Austin Creek Forest

Austin Creek State Recreation Area is connected to the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The forest is rich with giant redwoods, rolling hills, and meadows. As in many redwood forests, there are a number of small creeks intertwined with hiking trails because they bring nourishment to the giant trees. There are many hills, offering more challenging hikes and tremendous vistas once the hikers get to the top.

Austin Creek Wildlife

The forest area is quite large and there are many different outdoor activities. Hiking is obviously one of the favorite activities in the park, but there is also horse-riding and camping. Overall, there are tens of miles of different hiking trails.

There are many different types of birds, plants, and animals in the Austin Creek Forest. Some of the animals hikers can see in the park are squirrels, deer, foxes, coyotes, skunk and raccoons, feral pigs, bobcats, and an occasional black bear or mountain lion. For hikers interested in the forest's plants, the flower-blooming season is Spring when hikers can find plants such as the Douglas Iris, Indian Paint Brush, Buttercups, Lupines, Brodiaes, and California Poppies.

Some of the birds hikers may see in the Austin Creek Forest are wild turkeys, wood duck and the spotted owl, great blue herons, ravens, black-shouldered kites, California quail, various woodpeckers, hawks such as the red tail hawk, and flycatchers.

Austin Creek Climate

The weather and terrain at Austin Creek Forest can be quite varied with the seasons. While the summer months are dry and can bring temperatures over 100 degrees, the winter weather at Austin Creek Recreation Area can get extremely cold. Each day has weather fluctuations as well. The morning fog can bring in a lot of moisture from the Pacific Ocean. People tend to dislike the fog, but the fog brings moisture to the redwoods during the dry season, enabling the unique wildlife of the Bay Area forests.

Bring extra layers of clothing with you if you plan for a longer hike as the evening weather can change and drop in temperature. You definitely do not want to be caught in the middle of a forest without enough clothing to keep you warm.

Austin Creek Hiking Trails

  • Austin Creek Trail - unpaved trail winding down the canyon through forest meadows. There is a steep drop in elevation. After approximately 5 miles, the Austin Creek Trails intersects the Gilliam Creek Trail which can be a good way for hikers to return, rather than just retracing their steps down the Austin Creek Trail. The hike is not easy as it takes a few hours to cover the 9 miles round trip
  • Gilliam Creek Trail - narrow, steep trail through oak tree forests. After close to 4 miles it meets the Austin Creek Trail
  • East Ridge Trail - leads through the diverse forests of Armstrong Redwoods adjacent to Austin Creek, and Austin Creek itself. The trail is approximately 4 miles long and has quite a bit of elevation

Address and Directions

Healdsburg, California 95448


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