How do I Camp in Redwood National Park?

How do I Camp in Redwood National Park?
There are four developed campgrounds maintained in the Redwood National Park. Elk Prairie, Mill Creek and the Jedediah Smith campgrounds are within the forest side of the park. The Gold Bluffs Beach Campground is located on the coastline with easy access to the beach. All of these campgrounds are equipped to accommodate tents and RVs. All four have showers, restrooms, fire pits and barbeques.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Shelter/tent
  • Sleeping gear/bedding
  • Flashlight/lantern
  • Pocketknife
  • Cooking/dining equipment
  • Clothing for trip
  • Personal hygiene/shower gear
  • First aid kit
  • Food for trip
  • Miscellaneous camping equipment
Step 1
Select a campground and make reservations online at or by calling 800-444-7275 at least 48 hours in advance of your arrival. Although there are sites at all of the campgrounds that are first-come, first-serve, the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation strongly recommend that you make reservations during the spring and summer months because of the popularity of the park.
Step 2
Pack for your trip. Use a camping checklist, such as the Washing Trails Association's Car Camping Checklist, to ensure not to forget anything. All of the developed campgrounds at Redwood National Park are drive-in campgrounds. When camping in an RV there are additional luxuries you may want to have on hand. has an RV camping checklist to refer. When planning a backcountry camping trip, your checklist will be entirely different, greater care and detail will need to be taken when planning and packing because you are completely dependent on what is in your pack.
Step 3
Check into one of the five visitors centers when you arrive. Obtain a park map and find your campground. If you already know where your campground is, you can go directly there. A park ranger will make rounds in the evening or early the following morning to collect camp fees.
Step 4
Set up your campsite. Pick the most level and hopefully highest area to set up the tent. Therefore, if it rains, water will flow away from your tent. The campgrounds have water spigots, this is your water source and where you will want to set up your cooking and cleaning area. The campgrounds have fire pits and barbeque grills. Most have picnic tables. Decide where and how you are going to cook and set up your cooking gear appropriately.
Step 5
Enjoy the Redwood National Park's unique environment. The amazing trees are just the beginning in this park where the forest meets the ocean. Roosevelt elk are seen throughout the park and whale watching is most successful from the Klamath River Outlook. There are more than 200 miles of hiking trails including the southern part of the park that encompasses the old-growth redwood trees that can grow to be over 200 feet tall. During the summer months there are ranger-led programs that include topics such as the tidepools, American Indian cultures and the redwood trees.

Tips & Warnings

There are backcountry campsites available within the park that offer primitive camping for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Permits and proper food storage containers are required while on the trail. Visit or the Prairie Creek Visitor Center at Redwood National Park for more information.
The Redwood Junior Ranger Program encourages children ages 7 to 12 years old to explore the park, learn about the environment and the national parks. There are ranger-guided junior ranger activities to encourage kids even further during the summer season. Successful completion of this program the Junior Ranger will earn a unique junior ranger patch. If your family camps at more than one national park, the junior ranger program at each park is different, including the patches and sticker awards.
The Redwood National Park Hostel was the only lodging available in the Redwood National and State Parks areas CLOSED on January 18, 2010. There is no lodging facilities available within the park boundaries.
The Redwood National Park is only partially pet-friendly. Pets are not allowed on the trails. Pets must be kept on a leash and are only allowed at the Crescent and Gold Bluff beach areas, the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center, the Freshwater Lagoon Spit and any picnic area accessible by road and any campground.

Article Written By Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan is a military veteran and a professional in the safety, travel and aviation industries. Duncan has been writing since 2002 for magazines, newspapers, local business literature and on such websites as He has earned his Bachelor of Science in professional aeronautics and his Master of Business Administration.

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