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Discovering Northern California’s Redwoods: The Best Camping Spots

Northern California boasts several renowned national and state parks that preserve the world’s tallest and most spectacular redwood trees. These parks offer numerous campgrounds that not only provide beautiful settings and complete facilities but also offer a variety of outdoor activities. Whether you’re camping with your family, backpacking, hiking, cycling, or simply admiring the grandeur of the redwoods, there’s an ideal destination for everyone. Let’s dive into these magical forests and discover the secrets of nature!


1. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, located at the northernmost part of the Redwood National Park, features vast tracts of pristine redwood forests. It’s a must-visit destination, particularly for those staying at the Jedediah Smith Campground.

Campground Information

  • Number of Campsites: 86

  • Site Size: Approximately 20 x 40 feet

  • Facilities: Most sites have electricity and water supply, along with showers, restrooms, garbage collection, barbecue grills, and picnic tables.

  • Nearby Attractions: Convenient access to various trails and sights such as Simpson Reed Grove Trail and Stout Grove Trail.

2. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park protects some of the tallest redwood forests in the world and includes beaches, meadows, and Roosevelt elk herds. It’s a fantastic spot for camping and outdoor activities.

Campground Information

  • Elk Prairie Campground: 75 sites, no electricity or water supply.

  • Gold Bluffs Beach Campground: 26 sites, no electricity or water supply.

  • Facilities: Showers, restrooms, garbage collection, barbecue grills, and picnic tables.

  • Activities: Multiple trails and bike routes, allowing for extensive exploration of the majestic redwoods.

Humboldt Redwoods state park
Photo Source: Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association

3. Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Home to the world’s largest remaining old-growth coastal redwood forest, Humboldt Redwoods State Park is an unmissable camping destination.

Campground Information

  • Number of Campsites: Over 100 family campsites

  • Facilities: Hot showers, laundry facilities, and cooking amenities.


  • Trails: Short hikes like the Garden Club of American Redwood Grove Trail.

  • Scenic Drives: The 32-mile Avenue of Giants is the best route for viewing redwoods by car.

  • Attractions: Exhibits about naturalist Charles Kellogg, making it a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts.

4. Richardson Grove State Park

Richardson Grove State Park offers diverse camping experiences and is conveniently located near Garberville, just off Highway 101.

Campground Information

  • Number of Campsites: 160, spread across Huckleberry, Madrone, and Oak Flat campgrounds.

  • Facilities: Restrooms, drinking water, and cooking facilities, along with a visitor center and nature store.

  • Activities: Rich trail system with popular paths like the “racetrack” trail and summer swimming or winter fishing in the South Fork Eel River.

5. Van Damme State Park

Located on the Mendocino Coast of Northern California, Van Damme State Park is a natural wonderland filled with surprises.

Campground Information

  • Number of Campsites: 74

  • Facilities: Showers and restroom facilities.


  • Hiking: 10-mile trail system, with the famous 5-mile Fern Canyon Trail.

  • Cycling, Boating, and Diving**: Exploring sea caves by kayak and diving for red abalone.

  • Salmon Watching: Annual salmon run in the streams is a natural spectacle.

  • Unique Feature: The “Pygmy Forest,” a unique area with ancient, stunted trees due to poor soil nutrition, is a must-see.

6. Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Situated in Marin County, California, Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities.

Campground Information

  • Main Campgrounds: Creekside Loop, Orchard Hill Loop, Devil's Gulch, and Madrone.

  • Facilities: Showers, restrooms, cabin accommodations, and equestrian camps.


  • Trails: Redwoods-lined paths along Lagunitas Creek and hikes to Barnabe Peak.

  • Salmon Watching**: Best viewed from December to June during their spawning season.

7. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is one of California’s most famous redwood parks.

Campground Information

  • Number of Campsites: 107

  • Facilities: Shady, comfortable sites with clean amenities.


  • Trails: The 0.8-mile Redwood Grove Loop Trail is the most popular, with other trails like Eagle Creek Trail, Ridge Fire Rd, and Pine Trail also favored.

  • Outdoor Activities: Hiking, picnicking, swimming, and fishing.

Northern California's redwood forests are undoubtedly a global camping paradise, combining the breathtaking beauty of redwoods, pristine natural ecosystems, and diverse cultural heritage. Whether you prefer minimalist backpacking or a well-equipped family road trip, these national and state parks have the perfect campsite for you. Experience the unique tranquility of nature, build a lasting connection with these giant trees, and share your camping experiences and tips in the comments below. Let’s explore more of Northern California’s natural treasures together!

On your camping trip to Northern California's redwood forests, the Venture Pal 40L lightweight foldable backpack is your ideal companion. Weighing only 1 pound, it can be easily folded for storage. Its 40-liter capacity and multiple compartments allow you to organize various camping items effortlessly. Made from high-quality tear-resistant, waterproof nylon fabric with sturdy metal zippers, it withstands daily wear and tear. The breathable mesh shoulder straps and thickened sponge padding reduce shoulder pressure, and the chest buckle with whistle ensures even weight distribution. The main compartment features a waterproof wet bag for separating damp clothes. Available in various colors, it is suitable for all outdoor activities. Whether it's family camping, hiking, or enjoying the redwood scenery, the Venture Pal 40L backpack provides ample space and convenience, enhancing your camping experience.

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