Redwood National Park Camping – Redwood National Park straddles the northwestern edge of California. It is part of a complex of parks known for protecting almost half of the coast redwoods in the world. These trees are the world’s tallest, growing more than 350 feet.
There is more to visiting Redwood National Park than just massive trees, though. You can experience the gigantic and majestic Roosevelt elk graze on the grassy prairie, Tall Trees Grove, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, drive Bald Hills road, observe the rivers that run to the ocean, and the wild beaches dotted with driftwood, with not a single footprint in sight.
With so much to see and experience in this part of northern California, it makes perfect sense that visitors might want to consider camping at a campground or RV park. If this sounds like you, then this article is for you as it highlights the camping options you have when you visit Redwood National Park, whether you’re looking for a backcountry camping experience or an RV resort.
Jedediah Smith Campground
The Jedediah Smith Campground is in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, right at the north end of the entire park system and off Howland Hill Road. It is a great place to view the old-growth redwoods, with the campground being right at the center of it all. The campsites at this campground are nestled right down the trees along the Smith River.
Just downstream of the Jedediah Smith Campground, you will discover the largest and oldest redwood trees, with some trees being over 1,000 years old. The upstream area has younger trees about 150 years old. If you truly want to enjoy the redwood forest, then you can stay at the day-use right next to the river. You should be aware that this campground is next to the main road, so you will have to deal with traffic noise from Highway 199, situated just along the campground.
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground
The Gold Bluffs Beach Campground offers a picturesque view as it sits in the grasses and dunes behind the beach. This campground is at the bottom of a pine-covered cliff with the ocean straddling its other border.
While redwoods do not grow in this part of the park, they provide a great beachfront location for campers to pitch their tent. The scenery alone is a major reason people love camping at this part of the camp. You get great views all around.
One of Gold Bluff Beach Campground highlights is the Fern Canyon Trail, located at the bottom of the James Irvine Trail. This trail is short and level, leading along the riverbed through a lush but narrow canyon covered with fern. Several people are interested in exploring the park simply because they want to experience this view for themselves.
One thing that detracts from this campground’s splendor is it isn’t a great base for those that want to explore Redwood National Park and the other parks nearby. Getting there requires a drive down a bumpy dirt road with twisty and steep turns. Reading this, you might think that this campground is remote; however, that isn’t the case. It is centrally located within the Redwood park system. Driving to get there is the only issue as it is time-consuming.
Most of the sites available are exposed with no shade, be it natural or artificial, and it’s a great spot for those that love the sun and nice weather. However, it can get quite complicated when the weather is windy. As a result, campers at this campground need to secure their tents.
This campground has only 26 sites, but they are all suitable for tents and RV camping for small RVs with a maximum length of 24 feet. Trailers are expressly prohibited. Campers can enjoy amenities, such as showers and flush toilets; however, there are no dump stations or hook-ups.
Elk Prairie Campground
The Elk Prairie Campground is off the highway in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, which is in turn north of Redwood National Park. This location makes it quite suitable for campers looking to explore all the parks available to them. The campground is home to the Prairie Campground and is also home to several pure redwood forests and fantastic hiking trails. Elk Prairie Campground is great because you can access these hiking trails right from the camp.
When it comes to camping sites, this campground has a plethora and a variety. Sites 71 to 76 are closer to the highway, and they bank on the edge of an open field. While some people might not be too pleased about being too close to the main highway, the number of elk that frequent the field nearby should appease the naturist in all of us. Additionally, the field provides an unobstructed view of the night’s sky and stars in it.
The campsites located near the rear of the Elk Prairie Campground are numbered 18 to 26 and set among massive old redwoods. The sites tend to curve around the topography of Prairie Creek, making it a great choice for those that want to be close to the water. The campground can accommodate tents, trailers up to 24 feet, and RV camping up to 27 feet in length. You can expect amenities such as showers and flush toilets. Elk Prairie Campground operates a reservation facility meaning campers can book their campsite for six months on a rolling date basis.
Mill Creek Campground
Mill Creek Campground is amongst deciduous trees, massive pines, and stumps at Redwoods National Park, reminders of an era when logging was the norm. This unique campground is located in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and also serves the adjacent parks. This campground has secluded sites all set in a spectacular setting.
The Mill Creek Campground is about two miles from Highway 101, the main highway. It is located in a wooded area and is the biggest campground in the Redwood National and State Parks. While you might think it would be loud due to its size, that isn’t the case. It is extremely peaceful and quiet, offering a true backcountry camping experience.
The campsites in this campground are very private because they are tucked amongst the ferns, trees, and big tree stumps. To access quite a number of the campsites, you have to walk a short distance from your vehicle. There might be campsites only available after walking up a set of steps carved into the dense redwood forest. What’s great about these campsites is that they are blocked from other sites and road views, so you have your privacy.
The sites with road access can seamlessly accommodate RVs as long as 31 feet and trailers as long as 27 feet. When it comes to reservations, Mill Creek Campground allows you to make reservations for your campsite by as much as six months in advance on a rolling date basis. This campground is quite popular during the summertime, so it might be best to reserve as quickly as possible for your outdoor adventure.
And while Mill Creek Campground is nearer to the north end of the park, it can be a great base from which to launch your park adventure.
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