Abloom with azaleas in spring
HIGHLIGHTS: This 40-acre Mendocino County park lies just outside the Anderson Valley town of Boonville. It has robust stands of large-second growth redwoods, but perhaps its main attraction is the understory shrubs that thrive beneath the big trees: native azaleas. The park burgeons with these flowering relatives of the rhododendron. A nature trail meanders through the park, taking visitors past the finest azalea stands.
ACTIVITIES: This is a small park, so activities are limited. As noted, the primary draw here is the Azalea Trail. Try to time a visit for the spring, when the azaleas are in full, glorious bloom. Faulkner also has a beautiful picnic area.
VISITOR CENTER: None.
CAMPGROUNDS: None. For RVs visiting for the day, the parking area is small, but a small trailer could use a pullout on the roadside.
TRAILS: There are three short trails: The Azalea Trail, the Ridge Top Trail and the Upper Trail. Faulkner is a small park, so all three may be hiked in a short period of time.
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: The azaleas are not only gorgeous – they’re instructive. Faulkner County Park is a prime example of successional growth in the redwood forest. As the trees ultimately mature into a true old-growth forest, the azaleas will thin out from insufficient light.
HIDDEN GEM: This little park is an underappreciated jewel in every sense. The picnic area is especially lovely; plan to include a lunch among the redwoods in your itinerary.
FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: The picnic area is wheelchair accessible.
DOGS: Not allowed.
ENTRANCE FEE: None.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit the park’s webpage or call 707-463-4441.
PLACES TO EAT AND STAY: The Boonville Hotel is regionally renowned for both its accommodations and restaurant. Additional lodgings and restaurants are available in Cloverdale.
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