A site saved from the swath of 19th-century logging by a lumberman himself, Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is one of the few remaining old-growth sequoia forests in America. The pristine redwood forest reserve exceeding 800 acres is located 1.5 hours north of San Francisco near the tiny town of Guerneville.
Coast redwoods can live up to 2000 years and reach heights of 350 feet. At approximately 1,400 years old, Colonel Armstrong Tree is the park’s oldest, while Parson Jones Tree measures over 300 feet to claim the title of tallest. Both are located within half a mile of the entrance station.
Tucked into a foggy costal range, Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve sees about 55 inches of rain annually and can be quite cool. Alternately, the adjacent Austin Creek State Recreation Area and the trails along its oak-lined hilltops can reach 100 degrees in the summer months. Myriad day use picnic areas are available within Armstrong Redwoods; however, camping is only allowed in Austin Creek State Recreation Area.
Park use is free if you enter on foot from the ranger station. Drive-in entry is $8 and allows access to the picnic areas and Bullfrog Campground as well as other areas of Austin Creek. Dogs are welcome only on paved areas, and they are forbidden from most trails to protect the local wildlife. Bikes are permitted on fire roads and the main paved thoroughfare, but they are not allowed on trails.