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On your redwood quest, there is no reason to hurry. Half the fun is making stops along the way.

One of the best ways to reach Fort Bragg redwood country is Highway 128, a beautiful country road that intersects Highway 101, heading west over forested mountains, through the picturesque Anderson Valley with its numerous vineyards, and along the Navarro River through the redwoods to the coast.

The Fort Bragg / 128 West Exit is about 30 minutes north of Santa Rosa. The 80-mile scenic drive to Fort Bragg takes about an hour and 40 minutes.

A View of Navarro Vineyards from Highway 128
A View of Navarro Vineyards from Highway 128

Once you’re on Highway 128, the pace slows down, life becomes bucolic, and you’ll want to take your time — yes, your quest is to see the redwoods, but getting there is a big part of the fun.

Helpful hints: where to dine, picnic, buy supplies (and take restroom breaks) on Highway 128

Along Highway 128 there are places to dine, spend the night, wine-taste, buy picnic supplies, enjoy fresh fruit in season, picnic and camp. Good sources of information are http://www.andersonvalley.org, and www.andersonvalleychamber.com.

Local Specialties: Beer, Wine, Champagne And Apple Cider

If beer is your beverage, then Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Boont Amber – and many others – won’t disappoint. The brewing company, located in Booneville, has a picnic area and offers four, 4-ounce samples for $5.

For those with a taste and budget for champagne, Scharfenberger and Roederer are located along Highway 128. Roederer offers tours. Both offer tasting.

Gowan's Oak Tree
Gowan's Oak Tree

For families with kids, fresh apples and cider await at Gowan’s Oak Tree apple stand along the road in Philo, and at the Philo Apple Farm near entrance of Hendy Woods State Park.

Full and refreshed, it’s time to head to the coast.

Redwoods Along Highway 128 — Hendy Woods State Park, Navarro River Redwoods State Park, Other Nearby Redwood Stands, Memorial Groves

Redwood Grove at Hendy Woods State Park
Redwood Grove at Hendy Woods State Park


Travelers don’t need to wait to get to the Fort Bragg area to see redwoods. As you travel along the western stretch of Highway 128, you begin to enter the redwood zone. Some of the trees are privately owned, some in state parks.  There are even a number of memorial redwood groves along Highway 128.

Shortly after leaving the town of Boonville in the Anderson Valley, a sign appears for Hendy Woods State Park, a beautiful park featuring two virgin redwood groves, picnic and camping facilities, and hiking trails. The Navarro River runs the length of the park. In the summer, swimming is popular as is kayaking and canoeing in late winter and early spring.

The road through Navarro River Redwoods State Park
The road through Navarro River Redwoods State Park

Heading west a few miles more, Highway 128 continues following the Navarro River taking travelers through the 11-mile “Redwood Tunnel To The Sea” a breath taking drive through filtered sunlight, towering trees and giant ferns, part of Navarro River Redwoods State Park and Beach. The park includes two campgrounds: Paul M. Dimmick Campground and Navarro Beach Campground.

Once you reach Highway 1, you’re just 20 miles south of Fort Bragg, California – destination central for exploring Coast Redwoods.

 

Old barn along Highway 128
Old barn along Highway 128

Comfort Tips: Restroom and Places to Stretch Your Legs

Inevitably, during a leisurely 70-mile trip on winding rural roads, you’ll need a  break–restroom or otherwise.

Locals suggest: Yorkville Store, Yorkville (you’ll need a key and buy something); Redwood Drive-in & Gas Station, Boonville (two unisex restrooms inside), Gowan’s Oak Tree, Philo (bathroom is in a building separate from the apple sales area – no purchase necessary), Navarro Vineyards tasting room (unlocked bathrooms outside); Paul Dimmick Campground, Navarro Redwoods State Park; and Navarro Beach Campground (vault toilet). It’s always courteous to purchase something when using restrooms provided by businesses, and at some of these stops you’ll have no problem deciding what to buy. For example, at Gowan’s there are fresh apples, apple cider, cider popsickles, and oven-ready apple pies. Or, if stopping at Navarro Vineyards, combine a great wine purchase with a spectacular view of the hills and vineyards.

 

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