Fort Ross was a thriving Russian-American Company settlement from 1812 to 1841. This commercial company chartered by Russia's tsarist government controlled all Russian exploration, trade and settlement in the North Pacific, and established permanent settlements in Alaska and California. Fort Ross was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the North American continent, and was established as an agricultural base to supply Alaska. It was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding, and Russian scientists were among the first to record California?s cultural and natural history. Fort Ross was a successfully functioning multi-cultural settlement for some thirty years. Settlers included Russians, Native Alaskans and Californians, and Creoles (individuals of mixed Russian and native ancestry.)
Along with the chapel, the structure of most historical interest at Fort Ross is the Rotchev house, an existing building renovated about 1836 for Alexander Rotchev, the last manager of Ross. It is the only surviving structure. Several other buildings have been reconstructed: the first Russian Orthodox chapel south of Alaska, the stockade, and four other buildings called the Kuskov House, The Officials Barracks, and two corner blockhouses.
Close to Calistoga, Napa Valley and Lake County Vineyards, and Harbin Hot Springs in the Mayacama Mountains, and 2 hrs away from San Francisco or Sacramento. Backyard Garden Oasis is an exquisite respite for those wanting a nature-filled retreat surrounded by some of Californias most beautiful country.
The park is 12 miles north of Jenner on Highway One. From Highway 101 there are two routes to the fort:
From Petaluma Highway 101. Take the East Washington Street exit. Go west (left). Washington turns into Bodega Avenue, which after a few more name changes, turns into Highway 1 North and takes you to Bodega Bay. This route is a straight shot--much easier to drive than it looks on the map. At Bodega Bay, follow Highway One North.
From Santa Rosa Highway 101. Go past downtown exits for Santa Rosa. Just north of town, take the River Road exit. Go west (left). River Road will turn into Highway 116 in Guerneville. Follow 116 west, then follow signs to Highway One North towards Jenner and Fort Ross.
From the North Take Highway 1 from Fort Bragg and go south about two hours drive. We are about 16 miles from Stewart?s Point. Approximate driving times from: Santa Rosa -- 1 1/2 hours San Francisco -- 2 1/2 hours Sacramento -- 3 1/2 hours Fort Bragg -- 2 hours