Guerneville California Photos and Information

Beautiful Guerneville is located in west Sonoma County area of Northern California 14 miles east of the Pacific Ocean in a location where the Russian River winds its way through vineyards, grassy coastal hills and forests of giant redwood trees. Guerneville is one of several towns along the river such as Monte Rio, Cazadero, Forestville and Duncan Mills that offer a perfect setting for a vacation or getaway..


In the mile or two near the Guerneville Bridge (listed on the National Historic Register) that leads into Guerneville, treehouse-like construction becomes apparent. A flood in 1986 of historic proportions led the raging Russian River into homes of lowlands Guerneville residents who jacked up their houses with the aid of flood insurance. Just past the Guerneville Bridge  on high ground is Guerneville's downtown where a weekly farmers' market is held. Also beyond the bridge along the river is Johnsons Beach, a gravel beach free to the public but privately-owned.


Open from May 1 to October 1, Johnsons Beach features canoes, kayaks and paddleboats for rent plus umbrellas, inner tubes and beach chairs. A snack bar is located at the beach as well as a popular spot roped-off  as the kiddies' pool area protected from the boat launch. It is also home to several popular concert events featuring jazz and blues. Russian River Blues Festival in June and Russian River Jazz Festival in September attract well-known artists and large, enthusiastic audiences. In existence since around World War I, Johnsons Beach continues to sell customer service and small town friendship. JOHNSON'S BEACH & RESORT  P.O. BOX 386 16241 First Street Guerneville, California 95446  Call: 707-869-2022  (

Modern day Guerneville was first settled on the 1st of May, 1860, by R. B. Lunsford on the bank of the Russian River on what was known as Big Bottom. There was a hollow stump which stood just above the town, in which twenty horses could stand. Guerneville was called Stumptown at that time. During the 1860's loggers floated newly-felled trees along the Russian River from Stumptown to mills.


From Sonoma County historical files comes this account of early Guerneville: "Heald & Guern’s saw and planing-mill is located in the town. It employs about sixty men, and cuts between three and four million feet of lumber a year, making mouldings, brackets, scroll work, &c. Murphy Bros.’ saw and planing- mill is located half a mile from the town; it cuts from twenty to twenty-five thousand feet a day, and employs about forty men. R. B. Lunsford’s shingle- mill, near by, cuts from fifteen to twenty-five thousand shingles a day.

There is one general merchandise store in the town, one grocery store, one market, one boot and shoemaker, two hotels and one restaurant, one livery stable, one blacksmith shop and one wagon shop, one church, one public-school, one lodge, (Enterprise, No. 356 of Independent Good Templars), and one chair-factory, run by S. W. Faudre. J. W. Bagley is postmaster. A branch of the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad runs from Fulton on the main trunk to Guerneville. This road has just been completed, and connects the great Central valley of Sonoma county with the timber section. This affords a fine opportunity for tourists to see the redwood trees of Sonoma, second only in size to the mammoths of Calaveras. Four miles from Guerneville, Mount Jackson and the Great Eastern quicksilver mines are located. A wagon-road is proposed, and will be built from Guerneville to the coast, which will turn a large portion of the coast-travel via Guerneville to San Francisco. It is said that the narrow-gauge road will be extended from Moscow, its terminus on Russian river, to Guerneville."


Once a much busier place than today, sternwheelers and small ferries with names like the Quickstep and the River Queen took passengers up and down short stretches of the Russian River. From the 1940's to the late 60's, for instance, Captain M.B. "Bid" Greene offered a leisurely cruise on the Russian River between Guerneville and Rio Nido two miles away. Bid played music to enhance the redwood scenery.

Guerneville California Population: 2,441  Elevation: 56 feet  Land area: 3.3 square miles
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