So the whole family’s visiting and Muir Woods is full? Good thing it has a doppelganger! Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve near Sonoma County’s Russian River is an 805-acre park that’s 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. The marquee redwoods are found on the 1.5-mile (round-trip) 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!
BULLFROG BONUS: Post-redwoods, you can leapfrog to Austin Creek State Recreation Area, located about 2.5 miles above Armstrong Woods. Austin Creek has miles of hiking trails and a 24-site campground set high in the rugged rolling landscape of woodlands and grassland flooded in golden hues on sunny days. A scenic viewpoint marked by two picnic tables overlooks a panorama of mountains unfurling as far as the eye can see, a particularly sublime setting at sunset. One caveat: The road to Bullfrog Campground is narrow, steep, and winding and has some blind turns. Uphill drivers have the right of way. Bullfrog Campground has some reservation sites and some first-come, first-served sites.
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is located 2 miles north of Guerneville on Armstrong Woods Rd. Austin Creek State Recreation Area is about 2.5 miles further up the road. $8 entry. Dog-friendly on paved roads only.