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Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve

Incredible beauty in a remote part of Mendocino County

Photo by Peter Buranzon
Photo by Peter Buranzon

Park Information

HIGHLIGHTS: Montgomery Woods is one of the more remote redwood parks in California. Once you’ve navigated the 13 miles of twisty road west of Ukiah, you’ll be rewarded by some of the tallest trees in the world.

ACTIVITIES: Montgomery Woods offers picnicking, hiking and botanizing. Expect great trees. There’s no visitor center or campground, but there are new trailhead amenities, thanks to members of Save the Redwoods League.

TRAILHEAD UPGRADES: In November 2010, Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks added new signage, improved parking facilities, ADA-accessible restrooms and picnic tables under the giant trees. Learn more about the trailhead upgrades.

VISITOR CENTER: There is no visitor center at Montgomery Woods SNR.

CAMPGROUNDS: There are no campgrounds at Montgomery Woods SNR.

TRAILS: Montgomery Woods has only one trail: a 2-plus-mile loop following an old fire road that leads to five separate redwood groves that have never been logged. In 2009 Save the Redwoods League began working with the state to identify a new route for the trail that will be drier in the winter and less prone to erosion. To get to the trailhead, take the Orr Springs Road west from Ukiah at exit 549 on Highway 101. Approximately 1.75 miles west of Orr Hot Springs, look for the Reserve sign, restroom and parking lot on the left.

MUST-SEE, UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: A 367.5-foot redwood here was once declared the world’s tallest redwood. It is 10 feet in diameter, and its first branch pops out of the trunk at 190 feet. Montgomery’s once-famous redwood is not marked-you just have to observe and speculate. The Reserve’s other attractions include spawning steelhead and coho salmon in the Big River and some interesting upland areas, with 300 acres of native California oatgrass (Danthonia californica) and a rare stand of Oregon oak (Quercus garryana), that Save the Redwoods League recently helped the Reserve acquire. During their breeding season in early spring, look for orange-bellied California newts on the move.

HIDDEN GEM: Montgomery Woods’ fern forest, a large expanse of 4- to 5-foot-tall giant chain ferns, is one of the less heralded attractions along the Montgomery Woods trail.

FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Parking lot, picnic area, restrooms. Trail to old-growth is steep. 

DOGS: Not allowed.


MORE INFORMATION: Visit Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve (external link) or call the state parks’ Mendocino district office at (707) 937-5804.

Trip Ideas from Our Staff and Friends

EAT: Try eating at the Ukiah Brewing Co. (external link), which offers an organic menu!

Regan Ranoa, Outreach Manager, enjoys the freshly made sandwiches from Schat’s Bakery (external link) in Ukiah.

FAVORITE HIKE: A trail follows Montgomery Creek (external link) upstream to five separate redwood groves that have never been logged. The loop trail is about two miles long and takes about an hour to hike.

FAVORITE PARK ATTRACTION: Enjoy a secluded picnic, with tables provided along the trail.

Regan loves the gorgeous, light blue stream that winds through the redwood groves during the spring.

DON’T MISS: Be sure to watch for the many newts that come out during a rainstorm.

Tell us your favorite stops, hikes, places to eat, and more when visiting this park!

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