Winter Redwood Hikes in Sonoma County
Hanging out with the world’s tallest living things — redwood trees — is a great thing to do at any time of the year but in early winter a redwood forest’s majestic hush and soaring canopy can transform even a short walk into an unforgettable Sonoma County experience.
Take a hike at one of these Sonoma County redwood groves, and you’ll see what I mean:
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is an 805-acre gem filled with ancient redwood trees, including the 1400-year-old Colonel Armstrong tree and the 310-foot-tall Parson Jones tree. The self-guided Nature Trail is perfect for first-time visitors, and the unusual Discovery Trail features a tree-hugging platform. The park also contains a visitor center, a large outdoor amphitheater, and picnic facilities. If you string Armstrong’s trails together, they’ll add up to about a five mile hike. To put on more miles, take a trail leading into adjacent Austin Creek State Recreation Area, which contains 20 miles of trails (and many redwood trees, too).
Riverfront Regional Park, next to the Russian River, offers 305 acres of beauty and serenity.
A five-mile trail winds through a 15-acre grove of coast redwoods with a picnic grove. You’ll also find two peaceful fishing lakes where you can throw out a line, as well as paddle a kayak, canoe, or stand-up board.
Sonoma Coast State Park, stretching along a stunning 17-mile stretch of the Sonoma County coastline, offers many memorable hikes. Among them is the Pomo Canyon Trail, which wends through a redwood forest along its route. The trail leaves from Shell Beach, situated at about the park’s coastal midway point, and heads east. It crosses Highway 1 and then travels upward into a redwood forest with a waterfall. It’s a moderate seven-mile round trip. The Sonoma Coast SP brochure includes a map with the trail route.
Jack London State Historic Park is home to the “Grandmother Tree” — a redwood tree that’s said to be around 2,000 years old. Fourteen feet in diameter, her bark is spotted with burn spots, and she’s riddled with crevices and crannies, but there’s something regal, enduring, and ultimately humbling about her. A wooden bench invites you to relax and admire her longevity. The trail to the tree is about four miles round-trip, with a bit of up and down.