AAA/Greg Weekes
AAA/Greg Weekes
AAA Editor Notes
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is 2 mi. n. on Armstrong Woods Rd. Ohio native Col. James B. Armstrong was one of the very few 19th-century lumber barons who appreciated the majesty as well as the commercial potential of coastal California's redwood groves. He settled in Sonoma County in 1874 and began purchasing land north of Guerneville covered with dense redwood forest, in part to control the amount of acreage that was being reduced to tree stumps (inspiring Guerneville's original name, Stumptown).

Thanks to Armstrong's foresight, visitors are able to enjoy the beauty of these incredible trees. Although other walking trails thread through the reserve, the Redwood Discovery Trail that begins at the visitor center includes the high points. The natural setting is every bit as impressive as what you'll see at Muir Woods National Monument, but Armstrong Woods is less well-known and not nearly as crowded, which makes the experience even more magical.

Notable specimens, all marked, include the Parson Jones Tree, at 310 feet the tallest in the grove, and the Colonel Armstrong Tree, estimated to be more than 1,400 years old. There are few birds and wildlife species in the moist, deep-shade environment of a redwood forest, but you might spot creatures like the banana slug, which lives on the forest floor and has a shape and coloration that resembles the tropical fruit.

Except for service animals, dogs are permitted only on paved roads and must be on leash.

Picnicking is permitted. Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.

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