The Russian River is truly the heart of Sonoma County.
Redwood retreats & sunny summers are 30 minutes away
Arguably the lushest locale in a county known for its overall scenic beauty, the Russian River area includes the homey hamlets of Rio Nido, Guerneville and Monte Rio. Just north among the coastal redwoods is Cazadero; following the river toward the coast is Duncans Mills, home to artists, jewelry makers and antique railroad cars. Once the center of a bustling logging industry, by the mid-twentieth century the area became a summer haven for tourists lured by the river and inviting woods. Now many of the charming summer cottages have been refurbished as year-round homes.
Typical offerings in the area range from small cabins in the redwoods to river beach houses in Duncans Mills with priceless views. Homeseekers find cozy cottages dating back to the 1920s with wraparound porches as well as newer, larger homes perched in the wooded hills with guest cabins or artist’s studios included.
The big plus of the Russian River area, of course, is the river itself. Canoes, kayaks and other small craft can be launched from the free ramp downstream of Monte Rio Bridge or at the Vacation Beach Dam at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville. Those without their own can rent canoes at Burke’s near Forestville. Johnson’s Beach is a popular destination for swimmers and sunbathers as are many secluded beaches along the river accessible by canoe or raft. Anglers enjoy fishing for salmon September-November, for steelhead November-March and for bass, bluegill and catfish year-round.
Families with youngsters appreciate the the classic diversions at J’s Amusements, with water slides, carnivaltype rides, go-carts and picnic area. Berry’s Saw Mill in Cazadero provides a glimpse into the area’s past, where visitors can see lumber production in all stages at this vintage operation.
Campers have many private campgrounds along the river from which to choose. Hikers and equestrians alike delight in the trails among the redwoods of Armstrong Redwood State Reserve and Austin Creek State Recreation Area.
Community events reflect the eclectic cultural mix of the population and its appreciation of the arts. The Russian River Heritage World Dance Celebration in November features the dances of many different cultures in celebration of the holidays. The Russian River Blues Festival in June is considered to be one of the best in the state, and the Russian River Jazz Festival each September consistently features top names in jazz. The work of local artists is showcased each June in Duncans Mills at the annual Festival of the Arts.
Russian River Vital Statistics
Year settled: Guerneville – 1860; Occidental – 1876
Year incorporated: n/a (no incorporated cities in area)
Area (square miles): n/a (no incorporated cities in area)
Population: Guerneville – 2,441 (est. 2000 population); total estimated area population – 10,000
Sebastopol Certified Farmers Market – 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays, Season: April through December, Location: Downtown Plaza, McKinley Street Telephone: 707-522-9305.
6:00pm to 8:00pm Thursdays Season: April through third week December, Location: Downtown Plaza, McKinley Street Telephone: 707-522-9305