Perhaps the most remote of California’s 31 redwood parks, this jewel of a natural reserve is a beautiful fern forest that is home to five separate redwood groves that have never been logged. You can access them by walking along a 2-mile loop trail that follows Montgomery Creek. The really dramatic old-growth scenery begins about one third of a mile into the park.
Montgomery Woods is a rarity in that it is home to both of California’s main redwood species, the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendrons giganteum). The former grow along the coast and are the tallest trees in the world; the latter grow at higher altitudes and are older and more massive, though not as tall as the Coast Redwoods. The tallest known tree in the world from 1996 to 2000 grew in Montgomery Woods. Called the Mendocino, it has since been edged out by more recently discovered trees, but remains in the top 10 of the world’s tallest known trees.
Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve is off the beaten track, but once you get there you will experience one of the world’s true natural wonders. Parts of the reserve are somewhat marshy, so it’s not a bad idea to bring along mosquito repellant if you’re visiting during the summer. The park is open for day use only, and there is no fee.
Next Up: #79 – Ukiah Municipal Golf Course