The Best Camping at Redwood National Park

The Best Camping at Redwood National Park
Even better than craning your neck to glimpse the top of Sequoia sempervirens--Coast Redwood--is hiking, eating and sleeping in a grove of the giant trees. The redwood parks area in northern California consists of the national park and several state parks, all dedicated to preserving the tallest trees on the planet. Backcountry camping permits are available from the National Park Service. California State Parks manages the four developed campgrounds.

Redwood National Park Backcountry

Within the national park boundaries are six backcountry campgrounds. Designated campgrounds have three to 11 primitive campsites with vault toilets, bear-proof food lockers, tables and fire pits (check regulations before lighting an open fire). Some have corrals, troughs and non-potable water for livestock. Some are near streams from which water may be purified. Little Bald Hills (free), Nickel Creek (free) and DeMartin (free) sit in the northern sector of the parks complex. Flint Ridge (free), Elam Creek (free) and 44 Camps (free, no water) are in the southern sector. People dedicated to getting away from civilization favor Elam Creek and 44 Camps. There also is dispersed camping along Redwood Creek (free).

Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center
US Highway 101 at Orick, Calif.
707-465-7765
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (summer),
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (winter)

California State Parks Backcountry

In Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Ossagon Creek (fee, purify water) and Miners Ridge (fee, potable water) campgrounds each have three campsites with bear-proof lockers, fire rings and tables. Get a camping permit at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center.

Prairie Creek Visitor Center
Just off US Highway 101, along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway
707-465-7354
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Developed Campgrounds: Jedediah Smith

No developed campgrounds are situated in Redwood National Park, but abutting California State Parks offer four, all with restrooms, food lockers, tables and fire rings. Jedediah Smith Campground is open all year, with showers, a campfire center and a visitor center.

Jedediah Smith Campground
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Hiouchi, CA 95532
10 miles east of Crescent City
on US-199
707-458-3018
parks.ca.gov/?page_id=413

Developed Campgrounds: Mill Creek

Mill Creek Campground welcomes visitors May 1 through Sept. 7. Amenities include showers, a campfire center and an RV dump station.

Mill Creek Campground
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
7 miles south of Crescent City
on US-101
707-465-2146
parks.ca.gov/?page_id=414

Developed Campgrounds: Elk Creek

Elk Prairie Campground is open all year. Augmented features include a bookstore, a campfire center and a visitor center.

Elk Prairie Campground
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
6 miles north of Orick
on Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway
707-465-7347
parks.ca.gov/?page_id=415

Developed Campgrounds: Gold Bluffs Beach

Many car campers prefer Gold Bluffs Beach Campground to any other in the area because it is both on the beach and near the redwoods. The campground has solar showers and wind shelters.

Gold Bluffs Campground
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
10 miles north of Orick
on Davison Road
707-465-7347
parks.ca.gov/?page_id=415

Article Written By Lani Johnson

Lani Johnson is a hiking, writing musician. Recent published work includes journalism, poetry and research. See her online writing at Trails.com or at Azacda.presspublisher.us.