Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross State Historic Park, Jenner: Hours, Address, Fort Ross State Historic Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross State Historic Park
4.5
Historic Sites • State Parks
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10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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About
As of November 3rd, we are open only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays (closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) through March 15th. In addition we are open on state holidays: January 1 & 19, February 16, March 31, May 25, July 4th, September 7, November 11, Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas Day. Open December 22nd, 23rd, 24th and from December 26th to January 2nd. Because of Sacramento budget cuts, our days of operations vary with the season. Originally built by Russians in 1812, Fort Ross became a state park in 1909. Today the 3,400 acre park offers pristine natural landscapes as well as historic structures and exhibits that bring to life the former Imperial Russian settlement, early California Ranch era, and the Kashia territory. Our visitor center showcases a museum, bookshop, and an 18-minute video introducing the park's history. Some points of interest: Russian Orthodox chapel, replica Russian-style windmill, historic buildings and exhibits, cannons, historic cemetery and orchard, and a San Andreas Fault marker. You can also enjoy Sandy Cove Beach and numerous trails. Activities include hiking, swimming, marine mammal watching, and more.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
382 reviews
Excellent
229
Very good
120
Average
27
Poor
4
Terrible
2

SwissMissSpokaneWA
Spokane WA107 contributions
Jun 2022
This has a nice little museum and an open-air reconstructed fort from the time of the Russians in the early-mid 1800s. Dogs allowed in the fort, but NOT on paths and beaches. We learned a lot about this time period, which is not something we were familiar with. We visited on a Saturday afternoon and it was not busy. You could spend a lot of time here if you wanted to go walking or to the beach.
Written June 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jerjon
Mojave, CA703 contributions
May 2021
I was always interested in this place and the part that the Russians played in California History. Very interesting rebuilt fort (one of the buildings is original). Visitors can enter the various buildings and see time period furnishings and wares. We spent about 2 hours walking around the fort as well as the trail past the windmill and settlers' house
Written May 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

wardgarner
Castro Valley, CA565 contributions
Jan 2020
We were here on the first Saturday of the month. This is really the day to visit. At noon there is the "turning of the windmill". This was very interesting to learn about and to see the windmill being turned. Also, the Call House is open for tours on the first Saturday. There is a small visitor center with a interpretive area and a short, 15 minute film about the fort. You can walk the grounds or, for a small fee, you can take a guided tour. There are plenty of picnic tables, but remember to bring your own food as there is no food available at the site. Beautiful views of the ocean. This is a very kid friendly place. Plenty of space to run around. The drive on Highway 1 from Jenner is gorgeous, but do not be in a hurry. The road is very winding and there are some pretty spectacular drop offs. I would not do this drive in bad weather. It is not for the faint of heart! Admission to the park is per car, $8, or $7 for seniors 62 and older. Allow for 2 - 3 hours on the first weekend of the month. Probably shorter otherwise.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SF_SuzyQ
San Francisco, CA34 contributions
Nov 2020 • Solo
I had no idea how much Russian influence there was on the West Coast compared to the East Coast. I pretty much zipped through this park because they only had 30 minutes left however I would probably allocate one hour. There is a Ranger on staff that you can ask questions to even in Covid. There is a seven dollar entrance fee and you do need cash. The visitor center is not open. An easy trail with some interesting remainders of Fort Ross.
Written November 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TheGoBird
Jacksonville Beach, FL605 contributions
Jun 2022
We liked this place because it is so unique in America - a Russian fort/trading post. A mixture of original and reconstructed structures, it all looked pretty authentic to me. An easy walk from the visitor center to the fort. Good/informative signs tell the story. As a bonus, the drive along the Pacific to the park is world-class beautiful!
Written June 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Louis S
Valdosta, GA26 contributions
Aug 2019
If you don't get a private tour of the Fort, you see only buildings and miss the human historical experience. Our tour guide, Hank, gave us insights you ordinarily would not have if you only walked around the fort and through the buildings. We arranged for a two hour private tour for just me and my wife. It cost $100. An hour tour for $50 is also available. But, the tour must be scheduled in advance by calling the Fort. If you can afford it, do it. Hank will take you to places to which you ordinarily would not have access and give you explanations that make the Fort come to life.
Written August 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dreamer63300363863
George Town, Malaysia30 contributions
Jun 2019
We enjoyed exploring the fort and with very few visitors present, it was easy to imagine being back in the 1830's. What an isolated, wind swept outpost it must have been! Amazing to think that Russian influence was once located so close to San Francisco. A team of 'education' staff were dressed in period costume whilst inducting some visiting children around the fort. The heavy wooden wind mill at the edge of the car park is certainly worth a closer inspection as is the Visitors Centre with its very good static displays and short but very informative video.
Written June 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

