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East Ridge and Pool Ridge Loop Trail

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Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

East Ridge and Pool Ridge Loop Trail is a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Guerneville, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 6.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,587 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A pleasant mostly-shady forest hike around the two ridges bordering the Armstrong redwood grove.

Beautiful Memorial Day weekend hike!

Great redwood hike. At the parking lot/entrance it was very similar to Muir Woods. Very large redwoods with some signs of history & ecology. The trail itself was very nice. It transitions to different environments the whole way. Sometimes you are hiking in a shaded redwood grove, others a mixed forest with large pines and oaks, and every once in a while you pop out into a grassy prairie. The hike was challenging enough for a moderate hike. It went uphill quickly and steadily for the first half and down the second half. There were a few steep areas but all manageable.

I recommend doing this trail counter clockwise and end it at the redwoods. The peak of this height is amazing, we made it up here during golden hour and the light was separating the other ridges in the area. we took our time and made a day out of it. We actually finished the hike around an hour after sunset, so it was really dark. We had our headlamps on as we walked through the redwoods with the stars above us. Wow.

hiking
3 months ago

Good trail. Excellent top views and worth it when you get there Difficult to navigate. Trail signs are broken or missing. Would not go solo. Make sure you download the map from all trails. It’s needed. Can park outside the 10 dollar fee entrance if you arrive before 9am. We did not. Can pick up trail head going either way (clock or counterclock) at either parking lot. It is hard at a few areas. Would call this moderate. Bring snacks. Can be cold.

hiking
3 months ago

Took four hours with taking our time. Definitely recommend going counter clockwise. Good views at the top.

hiking
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

Agree with others - would rate this as a moderate hike on the more difficult side, but beautiful and worthwhile nonetheless. We cut it slightly short by taking the fire road off the East Ridge Trail back to the Pioneer Nature Trail.

hiking
4 months ago

I felt the trail was moderate but my gf felt the trail was difficult. either way, the trail was magnificent and had breathtaking scenic views. we walked the trail right after the rain and some of it was a but soggy but nothing messy

hiking
4 months ago

The first 2+ miles of the hike were steep uphill! It was mainly shaded and had nice views from the top. Overall a great hike. We stopped at the picnic area for lunch before walking over to the Colonel Armstrong tree.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail and the scenery is beyond amazing!

Luckily the Pool Ridge Trail is open so we could walk the entire loop. Weather perfect!

6.45 miles according to my Garmin. Wouldn’t be a good trail with kids under 10. Went counterclockwise and it was quite a climb for the first half, especially about 1/2 way through. Beautiful the second half on the way down. Big redwoods we’re at the end of the hike. Nice way to finish.

Great trail. Lots of shade. I went at 7.30am and it took me 2hours to do the 6 mile loop. There were a few hills but it wasn’t too strenuous. If you park in the lot before the park entrance booth, you do not have to pay the entrance fee.

hiking
8 months ago

Went counter clockwise starting at East Ridge by the bathrooms. I prefer this direction to do the switchbacks on the Pool Ridge Trail downhill. Instead of following the app trail to the end, I detoured and meandered through the touristy Discovery and Pioneer Nature trail, which was fun to see. As another reviewer said, part of the trail to go straight by Loop Trail is closed. I followed this app and went straight, which you can do but the trail involves a lot of branch stepping. Take the detour instead. All of the creeks I saw were dry so no waterfalls. Good terrain change, wide range of environments, and hillside panoramic vistas and a couple squirrels here and there.

hiking
8 months ago

Definitely a hard hike uphill but worth it. Go in the morning to avoid traffic and get parking, but there aren't too many people hiking that far in anyway so not too busy.

hiking
8 months ago

We did east ridge up over to pool trail and it was actually closer to 7.5 miles (tracked via Garmin) and a portion of the trail this map implies is open (near Loop Trail) is closed so it makes it a little confusion. Wonderful trail, and good uphill cardio, beautiful walk through the trees if you do the loop this direction.

