This reserve is 30 miles inland from Mendocino, far enough that it is noticeably warmer than the Coast. It is a beautiful drive going over to Montgomery Woods, although passengers prone to motion-sickness might want to be the driver.
Walk south from the lot, cross the bridge, and turn left. The trail goes up a fairly steep hill at the start, the only difficult part of the entire trail. At the top, you enter a large stand of virgin redwood trees, including the unmarked third-tallest tree in the world (over 366 feet!). Until 2006, the tallest tree in this reserve was thought to be the tallest in the world — until someone located 2 taller trees in the wilds of Humboldt County. The loop trail is very flat and easy, going out through a canyon filled with huge redwood trees. At one point, there’s a 150-foot fallen tree where you can walk along its length to the other side of the canyon. As seen below, the beautiful stream flowing through the canyon may run over its banks in the winter, making for a potentially wet hike.
Access: go 30 miles east on Comptche-Ukiah Road, passing through the tiny town of Comptche. Continue on as it becomes Orr Hot Springs Road, a scenic, winding, poorly-maintained paved country road. Park in the lot on the right, just east of the bridge at M29.6. 707-937-5804
Time & Distance: 1 ½ hours; 1 ¾ miles.