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East Ridge Trail Loop

Armstrong Grove State Preserve

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 2.5 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  East Ridge Trail starts at the Redwood grove floor, takes a steep grade up to the ridgetop, follows the ridge, then drops steeply back... more »

Tips:  Armstrong can get quite busy on weekends and holidays but it's one of those parks that people in the region keep going back to.

... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trail Head

East Ridge Trail starts on a small bridge at the parking area edge in redwood, fir, bay forested area.

The trail will immediately start a steep gain in elevation and have a series of switchbacks.

Sharing the parking area is the Volunteer's Center. Labs, classrooms, equipment.

2. Junction

Junction with a branch trail along a creek.

In this area there is plenty of old logging evidence and regrowth.

3. Rest Bench

A Rest Bench after a series of switchbacks.

There is also a branch trail out to a nose overlooking a creek. The redwoods are thinning out at this stage, being replaced by other conifers.

4. Junction

Picnic Area Trail, Bullfrog Pond, East Ridge Trail to Ranger Station.

Follow the East Ridge Trail and continue climbing along the ridge top.

5. Rest Bench

Convenient bench.

Tantalizing glimpses of sunshine through the foliage and near views across the Armstrong valley. The bulk of the ridge top vegetation becomes oak and bay forest.

6. Downgrade

A gentle downgrade. The trail continues to follow the ridge top.

7. Detour

The trail splits. Appearances suggest that the park may be trying to facilitate vegetation regrowth on the ridge top. Follow the left trail.

8. Junction

The Trail forks.

The right-hand trail heads up along the ridge. The left-hand trail cuts on a more horizontal route and meets farther along.

9. High Point

Highpoint on this detour. This spot must have had a spectacular view before the trees grew in!

10. Junction

Trails rejoin.

11. Junction

Left fork leads off property toward a fence line and gate. Stay on the East Ridge Trail to the right.

12. Grade Change


13. Switchbacks

On a series of switchbacks down to the valley. This point is marked by a wood post.

14. Trail note

Redwoods dominate this area. Notice the temperature drop since reentering the redwoods. Keep an eye down slope, every once in a while the road and periodic cars will be visible. That’s the valley floor.

15. Trail Head

East Ridge Trailhead at the Ranger Station and Park Entrance parking area.

Take a break and enjoy the store. Then cross the entry road by the kiosk to the next trail head.

16. Park Visitor Center

Visitor Center and Store.

17. Trail Head

Trail head: Pioneer Creek Trail.

This trail introduces us to a vertically oriented world with rich ground covers of ferns and other lower story vegetation of the deep Redwood forests.

Frequently when the breeze blows through the treetops there will be a fine rain of leaves falling to the floor, softly breaking the general quiet of the forest... More

18. Brother's Keeper

Brother's Keeper tree.

19. Parson Jones Tree

The Parson Jones Tree. 310 Ft tall, Dia 13.8’, approx age 300 years.

20. Road Junction

Intersection with road to Redwood Theater lot.

Fallen Redwood.

21. Info

Redwood tree slice with plaques depicting historical events. This tree germinated around 948 AD.

22. Junction

Intersection of Pioneer Trail and Burbank Circle road. Continue on the Pioneer Trail.

23. Road Intersection

Continue straight through.

24. Chimney

Burned tree. The central heartwood has burned out forming a tree cave. This is a common occurance among Redwoods.

25. Junction

Intersection. Continue along the Pioneer Trail. Note the creek generally flows in the winter.

26. Bridge


27. Trail Head

27 Trailhead: Pioneer Trail. Picnic Area Lot.

28. Tree Cave

The most fun Redwood in the picnic area! It’s just off the road intersection and next to the picnic site. Climb into the cavern at its base. If memory serves, there’s another one like it within 100’.

29. End