Short strolls among remote, majestic redwoods
HIGHLIGHTS: A few miles east of the Sonoma County coastal development of Sea Ranch is Soda Springs County Reserve, a “pocket park” with transcendent natural beauty and great ecological significance. A lot is packed into the 49 acres: magnificent redwood groves, deep mixed coniferous forest, riparian woodlands and a crystalline creek burgeoning with life.
ACTIVITIES: The reserve’s trails offer short, easy strolls and mountain biking through a variety of woodland habitats. It’s also a perfect venue for picnics and unhurried contemplation of the splendor of the natural world. The reserve is an excellent site for birding, particularly in the woods along Soda Springs Creek. Fishing is permitted.
VISITOR CENTER: None.
TRAILS: The reserve only has a half-mile of trails. While the routes may be short, they are lovely, wending through the redwoods and along the creek.
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: Early spring is a particularly good time to visit the reserve. There is ample water in the creek, deciduous trees are budding, wildflowers are blooming, and migrant and native songbirds are nesting.
HIDDEN GEM: Soda Creek shelters a lovely pool during low summer flows that is ideal for swimming.
FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: The restrooms and picnic area are accessible; other areas are partially accessible to wheelchairs.
DOGS: Allowed on leash.
ENTRANCE FEE: None.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit the reserve’s website or call (707) 785-2377.
PLACES TO EAT AND STAY: Lodging and restaurants are available in Jenner, Guerneville and Santa Rosa. A favorite local bakery, the Two Fish Baking Company, is about 8 miles from the reserve in The Sea Ranch.
EAT: Boon (external link), on the main drag, offers fresh seasonal ingredients from Sonoma County.
The River’s End (external site) in Jenner is an upscale restaurant with an unbeatable view.
STOP: For shopping and restaurants, make a quick stop in Guerneville. If you’re taking highway 116 west to the highway 1, then stop at the historic Duncan’s Mills for art and antiques.
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Acres Protected by the League: 48
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