★★★★

Hendy Woods State Park


A rural redwood reserve
California > Mendocino/Sonoma region

Big Hendy

As Highway 128 winds among the vineyards, sheep ranches, and orchards in the most picturesque part of the Anderson Valley, a dark and remarkably tall stand of redwoods can be seen in the distance, rising high over an apple orchard. This is Hendy Woods, a small park by the Navarro River. With its exceptionally nice alluvial-flat redwood grove and its scenic setting, Hendy Woods is a real pleasure to visit.

Anderson Valley vineyard

By far the best redwoods in Hendy Woods are in Big Hendy, an 80-acre redwood grove located on an alluvial flat created by a bend in the Navarro River. A network of trails winds through the old growth forest and without a map can get a little confusing. The Upper Loop, in the center of the grove, is the most impressive, but overall the grove has a surprising amount of really impressive trail.

Big Hendy’s trees are huge and quite spectacular, with the cathedral-like appearance of the best groves, although with an unusually dense understory of tanoak and laurel. Underneath the trees is a remarkably plush groundcover of sorrel and trefoil.

The trails are unusually narrow for an old-growth grove, probably because the grove gets few visitors. Depending on weather conditions, the grove may be quiet or some traffic noise may drift over from Highway 128. The grove seems to be perpetually breezy, especially the Discovery Loop and the day use area.

Big Hendy

Hendy Woods’ other old-growth grove, 40-acre Little Hendy, is much less attractive than Big Hendy. Like Big Hendy, Little Hendy is located on an alluvial flat at a bend in the river. Although there are some good-sized trees here, the grove is too narrow to have the cathedral-like appearance of Big Hendy, and the lush groundcover is almost completely absent. The Little Hendy loop trail has two halves: an old and indistinct dirt road that passes through the grove, and a trail that skirts the grove a little ways up a hillside.

Near Big Hendy is an attractive day-use area, which includes a few picnic benches shaded by an oak tree in a field with views of the oak-dotted hills across the valley. From the day use area you can also walk down to the river, which is actually more popular than the redwood grove. The park also has a very nice campground in an oak woodland between the two redwood groves.

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© 2006, 2009, 2022 David Baselt