Biking in Sonoma County

Russian River Region

Russian River resort life began in the 1870s and flourished as vacationers came to see the wonders of the giant trees and discovered the beauty of the Russian River. Swimming, boating and water sports are popular in the summer; hiking and picnicking are big in the spring and fall; and fishermen flock here in winter when the steelhead are running. Biking, naturally, is great here in any season.

The two major towns of the region are Healdsburg and Guerneville. Healdsburg is the commercial center of the region. Guerneville, formerly called"Stumptown," was once prime redwood country. The redwoods around Guerneville were some of the grandest ever seen. Only small stands remain, such as in Armstrong Woods. The town was renamed Guerneville (Gurnville) in honor of George Emile Guerne, an enterprising Swiss who came looking for gold and ended up cutting trees instead. Stumptown Days is still a favorite event in June. In its honor Guerneville holds a town parade.

We've selected four rides that capture different aspects of this colorful region. The Guerneville to Armstrong Woods is a short, easy ride that's also a good hello to giant California redwoods. The River Road Ride heads out from Guerneville into forests and vineyards. The Eastside/Westside Loop begins in Healdsburg, and leads the rider past excellent wineries and dipping spots, so you can wet your whistle and other body parts as well. The Monte Rio-Cazadero Ride takes the rider through the "heart of the redwoods" and small town Sonoma County.

Guerneville to Armstrong Woods

A scenic tour through the splendor and majesty of the famous California redwoods. The road to the park is wide and flat, ideal for beginning bicyclists and children. This is a great way to enjoy the Russian River Region and still have lots of time for other diversions in Guerneville, the playground of the area.

Region: The Russian River Region

Mileage: 6= Miles (1 Hour Riding Time)

Rating: Easy Ride

Route: Armstrong Woods Road, 2 miles, to the State Park. A tour through the park, another 2 miles, and back to Guerneville.

From the bustle of Guerneville, follow the road that says Armstrong Woods Road. This will bring you right to the entrance of the park. The road leading there is wide and flat and has lots of room for bicycles. You will pass camping areas and several interesting shops along the way.

Armstrong Redwoods State Park contains 400 acres of natural forest growth, several picnic areas with barbecue pits, and marked hiking trails. The Forest Theater, a natural amphitheater, has a seating capacity for over 2,000 people and is often the setting for outdoor concerts (Sundays in July and August) ballet, church services and weddings. The Colonel Armstrong Tree is over 1,400 years old and climbs to 308 feet!

Bicycles are permitted in the park without fee, whereas cars have to pay. Follow the paved and shaded road through the forest. Explore the many different paths. Spend a glorious day picnicking in the cool forest, or sitting peacefully under the giant redwoods before returning back to Guerneville - and civilization. It's really a treat.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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