If Muir Woods has a doppelganger, it’s Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve near Sonoma County’s Russian River. This 805-acre park is home to some seriously old (1,400 years!) and seriously tall (310 feet!) redwoods. Thanks to the forethought of Colonel James Armstrong back in the late 1800s, these majestic beauties were saved from the clear-cutting of the time. Explore the park high and low on a 5.5-mile hike that climbs over 1,000 feet. The East Ridge Trail leaves straight from the entrance station and doesn’t waste any time climbing above Fife Creek and the old-growth redwoods.
Your destination is the Gilliam Creek Trailhead. Here you can loop back down to Fife Creek and save the best part for last: the marquee redwoods on the Pioneer Trail (usually less crowded late in the day). The Colonel Armstrong Tree and Parson Jones Tree are tall and handsome … just don’t call them Muir!
BONUS BEERS: Cool your heels on the patio overlooking the Russian River at Stumptown Brewery in Guerneville. It’s not just about beers like Donkey Punch Bolsch, a thirst-quenching hopped up lager; they also have a menu of burgers, salads, sliders, and sandwiches.
From the visitor center take the East Ridge Trail all the way to Gilliam Creek Trailhead. Come back down Pool Ridge Trail making sure to veer onto the Pioneer Nature Trail to finish your hike through the tallest redwoods in the park. No dogs at Armstrong Redwood State Natural Reserve. Stumptown Brewery’s patio is dog-friendly!