Visitors to Sonoma County are often surprised to learn that California redwoods are a common sight. You can hike, bike and even horseback ride through redwoods; ride a zipline through a thick redwood forest; visit a state park protecting a large grove of original-growth redwood trees; camp near redwoods; drive down redwood-lined roads--and more.
Here are a few ways for you to enjoy California redwoods in Sonoma County:
Zipline through a redwood forest: Enjoy the thrill of “canopy cruising” with Monte Rio's Sonoma Canopy Tours, flying from tree to tree above the earth on ziplines. Wearing a comfortable, specially-designed harness, you’ll zip on cables from one aerial platform to the next, taking in breathtaking views as you go; at one point you’ll “fly” into an old growth redwood forest with trees more than 700 years old. The guided tour features seven zip lines, two sky bridges, a majestic spiral staircase, a rappel, and the unparalleled beauty of California’s coastal redwoods.
Visit a park devoted to California redwoods: Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville is a living reminder of the magnificent redwood forest that once covered this area. In the 805-acre park you'll hike trails surrounded by amazing trees that live to be 500-1,200 years old, grow to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and can approach nearly 400 feet in height. Be sure to take a selfie while embracing a tree at the Discovery Trail's tree-hugging platform. Top it all off by bringing a picnic to relax and feast 'neath the redwoods.
Hike the redwoods: At 5,092 acres, Trione-Annadel State Park has a lot to offer, including lots of redwood trees. Situated on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa, it’s home to a hilly terrain that supports--aside from redwoods--seasonal streams, meadows, grasslands, a 26-acre lake, dense chaparral, volcanic rock formations and undisturbed northern oak woodlands. More than 40 miles of multi-use trails geared to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders show off redwood trees in a variety of settings. Other hikes where trails wend through redwood trees include Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Jack London State Historic Park.
Camp beneath redwood trees: The campground at Gualala Point Regional Park nestles under redwood trees beside the Gualala River and is within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean; it includes drive-in and walk-to sites, and sites reserved for hikers and cyclists. This stunning park offers wonderful ocean views, a vast expanse of white sandy beach and dunes, and a summertime sandspit at the river’s mouth.
Drive the Bohemian Highway: This 10-mile road constitutes one of the most scenic drives in the state, winding through towering redwoods, gorgeous pastures, rocky ravines, and three charming townships--Freestone, Occidental, and Monte Rio--each with its own vibe. Along the way you can stop at organic farms and wineries, specialty nurseries, and innovative shops and restaurants.
Ride a horse through redwoods: Triple Creek Horse Outfit offers guided rides at Jack London State Historic Park along 20+ miles of trails, where you’ll encounter many redwoods, old growth oak woodlands, past ancient winery ruins, and you’ll often be in sight of premium vineyards.
Spend the night in lodging under the redwoods: Guerneville’s Fern Grove Cottages nestles among those towering trees, and is situated near the Russian River (many cottages have fireplaces). The Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio, built in 1906, offers great views of the Russian River and redwoods and has a charming restaurant onsite.
Go wine tasting amidst the redwoods: Enjoy bubbly at Korbel Champagne Cellars, in the heart of the Russian River's redwoods. Take a tour through the historic champagne cellars and the history museum, ending with a tasting of its finest wines. You can also explore the Korbel Rose Garden, which features more than 250 varieties of antique roses, as well as about 1,000 other types of flowers.
Picnic in redwoods beside the Russian River: Beautiful, peaceful, and adjacent to the Russian River, Healdsburg’s 305-acre Riverfront Regional Park provides picnic tables and BBQ pits in a shady redwood grove (the Park is home to 15 acres of redwood forest). The picnic site overlooks two small man-made lakes where you can fish for large mouth bass, and paddleboard rentals are available on weekends. You'll also find a volleyball court, horseshoe ring, and trails that accommodate handicapped users.
Play golf among redwood trees at Northwood Golf Course.
Find the guide to Sonoma County's Redwoods Area here.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.