State Natural Reserve
The mission of California State Parks is
to provide for the health, inspiration and
education of the people of California by helping
to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological
diversity, protecting its most valued natural and
cultural resources, and creating opportunities
for high-quality outdoor recreation.
One of Mendocino’s
redwood canyons has
endured through time,
California State Parks supports equal access.
Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who
need assistance should contact park staff at
(707) 937-5804. If you need this publication in an
alternate format, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
from timber harvesters
CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
For information call: (800) 777-0369.
(916) 653-6995, outside the U.S.
711, TTY relay service
Discover the many states of California.™
Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve
15825 Orr Springs Road
Long. 39.235153, Lat. -123.396442
Ukiah, CA 95482
© 2014 California State Parks
tep into the majesty of the redwoodlined canyon along upper Montgomery
Creek. The old-growth trees in this oasis
of solitude have survived for thousands
of years. This redwood forest enjoys a
mild Mediterranean climate. Summer
temperatures can reach 88 degrees in July,
while on winter days, the thermometer
can dip below 40 degrees. Rain often falls
between November and April.
Archaeologists have determined that
humans have lived in this area for more
than 14,000 years. The last native people
here before Europeans arrived are known
today as the
made and used
tools of local
rock and volcanic
their home in
the Clear Lake
area. Bird feathers and beads made from
seashells decorated some of the elaborate,
highly prized baskets that Pomo women
coiled or twined from plant parts.
Today’s Pomo descendants honor and
perpetuate the cultural and environmental
practices of their ancestors.
Parties of European explorers sailed by the
Mendocino coast beginning in the 1500s,
but the rocky shores precluded landings.
Historians think that the Pomo people’s first
non-native contact was with the Russian fur
trappers who eventually colonized Fort Ross
Spanish and Mexican colonists eventually
found their way to the Mendocino area,
and the 1848 gold rush brought hordes of
eager settlers to California, creating a huge
demand for lumber. The native people lost
their homelands, and those who survived the
settlers’ violence and the contagious fatal
epidemics they brought were relocated to one
of many reservations, including the one at Fort
Bragg from 1857 to 1864.
One-time Mendocino county assessor
Andrew Jackson Montgomery and his wife,
Elizabeth Anderson Montgomery later filed a
homestead claim here on 160 acres in 1884.
Montgomery Woods is named for them.
The late 1800s brought to the Mendocino coast
a profusion of timber harvesters eager to cut
down the big trees for their lumber value.
Most of the coast redwoods in the area were
quickly logged, but the steep canyon along
Montgomery Creek made these
trees harder to reach.
As mechanized logging became
more sophisticated, the heart of
this redwood grove also faced the
logger’s axe. Part of an old logging
road can be seen between the
Kellieowen and Ynes Mexia groves
on the trail.
Saving the Redwoods
Noted botanist Ynes Mexia (1870 1938) collected more than 150,000
global plant specimens for the California
Academy of Sciences. Concerned about
logging, Mexia wrote to the newly formed
Save the Redwoods League in 1919,
enclosing her dues and pleading that the
League intervene before these remaining
coast redwoods were gone. League
Secretary Newton Drury asked the State’s
Committee on Redwoods Investigation
to inspect the area, and tree cutting was
halted by 1920.
Local conservationists also fought for
the area to be preserved, and
in 1945, Orr Springs owner
Robert Orr donated the
first nine acres for the
reserve. The League’s
work continues to result
in subsequent donations
of land and dedicated
groves; the natural
reserve’s size is now
Montgomery Woods lies in an area formed
during the Cretaceous period more than
66 million years ago. Two components
make up the rocks and soils underlying
the woods — a granitic-metamorphic
complex and marine deposits of
sandstone, shale and chert, known as the
About half of this reserve’s habitats
encompass the mature redwood forest
and a mixed conifer (Douglas-fir and
redwood) forest. Oak woodlands include
tanoak, black, Oregon white, and
canyon live oak. More than 500 acres of
grasslands contain both introduced and
Forest understory plants include
profuse ferns — giant chain, bracken and
sword — as well as huckleberries and
Amphibians find the reserve an ideal
supports habitat for
such species as the
California newt and redbellied newt.
The reserve has one two-mile trail, which loops
back on itself. The steep entrance leading into
the woods has about a 900-foot elevation gain.
In wet weather, the trail can be muddy
The restroom, interpretive panels, and
shaded picnic tables at the park entrance
are accessible. The beginning of the natural
reserve’s unpaved trail may be too steep for
many wheelchair users. Accessibility in parks is
continually improving. For updates, visit
• The reserve and its natural and cultural
resources are protected by state law and
may not be disturbed.
• Firearms and hunting are prohibited.
• Except for service animals, pets are not
permitted on the trail or in the reserve.
• Stay on the trail to avoid poison oak
and to protect vegetation.
• The center of the reserve contains a marshy
flat, which attracts mosquitoes.
NEARBY STATE PARKS
• Mendocino Woodlands State Park
39350 Little Lake Road
Mendocino 95640 (707) 937-5755
• Van Damme State Park
Three miles south of
Mendocino on Highway 1
Little River 95456 (707) 937-5804
Fire and Rebirth
Coast redwoods have adapted to withstand fire over millennia. Their great
that form at
the base of
Immediately after the fire
new growth after a tree burns.
A June 2008 lightning strike at
Montgomery Woods resulted in the
Orr Complex fire. The low-intensity fire
scorched the tanoaks and huckleberries
and scarred many redwoods, but today
little evidence of the fire remains.
Most trees and understory species here
through fire —
part of the
duff and tree
Several years after the fire
debris . The
park’s once-burned areas now attest to the
restorative powers of fire.
S ta t e N a t ur a l Res er v e
M O N T G O M E RY
S TAT E N AT U R A L
R E S E RV E
South F o rk B
Jug Handle SNR
Point Cabrillo Headlands SP
Montgomery Woods SNR
© 2014 California State Parks
Hendy Woods SP
This park receives support from
Mendocino Area Parks Association
P.O. Box 1387
Mendocino, CA 95460
to 5 ,
S pri n gs Rd
Flynn Creek Rd
Van Damme Ukiah Rd
O rr S
p r i ng s R o a d