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Great Escape: Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve

Go for a day or a whole weekend — either way it's the perfect antidote for the stressful week.

Every once in a while, it’s essential to pull ourselves away from work, from the kids, from your computer — or wherever you spend the bulk of your time. Each week at Healdsburg Patch, to make your life a little easier, we bring you one great getaway.

I spent a few days at the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in Guerneville last weekend, and it was exactly what I needed. It’s a simple drive; only 45 minutes from Healdsburg. The seemingly endless canopies of Redwoods and hiking trails are the perfect respite for a weekend, or even a day, away.

Armstrong offers nine different hikes, ranging from a leisurely one mile stroll under a shaded paved trail, to a medium two-mile loop with a 400 foot climb, to a 10-mile back country hike around Bullfrog Pond. Bring a picnic, plenty of water, and make a day of it!

The two main hiking trails are the East Ridge Trail and the Pioneer Trail. I recommend taking the East Ridge Trail and stopping off about two miles up to enjoy the seasonal waterfall. Be sure to stop at the visitor center when you arrive, there’s free maps and a detailed list of each hike route.

The parking is free, but a little limited. During the summer months, Armstrong also opens up for camping.

Directions: Take 101 South and get off at Exit 494 going west towards River Road/Guerneville. Take Mark West Springs Road, which turns into River Road. Then, stay west on River Road; Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve is about a 30 minute drive once you get off the freeway.

Fun Facts about coastal Redwoods: The visitor center hands out free fun information about Redwoods too. Average trees mature trees stand a whopping 200 to 240 feet tall, have diameters of 10 to 15 feet and can live for thousands of years!

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