hiking
9 months ago

east ridge to. bullfrog pong and down pool ridge. 2000 feet 8.67 miles

hiking
10 months ago

It’s all in the company

hiking
10 months ago

Insanely busy 4th of July! Tons of campsites, and many more picnic tables led to many visitors just enjoying the day. Set out onto Pool Ridge with a buddy, i had forgotten how steep this was! Certainly more of a hard hike in my opinion based on other trails nearby. Its steep for a solid chunk of the climb, but also a bit relentless as the climb bends around many times before finally hitting the ridge. Gorgeous views! We chose to descend the road, which was certainly quite a bit easier but much warmer

hiking
10 months ago

July 4th wknd 2019: Super steep if you start at Pool Ridge Trail - get ready to do 2 hours of uphill. Shaded. Pay $10 to go inside the park. This is strenuous - not moderate - bc of the steep elevation but worth the view when you get up there. The trails on the bottom of the park are pretty too but too easy (less than 1 m and no elevation). Well marked and not muddy at all! You need hiking poles. You can come down the paved road if you don’t want the crazy rolling hills through the Armstrong Trail.

what a great hike. especially going through the east ridge. so many redwood trees. the roots sorta create steps for u to hike on. best hike ive been on so far.

running
bugs
closed
over grown
Sat Apr 27 2019

East Ridge Trail is currently closed (4/27/19), so i started what i thought was Pool Ridge Trail. It was actually the Pioneer Trail, leading me through an amazing .8 mile section of flat, gorgeous trail surrounded by the largest trees i have ever seen in my life. This led to a picnic area, where i quickly found that i was not on the Pool Ridge Trail yet, so i took that trailhead which began an insanely brutal .75 mile climb up some of the nastiest grade i have seen in the area. Tons of switchbacks will lead you out onto a flatter road, about 300 feet from the start of Gilliam Creek. There is a post stating to bring plenty of water, so dont take this lightly. The start of Gilliam is a super awesome technical downhill, quite rocky at times, and amazing on the legs after that brutal uphill i had just conquered. After the downhill subsides, the creek appears on the right, and it was flowing quite nicely for me! There are a few creek crossing here, but i was able to get across all without getting my feet wet. This led to the bridge that either leads out into Austin Creek Park, or up the fire road back into the redwoods. I had to cut it short today, so i took the trip back up that fun 1.5 mile fire road (nonstop uphill, try to distract yourself here). Coming out the top leads to a road, which i turned right on to loop back towards Pool Ridge. Had East Ridge been open I would have taken a left to make this a full loop, but next time will have to do! The Gilliam Creek section gets super narrow, with tons of overgrown plants and spiderwebs every 5 seconds it felt like. Not for someone that doesn’t want to get dirty here

hiking
Fri Apr 26 2019

This is an enjoyable trail. Conditions are dry right now, so the creek crossings weren't an issue at all. We approached counter clockwise, taking on East Ridge first, then picked up Pool Ridge. The elevation gain is gradual, but would probably be an issue for anyone with limitations. It was nice to end with a casual walk through the redwood grove. Side note, the waterfall trail is closed right now, and it would be beneficial to have insect repellant on this one.

hiking
Sun Apr 21 2019

steep with beautiful forest views from the ridge and a stream and redwoods on the way down. check for ticks. not crowded.

hiking
Sun Apr 21 2019

steep with beautiful forest views from the ridge and a stream and redwoods on the way down. check for ticks. not crowded.

hiking
Tue Feb 19 2019

This was a nice trail. Did the loop counterclockwise. Really cool, old trees and a few open spots that made for some nice views. There was quite a few little creek crossings and the trail was muddy in some places, but not to bad. You can take Discovery Trail at the end to see two very old trees (complete with informational signs).

hiking
Tue Sep 25 2018

Great hike with some beautiful views and you end in a redwood grove. They closed the trail while we were on it and must have been doing some storm damage clean up but we were able to go straight through without any issues.

hiking
Fri Sep 07 2018

Great hike but grueling! Be warned, this is 5.8 miles and 1600+ ft gain, not what is advertised on All Trails nor on the park map! The Park map says this loop is 1100 ft gain and 5.6 miles. That additional unadvertised 500 ft gain is REAL. The ascent is quite steep for the first 2.5-3 miles without much letting up. I made the mistake of starting the hike with only about 2 hours of solid daylight left, thinking I was in for only an 1100 ft gain, and I had to hoof it really the whole way and made it back within 2 hrs and 15 minutes. I'd say this is more of a day hike than a quick jaunt, entirely due to the ascent. That said, if you are looking for an intense quick jaunt that will really test your stamina, this is your ticket. The views at the top are worth a great rest for a snack, some pics, and regrouping. I didn’t have time to do a real break, due to the waning daylight, but got some great shots before booking it back down.

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