Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Old Growth Redwoods and Hot Springs

 Last fall, my partner and I were looking for a day escape from the Bay Area.  Fortunately, we found a great one.  We decided to head north to check out Orr Hot Springs near Ukiah.  I insisted on also stopping at Montgomery State Reserve which protects five groves of old-growth redwoods for a short hike beforehand.

We found this to be a really easy (though fairly long) day trip from the Bay.  Orr Hot Springs is just some 14 miles outside of Ukiah, so it's actually a nice straight shot up the 101.  Those last 14 miles are anything but straight, however.  And Montgomery State Reserve is just another 3 miles past the springs.
 The hike in Montgomery starts up a decent hill, but once you flatten out you are rewarded with an incredibly beautiful stroll through several redwood groves.  Water branches out in several directions and the forest is carpeted with ferns and sorrel.  And the trees are, as expected, immensely tall.
If you've never visited an old-growth redwood forest, you're missing out.  There is something magical about the experience.  Since it's a little off the beaten track Montgomery doesn't seem to have that many visitors making it a really pleasant experience.  Here is the rootball of one of the giants.
Here are signs of a fire, started by lightning, that burned in the forest in 2008.  Otherwise the undergrowth seems to have recovered.
After the redwoods we headed to Orr Hot Springs.  The pools are for the most part small, but they were clean, and this was one of our favorite hot springs to date.  Sorry no pictures of the springs.  But check out this site for one person's perspective.


  1. I felt the hush of the forest while reading this!

  2. "The hush of the forest" is such a great way to describe the experience of being under redwoods!

  3. It's heartening to see these gentle giants being preserved. It's difficult to imagine such beautiful old giants here. They were here, but like so many areas along the coast, they're long gone. We have a few immense old stumps on the property as reminders of what once grew here, and lots of much younger redwoods, but it's a shame they didn't even leave just one old-growth tree here.

  4. I am glad I found such a great California blog. Your post is very interesting, and I am happy to have learned about another travel destination. Thank you!

  5. As a child, neighbor to Muir Woods...I always say yes to Redwoods.
    Nice blogs you have. I commend your gardening in a rented house...many people won't do it because it isn't "their land"...but that is a foolish way to look at life..one day at a time and bloom where you are planted...right?

  6. Some great photos you got here. Really enjoyed them.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  7. As for gardening in a rented house, Jeanette's right in that it is a foolish approach. In one sense. In another though, it can be both emotionally and financially rough to invest love and time into a ground in which one has absolutely no security.