A trip to Montgomery Woods

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Trip Report
California, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Nov 30, 0000
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A trip to Montgomery Woods
Created On: Mar 23, 2014
Last Edited On: Jun 7, 2014

Off to the deep redwoods

Mt. Konocti from the eastMt. Konocti
Over the last few months I moved up to the north Coast Range in Lake County. With mountains and ridges in every direction the possibilities appear endless. I spend considerable time pouring over topo maps of the area looking for something doable. The main challenges are private property and dense brush covering much of the terrain. So I zero in with Google Earth to get a better idea of what lies ahead.
Arriving home a few days ago my roommate Jonathan declared he wanted to do Mt. Konocti on Saturday. Konocti (4,299') is the monarch of Clear Lake. A huge multi-summited volcano that rises 3,000' above the south shore.
We tossed the idea around and then came to the conclusion that Montgomery Woods was the destination of choice.
This is a redwood grove out in a remote canyon to the west. The drive is almost 2 hours past the north end of Clear Lake, over the Mayacamas Range, through the Russian River Valley and back into the mountains on a winding road that drops down to Orr Hot Springs.
We swung by to pick up Justin and the 3 of us were off by early afternoon.

A scenic drive with the boys

It was a beautiful day to take in new scenery. We passed by lakes, mountains and ridges I'd never seen before. I couldn't wrap my topocop mind around them!
Today Jonathan and Justin are young bucks looking for  adventure. Whatever comes their way kind of free wheeling attitude. The guys were hamming it up as we drove deeper into the canyon on a winding mountain road. Meanwhile I'm feeling kinda sick with all the hairpin turns and wondering how I'm gonna to do with these gleeful vital maniacs for the day.
View north on the drive back
View north on the drive
Nice scenery on the drive back
Along the drive

Bucolic scene
Bucolic scene

A refreshing walk in the woods

As soon as we got out of the car and started out into the big trees I felt much better. We took an easy trail through a small canyon with a creek and some giant redwoods. I took pics and the guys carried on scampering around on the rocks and stumps. We came out on an open hillside that reminded me of many a hike I have taken in the hills of Marin County. This was suppose to be a loop trail but we couldn't find it and returned the way we came.
We were told that this redwood grove was really impressive but compared to Muir Woods in Marin it was only a fraction. As it turned out when I looked at the map that evening after we got back I discovered we didn't go to the main grove!
Stream in the canyon
Stream in the redwood canyon
Hamming it up
Justin and Jonathan on a big old redwood stump
Giant twister
Justin and twister barked redwood

On a big rock near Montgomery Woods
Taking a break
Along the trail
Along the trail

Green hills and good food

On the way back we took advantage of the beautiful scenery along the high ridge the road took and got some nice shots of the rolling green hills backed by forested ridges in every direction. The highest in view was 7,056' Snow Mountain to the northeast which can also be seen from where I live when you get beyond the trees of the neighborhood.
Jonathan was on a fast and determined to stay the course even if we stopped for dinner but he broke down as we headed into Ukiah. This is a cool little town in the Russian River Valley. We went to a tasty new age organic restaurant for a good meal before the drive back over the spine of the Mayacamas, down past the southwest shore of Clear Lake and up into the Cobb Mountain area again for the night.
This was a trip I probably would have never taken given my inclination to explore vertical terrain. But it was a chance to do something different with friends and that always opens up new possibilities.
Meadow above Big River
Meadow above Big River

 I think that I shall never see...
Natural tree garden

Hills above Big River
Hills above Big River


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RoryKuykendall - Mar 27, 2014 11:59 pm - Voted 10/10

Great TR...

...but you're underselling it. This area is one of the true hidden gems of the American west. Orr Springs Road one of the most beautiful roads in the world, in my opinion. Very unusual in the way that it rides the top of the ridge for several miles, rather than looking for the path of least resistance. On a clear winter day, you can see forever in all directions. If a person had one day to spend in the North Coast of California I would tell them to drive from Ukiah to Albion and stop for a hike at Montgomery Woods. At one time last century, the tallest known Redwood Tree in the world was at Montgomery Woods. Just an amazing place.

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