8:00 AM to one hour after official sunset.
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Armstrong Redwoods SNR - (Open 8:00 am to one hour after official sunset seven days a week)
The serene, majestic beauty of this Grove is a living reminder of the magnificent primeval redwood forest that covered much of this area before logging operations began during the 19th century. Armstrong Redwoods preserves stately and magnificent Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the coast redwood. These trees stand together as a testament to the wonders of the natural world. The grove offers solace from the hustle and bustle of daily life, offering the onlooker great inspiration and a place for quiet reflection. The ancient coast redwood is the tallest living thing on our planet! These remarkable trees live to be 500-1,000 years old, grow to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and stand from 200-250 feet tall. Some trees survive to over 2,000 years and tower above 350 feet. Coast redwoods are classified as temperate rainforests and they need wet and mild climates to survive. The rainfall in Armstrong Redwoods averages 55 inches per year and the trees are often shrouded in a mystical fog that helps to maintain the moist conditions needed for the redwoods to survive. To find out more about these magnificent trees click the link About Coast Redwoods to the right.
The reserve includes a visitor center, large outdoor amphitheater, self-guided nature trails, and a variety of picnic facilities. While you can drive into the park, the best way to experience the dramatic effect of the towering redwoods, is to park in the lot at the park entrance and walk in for free. Donations are accepted at the Visitor Center and at the kiosk entrance. All of the main park features can be found along the Pioneer Nature Trail. This trail is a mile and a half long round trip, is ADA accessible and is mostly flat and level.
Although no camping is available in Armstrong Redwood SNR, there is a campground operated by Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods located in Austin Creek State Recreation Area at Bullfrog Pond Campground (3 miles above Armstrong). Austin Creek SRA is accessed through the same entrance as Armstrong Redwoods. Austin Creek's rolling hills, open grasslands, conifers, and oaks are a beautiful and dramatic contrast to the dense canopy of the redwood grove. For more information go to Austin Creek State Recreation Area. by clicking the link on the right. For online reservations at Bullfrog Pond Campground or any of the backcountry campsites go to www.hipcamp.com
The redwood ecosystem is very fragile. Every effort is being made to preserve and protect this grove but it can only be done with your help. When you visit, please do not disturb or remove any natural features of the park, stay on designated trails and do not cross over the low- level fence line. We hope you enjoy a serene and rejuvenating visit among these inspiring giants.
NOTE: Dogs must be controlled on a leash at ALL times during your visit to your parks. Dogs on leash are only allowed on the main, paved road, in one of the developed picnic areas or within your registered campsite at Bullfrog Pond Campground. Dogs are NOT allowed on any dirt trail or dirt road. If camping, your pet will need to stay in your tent or in your vehicle overnight.
NOTE: Due to limited free parking, busses will be asked to drop their visitors off in the front lot. There is a park and ride located in Guerneville across from Safeway.
FEATURES OF THE GROVE
The Tallest Tree
The Parson Jones Tree is the tallest tree in the grove, measuring more than 310 feet in height. This is longer than the length of a football field. An easy 0.1 mile walk from the park entrance.
The Oldest Tree
The Colonel Armstrong Tree is the oldest tree in the grove, estimated to be over 1,400 years old. It is named after a lumberman who chose to preserve this portion of the park in the 1870s. This magnificent tree is located within an easy half-mile walk from the park entrance.
The Icicle Tree
This tree shows the unusual burl formations often found on redwood trees. Burls can weigh many tons and grow hundreds of feet above the forest floor. Why these growths occur remains a mystery.
The Discovery Trail
This trail offers a handheld rope to follow along, several Braille interpretive panels and a tree hugging platform.
Pioneer Nature Trail
This self-guided nature trail is an easy stroll through the grove and is also wheelchair accessible. Our volunteer trail guides may be available for larger groups through Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods.
Our picnic area is 3/4 of a mile from the park entrance. Grills, tables and restrooms are situated beneath the tall trees and seasonal creeks meander throughout the park during the winter months.
The group picnic area is available on a reservation basis, except on holiday weekends when no reservations or large groups are allowed. Group size is limited to a maximum of 150 people. The reservation fee for the Armstrong Group Picnic Area is $225.00 for groups less than 75 people and $300.00 for groups having 76 to 150 people. There is also a $25.00 permit review fee. There is no electrical service in the picnic area – (Amplified music and generators are not allowed.) Contact Liz Beale at (707) 865-2394 or email@example.com for information about pricing on weddings and other special events in the park.
