There are several different ways to experience and learn about and Fort Ross’ rich and diverse natural and cultural history:
- 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;
- Book a spot in a 45-minute group walking tour with a fixed itinerary, start time and offered only on specific dates through Viator;
- Attend a free 20-minute talk (not walking tour) available on some extended weekends, depending on staff availability; best to call ahead to determine if it’s on the schedule (707/847-3437).
- For all other Educational Talks and Tours, please see our Educational Opportunities listed on our Programs page.
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 customizable (one or two hour) tours at a day and time of your choice, arranged in advance. Tours can be given in English or Russian. One hour tours include an introduction to all eras and fort neighborhoods, beginning at the Visitor Center, walking to and through the Fort Compound. Two-hour tours also include visits beyond the fort to the historic orchard, redwoods, San Andreas Fault, cemetery, marine mammals, beach and more. The content and length of each tour is configurable based on your interests (see suggested itinerary and options below).
Fees: Fort Ross Conservancy offers tours for (1-9 people) $50/hour for first hour, $80 for two hours or (for 10 or more people) $125 first hour, $200 for two hours. Please use our online Tour Application Form 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. Contact us with your questions at 707/847-3437 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
We highly recommend enjoying a meal outside during your visit to Fort Ross. Feel free to bring a picnic, or if we have sufficient advance 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 Customized 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: Approx. 3 hours)
- Welcome to Fort Ross State Historic Park Visitor Center: Independently tour museum, view film (18 min.), visit gift shop & restrooms. (30+ min.)
- 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) (10 minutes total)
- Guided tour inside historic Rotchev House, Magasin & Chapel (35 minutes total)
- Independently explore Kuskov House, fort barracks, and blockhouses (30 minutes total)
- Optional independent 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 (15 minutes + )
Recommended minimum Fort Ross tour time: 3+ hrs. (or 2+ hrs. without 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 & Nearby Visits, Tours and Services
- Guided tour of historic orchard and adjacent redwood grove atop San Andreas Fault, located on east side of Highway One above fort (40 minutes+ with transfer in your car)
- Guided historic replica windmill visit (15 minutes +)
- Guided historic cemetery visit (45 minutes, including walking time, or 20 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.)
- Marine mammal viewing & interpretive hike to learn about the Steller and California Sea Lions and Harbor Seals that live off our coast (15 min. – 1 hr.+)
- Guided hike from Reef Campground to Sandy Cove and “back in time” to Fort Ross Compound (45+ min., approximately 1 1/2 mile hike, best first upon arrival)
- Guided hike along the beautiful coast and forests of Salt Point State Park
- 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 +)
- Special “Russian tea” with Samovar” or catered lunch (outdoors or indoors) can be arranged upon request.
- Authentic Russian, Alaska Native or Native Californian storytelling/folklore program.
Assistance with local accommodations and camping available upon request.
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 2016Some 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, 2014We 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.