Last week on Tuesday afternoon we were restless in our little Sonoma coast motel room and looking for a place to get away from the gusty winds — Kruse Rhododendron Reserve turned out to be the perfect spot! We’ve passed by this hidden treasure so many times and never fully appreciated it; but I think we’re finally beginning to realize what a cool spot this is, especially in the springtime.
It really doesn’t look like much on the approach. Once you turn in from Highway 1 at the sign, a narrow gravel road takes you to a wide spot that serves as a parking lot. There are a couple of different trailheads here. We found a number of cars parked and a few people standing around, which prompted us to keep driving along the one-lane, twisting gravel lane, taking us deeper and deeper into the redwood forest. A sign warns that there’s no place to turn around for the next four miles — a bit daunting, but in fact we managed to find few wider areas and managed to execute a careful three-point turn.
We stopped when we noticed some steps leading up a hill away from the road, and we just began exploring along this unmarked but fairly easy trail, which eventually led us back to the road. It seems clear that there is a whole lot more to the reserve than we had time to explore on this trip, so hopefully we’ll be going back again and checking out more of the trails.