There are several different ways to learn about Fort Ross:
- Book a spot in a 45-minute group walking tour with a fixed itinerary and start time through Viator,
- Book a customizable private tour through Fort Ross Conservancy (details below) to explore the natural and cultural history both inside and outside the fort compound walls under the guidance of a knowledgeable Russian-English tour guide,
- Attend a free 40-minute talk (not walking tour) available on some weekends, depending on staff availability; best to call ahead to determine if it’s on the schedule (707/847-3437).
Fort Ross Conservancy thanks Renova Fort Ross Foundation for their sponsorship of our Russian/English Tour Guide “Ambassador Hank Birnbaum.” Hank’s tours consistently receive the highest praise and he’s a true asset to Fort Ross and to U.S. / Russia relations.
Customizable Private Tours
Fort Ross Conservancy offers private tours on days the park is open; due to state-wide service reductions our days of operation now vary with the season. Private tours need to be scheduled in advance by calling 707/847-3437 or emailing us at info [at] fortross[dot] org.
Fort Ross Conservancy offers tours for $125. per hour plus $75 for each additional hour for up to 20 people; depending on the group size, groups over 20 people may be required to pay a surcharge. Tours can be given in English or Russian. The content and length of each tour is configurable based on your interests. Please cancel at least 48 hours before your tour or pay a $100 cancellation fee.
We highly recommend enjoying a meal outside during your visit to Fort Ross. Feel free to bring a picnic, or if we have sufficient advanced notice we can provide a catered lunch at an additional cost. Picnic tables are located near the parking lot, in the fort, in the Call Picnic Area (with ocean view) or in the orchard.
What Does an FRC Fort Ross Private Tour Include?
Private tours are configurable based on your interest and how much time you have. Please find below our suggested tour of Fort Ross highlights (including one-hour paid guided tour).. We will make every effort to accommodate your specific needs, so please let us know your preferences.
Sample 1-Hour Guided Tour (Total time at Fort Ross: 3+ hours)
- Welcome to Fort Ross State Historic Park Visitor Center: Independently tour museum, view film (18 min.), visit gift shop & restrooms.
(30 minutes +)
- Guided walking tour from Visitor Center to Fort Compound, Learn about different neighborhoods of Settlement Ross.
(15 minutes total)
- Guided introduction to Fort Compound (while seated in fort)
(20 minutes total)
- Guided tour inside historic Rotchev House and Fur Warehouse
(25 minutes total)
- Independently explore fort barracks, blockhouses and chapel
(30 minutes total)
- Independently walk to and from Sandy Beach Cove
( 45 minutes +)
- Independently complete loop walk from Fort Compound to windmill and then return visit to Visitor Center
( 25 minutes + )
Recommended minimum Fort Ross tour time: 3+ hrs. (or 2+ hrs. w/o beach visit & film); some visitors manage with less time, but it can get rushed. Please note that FRC only charges for the time spent with the guide.
Optional Fort Ross Visits, Tours and Services
- Cannon firing and presentation
(20 minutes +)
- Redwood grove atop San Andreas Fault, located on east side of Highway One above fort
(30 minutes+ with transfer by car)
- Guided tour of historic orchard (adjacent to redwood grove)
(30 minutes+ with transfer by car)
- Guided Call House (a house museum) visit, for background on the post-Russian early California “Ranch Era”)
(30 minutes min.)
- Guided historic replica windmill visit
(15 minutes +)
- Guided historic cemetery visit
(45 minutes, including walking time or 20 minutes with transfer by car)
- Marine mammal viewing and interpretive hike to learn about the Steller and California Sea Lions and Harbor Seals that live off our coast
(45 minutes +)
- Guide to accompany your group to other historic Russian-America Company and Fort Ross-related sites en route to and from Fort Ross State Historic Park (Bodega Bay, ranches, etc.)
(1 hour +)
- Catered lunch (outdoors or indoors) can be arranged upon request.
- Assistance with local accommodations and camping available upon request.
Fees: Fort Ross Conservancy offers tours for $125. per hour plus $75 for each additional hour. Please download and send in Tour Application and optional Credit Card Authorization Form. We are a small hardworking nonprofit; please cancel at least 48 hours before your tour or pay a $100 cancellation fee. Thank you!
Fort Ross Conservancy Tours
Tour Customer Reviews
Reviewed August 2017
“It was very dear to meet you today. Thank you for the lovely suggestions in the hospitable and welcoming spirit. Both Denis and I had a lovely and unforgettable experience. We appreciate the way you support the Russian culture. Thank you for all you do.”
Reviewed May 2017
“This is a vey belated thank you for the wonderful day I spent with you at Fort Ross. I know that I cannot put into words what a memorable experience this was for me.”
Reviewed March 2017
Reviewed March 2016
Some of our many very positive Trip Advisor reviews:
“What a surprising place!… This is SO worth the drive up Highway1! The history is so interesting and the historical interpreter we had… is a total gem — fluent in Russian as well as English and a brilliant and fascinating lecturer for all ages. I have been to comparable historic sites and Ft. Ross easily beats them for the quality of the reconstruction and the context of the historical explanations. Our kids and ourselves were riveted. What a surprising place! Look for Hank!”
Reviewed September 3, 2014
We were really impressed with Fort Ross, all of us, particularly how you provide such a wide-ranging explanation of the history. I’d been apprehensive that it would be very pro-Russian in a sort of kitschy romantic view, but you give the many layers of the history, with attention to the Native Americans and the Native Alaskans, plus the Russian experience.