When logging threatened a rare stand of residential ridgetop redwoods just a few miles west of Occidental, the neighbors of Fitzpatrick Lane banded together. The result: the Grove of Old Trees, 33 hidden acres of towering redwoods and the only privately owned preserve in Sonoma County that’s free to the public. Hike one of two flat loop trails shaped like an upside-down peace sign. All in, it’s a 1-mile jaunt. For the best scenery, head left up the trail from the parking lot through the center of the grove. Sunlight filters down to a lush bed of sword ferns and gnarled roots despite redwood heights reaching 225 feet. (Watch for great horned owls nestled in branches!)
At the next fork, marked “Annie’s Place,” stay left to reach a picnic table and the edge of the woods. Turn right and follow the trail around the grove’s periphery, passing dense vegetation and faded blue lines used to mark trees previously slated for logging. A left at the next intersection gently descends toward Fitzpatrick Lane before a narrow path to the right re-enters the grove. Continue straight to the parking lot to complete the hike.
BONUS EATS: Grab some post-hike grub at either Howards Café Bakery & Juice Bar (open 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekends) or Barley and Hops Tavern (open 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sundays).
From CA-1 N, turn right onto Bodega Hwy. and left onto Joy Rd. for a little over 4 miles. Turn left onto Fitzpatrick Lane and continue for 1.4 miles. A free parking lot that can fit up to six vehicles is on the right of the narrow road. No trail signs after the trailhead, but trails are well developed and easy to follow. Most trails are also suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. Dog-friendly!