This is a shorter loop version of our Favorite Armstrong Woods hike. While we will still have 1,100 feet of elevation gain, we will do this in about 3.5 miles. Of course, this means there are some Steep Climbs. This way, we can squeeze in a great workout after work, and be done before dark. This hike will take us just a bit over an hour and a half.
We will do the loop clock-wise, first heading through the giant redwoods past the Armstrong tree to the bottom of the Pool Ridge trail. Here, we will climb at a moderate pace into a mixed forest, up to about 550 feet, where we find a junction that will take us back down to the redwood floor near the picnic area. From here, we will climb another 330 feet up out of the redwoods to the East Ridge trail, heading back along the familiar ridge trail back to our starting point.
While the 5:30 pm start time should give everyone enough time to get out to Armstrong woods, it does impact dinner on the 7:00 pm side. As such, if you don't have to hurry back, I suggest we grab a beer and a bite to eat in Guerneville. No commitment at this point, but if there is interest, there are several local options.
To get to the trail head:
From downtown Guerneville on Main St. (Highway 116), drive 2.3 miles north on Armstrong Woods Road to the visitor center on the right, just before the state park entrance station. Park in the large lot on the right by the visitor center. Or:
Though you can head direct to the trailhead yourself, there will be a carpool from the River Road Park and Ride. This is at the parking lot in front of the PG&E substation on River Rd just west of 101. We will leave the Park 'n' Ride at 5:00. Please indicate if you will be joining the carpool, below.
Wear comfortable hiking shoes
Bring water but I think we are past sunscreen time.
Wear layers. If the weather is good, the hike can start out warm, but cold ocean breezes often put a chill in the air before we make it back!