at Fort Ross is good for any STATE park for the remainder of the day. Fort Ross parking lot closes at Sunset. Parking for Fort Ross is found in the large paved parking lot nearest the Fort Ross Visitor Center. Please park in legal parking stalls. We offer additional disabled parking down the dirt road on the way to the Fort. Please follow signage. Please make sure your disabled placard is displayed. Busses and vans can drive through the parking lot and take the dirt road to the Fort Compound itself, unload passengers, and than drive back to the parking lot to park. Buses and vans may not park at the Fort Compound.
Picnics at Fort Ross:
There is no food available at Fort Ross. However, there is a small market north of Fort Ross at the Fort Ross Store. There is also a small market at the Jenner Sea Store south of Fort Ross by approximately 10 miles. There are picnic tables near the Fort Ross Visitor Center parking lot, in the orchard to the left of the Call House and in the Fort Compound.