Redwood National Park Campgrounds: Camping Amidst the Giants

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Redwood National Park Campgrounds: Camping Amidst the Giants

Redwood National Park Campgrounds offer a unique opportunity to camp among the world’s tallest trees, the coast redwoods, which can grow up to nearly 370 feet tall and live up to 2,000 years old. The park, which is a combination of four parks encompassing 133,000 acres, has no formal entrance stations, and it’s possible to drive completely through the parks without realizing it. The four developed campgrounds in the state parks offer reservations up to six months in advance through ReserveCalifornia, and they have a total of 332 campsites.

Exploring the Campgrounds

Jedediah Smith Campground

The Jedediah Smith Campground, which is close to hiking trails, swimming sites, and fishing spots, is tucked in an old-growth redwood grove on the banks of the wild and scenic Smith River. This campground offers a serene and peaceful setting, with the soothing sounds of the river and the towering redwoods providing a natural backdrop.

Mill Creek Campground

The Mill Creek Campground has access to Mill Creek and miles of hiking trails, and it’s surrounded by maples, alders, and young coast redwoods. This campground is a great base for exploring the park’s diverse ecosystems, from the lush forests to the nearby streams and creeks.

Elk Prairie Campground

The Elk Prairie Campground is close to more than 70 miles of hiking and biking trails and is situated under ancient redwoods, where grazing Roosevelt elk and black-tailed deer are frequent visitors. This campground offers a unique opportunity to observe the park’s wildlife in their natural habitat.

Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

The Gold Bluffs Beach Campground is set on the wild Pacific coastline, with easy access to a secluded stretch of beach and Fern Canyon. This campground provides a more coastal experience, with the sound of the crashing waves and the opportunity to explore the rugged, scenic coastline.

Campground Amenities and Restrictions

Redwood National Park Campgrounds

The campgrounds can accommodate RVs, but size limits differ, and restrictions are enforced, so it’s essential to confirm RV and trailer details when making reservations. Setting up hammocks on any of the trees is not allowed, as it can damage the trees’ bark. Most of the state park campgrounds and campsites were constructed before the 1940s and cannot accommodate today’s large RVs and trailers. To protect your vehicle and the parks’ natural resources, RV and trailer size restrictions will be enforced.

Reservations and Permits

Campgrounds at Redwood National and State Parks are extremely popular and may be full at any time of year, so reservations are strongly recommended. The four developed campgrounds in the state parks offer reservations up to six months in advance through ReserveCalifornia. For all of the seven backcountry campsites in the parks, free backcountry permits are required and can be requested (online only) up to 180 days in advance.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Redwood National and State Parks is from spring to early summer when the forest is lush and green, and pale pink blossoms of native rhododendrons look like cotton candy puffs floating above wildflowers at the edge of trails. The coast redwoods are shrouded in cool fog in summer, but that weather also brings the most crowds. Mild winter conditions with the meditative sound of rushing creeks make colder months a sleeper hit—at least, when the weather cooperates.

Conclusion

Redwood National Park Campgrounds offer a unique and unforgettable camping experience, surrounded by the towering giants of the forest. Whether you choose to stay at the Jedediah Smith, Mill Creek, Elk Prairie, or Gold Bluffs Beach Campground, you’ll be immersed in the natural beauty of this incredible park. Remember to plan ahead, make reservations, and follow the park’s guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay.

References:

  1. Hipcamp – Redwood National Park Campgrounds
  2. Condé Nast Traveler – Redwood National Park Camping Guide
  3. National Park Service – Developed Campgrounds

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