Off the beaten path, but close to the world-class wineries of Anderson Valley, is Hendy Woods State Park. You will pass the Apple Farm’s honor system farm stand and cross the one lane redwood bridge before reaching the park.
The beautiful redwood groves at Hendy State Park are named for Joshua Hendy, who arrived in California from his native England in 1849. Unlike most arrivals that year, Mr. Hendy was not interested in gold. He was interested in trees, both in logging and preserving them. While making his fortune selling lumber, he also saved the virgin redwood groves of Big Hendy and Little Hendy, which survive today.
Big Hendy is both the larger grove and boasts the larger trees, some of which are 300 feet tall and 1,000 years old. It can feel awe-inspiring and humbling to look up – and up! – to the canopy overhead as you walk among these ancient trees. There are several trails that wend through the lush undergrowth of Big Hendy, with its velvety mosses and fountains of ferns. All offer easy to moderate hiking. Little Hendy has a smaller area than its larger sibling, but you will still find Nature’s awe-inspiring skyscrapers here and the serenity of the unspoiled forest. Trails run between both groves.
There is also access to the Navarro River, where swimming or wading are a delight in the summer warmth and canoeing or kayaking can be enjoyed when the water levels are high enough. A sun-dappled meadow is the perfect spot for a picnic in warmer weather.
The “hermit’s huts” found along the trails were built and lived in by a real hermit, a Russian émigré who found refuge in the forest in the 1960s. He lived there for almost two decades, scavenging food and clothing, until his death, when his ashes were scattered among the trees he loved. So in a way, he is still there, a true Mendocino eccentric.
Hendy Woods State Park is located at 18599 Philo-Greenwood Road in Philo. It is open every day of the year from 8:00 am to sunset. Day use fee is $10. Parts of the trails are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Dogs are not allowed on trails. Family friendly. Call (707) 895-3141 or (707) 895-3537 for more information.