etweeden
London, UK757 contributions
Jun 2015
This 'fort' was actually a commercial Center built in 1812 to help supply Russian settlements in Alaska with meat and agricultural products like wheat, fruit and vegetables. The stockade, towers and cannon were to impress the spaniards/Mexicans, not to defend against the Indians. The Russians had excellent relations with the native inhabitants, paying them for their work and living among them. To this day they are remembered fondly in Indian traditional stories, and several Russian words are a part of local Indian languages! The Russians left in 1841, under pressure from increasing Spanish/Mexican settlement and due to the fact that meat production and agricultural production were insufficient to supply Alaskan colonies. BEFORE you go to see Fort Ross PLAN. Go to the website (fortress.org) and look at their opening days and hours. THEN give them a call to verify that what is on their website will actually be the case on your visiting day. The Conservancy Office is 707-847-3437; and the Ranger Office onsite is 707-847-3286. Grounds of the 3400+ acre park will be open regardless, but the Visitor Center and Fort may not be. Admission is $8 per car. The Visitor Center has an excellent video. The State has close relations with the Russian government and historical organisations in archeological research and restoration. Private tours are given in both English and Russian. The fort itself has a trade building, a chapel of St. Nicholas, the manager's house, a well, several cannon and the barracks building. Of the two towers, one is seven sided, one is eight sided! There is also the original colonial cemetery on the other side of the stockade wall from the chapel. This fort had two interesting firsts. It had the first genuine glass used for windows in California. In fact, one of the last Russian managers of the fort had a glass conservatory shipped from the 'mother country'! Also, the fort employed the first windmills west of the Mississippi for use in grinding grain. A windmill crafted in Russia to the standards of the early 19th century was recently installed on the site. The original 'historic orchard' of the fort is being restored, trimmed tended and researched. You can hike (and the path is steep) down to the cove, where in Russian days there were hide processing facilities, sheds for shipments in and out, and even a shipyard. The Visitor Center has a first class Gift shop with many books appropriate to early California and the Russian settlements (there was a temporary settlement at Bodega Bay further south, abandoned to avoid a confrontation with the Spanish; and there were several hunting camps on the farallon islands 30 miles west off San Francisco). Finally, a reminder about the roads to get here. They are curvy, with narrow shoulders, have few passing lanes or turnouts, are often moist and sometimes shrouded in mist and fog. Watch your speed! First, distances and time from the south and east. From San Francisco it is 85 miles, and will take 2 hours. From the nearest inland city Healdsburg it is 38 miles and will take 1.25 hours to travel. From the nearest village to the south, Jenner, it is 7 miles, but will take 15-20 milnutes to cover. Now from the north. From Fort Bragg, it will be about 85 miles and take 2 hours (same as San Fran). Enjoy!
Written August 17, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barry2137
Donaghadee, UK146 contributions
Aug 2019
What a wonderful view of the history of old California .
Perfectly reconstructed in parts Fort Ross provides a look back in time with information boards well placed for you to discover the past.
Written September 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

CaptseaweedLhc_Az
LHC, AZ81 contributions
Sep 2019
for an $8 fee under 65 or $7 over 65 per car, a very interesting old Russian fort. You can learn how the Russians were here long before this area became part of the USA
Written September 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross State Historic Park is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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