Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve

Cazadero, California 95421

Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve

Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve lies adjacent to the north-central end of Salt Point State Park. The reserve’s 31 7 acres were once part of the Kruse Ranch, a sheep ranch and logging operation dating back to the 1880s. The undeveloped land was donated to the state in 1933. California rhododendrons, the namesake of the park, grow in profusion. Their brilliant pink blossoms bloom in clusters from April through June. The fast-growing rhododendrons flourished after a forest fire around 1900 removed most of the existing vegetation. The reserve is also home to a mixed forest of second-growth redwoods, Douglas fir, grand fir, tanbark oaks, madrones, manzanita, and eucalyptus. This hike makes a loop across the reserve, from Chinese Gulch to Phillips Gulch. The fern-lined creeks flow through the reserve en route to the Salt Point coast. A total of five miles of hiking trails weave through the reserve’s forested coastal hills."

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Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking & Adventure Guide: Sonoma Coast & Russian River (Wilderness Press)
Stephen W. Hinch
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"This is a popular hike when the rhododendrons are in bloom in April and May. At other times of year you are likely to have the trail to yourself. Don’t restrict yourself just to rhododendron season—it is a pleasant hike through redwood forest at any time of year. The described hike is an extended loop through the park. If you’re just interested in seeing rhododendrons, you can take a much shorter loop through the best displays right near the trailhead."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
1.5 hours
U.S.G.S. Plantation • Salt Point State Park map
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