We offer a beautiful group picnic area for your wedding ceremony and reception venue. Located within spectacular Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, this location can accommodate up to 150 guests and approximately 40 vehicles. The site offers nine large picnic tables, several smaller picnic tables, a large raised BBQ grill and 2 standard BBQ grills, water fountain and nearby restroom facilities. The site has disabled access and parking. No amplified music, generators or electrical hookups are available or allowed. Reservations for this popular facility are accepted any time after December 15th for the following year. We recommend booking early! To reserve the group picnic area for your wedding or reception, please contact Liz Beale at our district office for more information (707) 865-2394 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested Walks and Hikes:
Easy 1 Mile:
Take the Pioneer Nature Trail from the park entrance to the Armstrong Tree and Forest Theater, and then returning via the same route.
Easy 1.7 Miles:
Take the Pioneer Nature Trail from the park entrance to the Armstrong Tree, then to the picnic area, and return.
Moderate 2.2 Miles with a 400' climb:
Take the East Ridge Trail from the front parking lot to the picnic area and return to the entrance via the Pioneer Nature Trail.
Moderate 2.3 Miles with a 500' climb:
Take the Pioneer Trail from the entrance to the Armstrong Tree. Then take the Pool Ridge Trail to the picnic area. Return to the entrance via the Pioneer Nature Trail.
Moderate to Strenuous 3.3 Miles:
This is a combination of the above two hikes. Take the East Ridge Trail from the front parking lot to the picnic area. Then take the Pool Ridge Trail to the Armstrong Tree and return to the entrance via the Pioneer Nature Trail.
Advanced Level Hikes
The following hikes begin in Armstrong Redwoods and wind their way into the rolling hills, forests, and grasslands of Austin Creek State Recreation Area - a dramatic contrast to the cool, moist, redwood grove.
Strenuous 5.6 Miles with 1100' elevation climb:
Take the East Ridge Trail from the front parking lot to the Gilliam Creek trailhead. Loop back down to the grove by taking the Pool Ridge Trail to the Armstrong Tree. Return to the entrance via the Pioneer Nature Trail.
Strenuous 9 Miles with 1500' climb:
Take the East Ridge Trail from the front parking lot to Bullfrog Pond Campground. Return via East Ridge Trail or Armstrong Woods road to the Pool Ridge Trailhead. Take the Pool Ridge Trail back to the grove. Return to the entrance via the Pioneer Nature Trail.
Guided Pioneer Nature Trail group hikes are available by appointment only and are typically offered for larger groups. For further information, contact Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods at 707-869-9177.
All trails are closed by posted order to equestrian use through the winter season. However, when conditions permit, the trails are opened, usually during our peak season in summer. Make sure to call ahead before your visit to find out if the trails are open. Trailers can be parked in our front parking lot or in the east parking lot of the picnic area. No trailers of any type are allowed into the Austin Creek State Recreation Area due to the narrow, one lane, steep and winding mountain road.
Dogs must remain on the paved road and are not allowed on any trails in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Additionally, dogs are not allowed on any trail or dirt road in Austin Creek State Recreation Area. Bicycles are allowed on both the main paved road and on fire roads- no trails. Horses are not allowed on the Pioneer or Discovery Trails, but are permitted on all other trails (when the season is open to horses.). Please respect all private property and no trespassing signs when using the parks, stay on designated trails, and do not cross low-level fencing.
In summer, the weather can be variable. Morning fog can blanket the grove and cool the air while afternoon temperatures can warm up quite nicely. Many trails lead into the upper hills of Austin Creek where temperatures can soar above 100 degrees. Layered clothing, a fully charged cell phone and plenty of water is highly recommended.
In the springtime, wildflowers are prolific, temperatures are mild and the fog is less frequent.
In winter, temperatures drop but remain moderate. Rain nourishes the grove and brings life to the many plants and ferns, turning the understory into a green, lush carpet. A sweater and rain jacket will allow you to enjoy the special tranquility found in the grove as water drops work their magic.
During the 1870's, this area was set aside as a natural park and botanical garden by Colonel James Armstrong, a lumberman who recognized the beauty and natural value of the forests he harvested. After his death, Armstrong's daughter and the Le Baron family mounted an energetic campaign involving public meetings, rallies and car-caravans to direct public attention to the need to preserve this last remnant of the once mighty redwood forest. Their efforts were successful, and in 1917 the County of Sonoma passed an initiative to purchase the property for $80,000.
The grove was managed by Sonoma County until 1934 when the State took over. In 1936 the grove was opened to the public as Armstrong Redwoods State Park. The grove's status was changed to a reserve in 1964 when a greater understanding of its ecological significance prompted a more protective management of the resource.
Available Activities and Facilities at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs