The Russian River rises in the coastal mountain ranges of Mendocino County in Northern California, flows through valleys in Mendocino County and Sonoma County, and empties into the Pacific Ocean at Jenner-by-the-Sea.
The river takes its name from Russian trappers who explored the river in the early 19th century, when Russia maintained trade colonies along the Northern California coasts. In the late 19th century, loggers were drawn to the river for the redwoods that line its shores. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Russian River Valley became a popular summer resort destination for vacationers from San Francisco and Napa. The main resort town on the river is Guerneville.
Swimming - Hardy swimmers enjoy the open waters of the Russian River Estuary here in Jenner. Those who prefer warmer water will find plenty of places to enter the river upstream along Highway 116, within a 10-15 minute drive in the town of Monte Rio. There you'll find a riverside beach, perfect for sunbathing, building sand castles and swimming. You can also swim at Johnsons Beach in Guerneville.
Festivals - Each year, the Russian River hosts two festivals in September:
- Blues and Jazz Festival
- The Old Grove Festival