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Prairie Creek Redwood State Park

Prairie Creek Redwood State Park
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Prairie Creek Redwood State Park
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Prairie Creek Redwood State Park
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Quick Facts
Handicapped Accessible: Yes Accessible camping, exhibits and trails.
Number of Sites: 100 Campsites plus backcountry hike/bike campsites
Reservation Status: Accepted Campground reservations can be made online or by calling (800) 444-7275.

General Information

Lush, green vegetation in Prairie Creek Redwood SP
Copyright: - California State Parks
Lush, green vegetation in Prairie Creek Redwood SP
Description - Set aside in the early 1920's by the forethought of the people of California and the generosity of the Save-the-Redwoods League, Prairie Creek is a 14,000 acre sanctuary of old growth coast redwood.

This park, along with Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and the National Park Service's Redwood National Park, are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. These parks make up 45 percent of all the old-growth redwood forest remaining in California.

Attractions - Designated as a World Heritage Site & Man in the Biosphere Preserve, the park has over 280 Save-the-Redwoods League memorial groves. A visitor center and natural history bookstore are open year-round.

There are over 70 miles of hiking trails through verdant forests and along wild and scenic beaches. As the park is a preserve of uncut forest, all trails lead you through the world's tallest trees. Nowhere can you better appreciate the splendor of a ancient redwood forest. Take time to walk some of the many and varied trails. There are all-day hikes and short leisurely strolls. The terrain is relatively mild with only 800' of elevation gain throughout the park.

Watch for native Roosevelt elk in the prairie along the N.B. Drury Scenic Parkway and on spectacular Gold Bluffs Beach. Gray whale, rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, mink, otter, fox coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, and bear might also be spotted. And of course the infamous banana slug, an important and welcome resident of the forest, is readily viewable.

Over 260 species of birds have been sighted within the park boundaries. The combination of open prairie, forest, stream side woodlands, coastal headlands, beach and ocean provides a wide variety of habitats. Some species of special note include the spotted owl and marbled murrelet, both believed to be dependent on old growth forest.

Camping Information:
Elk Prairie Campground is located in old growth redwoods, 75 campsites Vehicle limitations--MH 27' & Tir 24' Dump station

Gold Bluffs Beach Campground located on the dunes, no trees, 25 campsites, 1 outdoor solar shower, water & flush toilets. Vehicle limitations: MH 24' & No trailers

The park also has two backcountry hike/bike camps and an environmental camp. Backcountry campers are reminded they must register and park at the visitor center and must camp in the designated campsites at Butler Creek camp and Miners Ridge camp. Both camps are open all year and registration and fee payment is required.

Recreation - Prairie Creek offers hiking, mountain biking, camping, backpacking, nature study, self-guided nature trail, physically and visually impaired trails, wildlife viewing, beach combing, picnicking, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store. Interpretive talks & guided hikes are offered on a seasonal basis.

Climate - Summers are generally mild. Fog is often encountered near the coastline, with sunny, warmer weather more common inland in the foothills. Winters are generally cool with considerable precipitation. Wear layers of clothing to accommodate cool to warm temperatures and good walking shoes. Rain protection should be included at any time of year.

Location - Take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway exit off of Highway 101. The visitor center & Elk Prairie Campground are located at the southern end of the Parkway. Gold Bluffs Beach Campground and Fern Canyon are accessed by Davison Road, which is, located 3 miles north of Orick off of Highway 101. 50 miles from Eureka and Crescent City.

Davison Road, the access road to Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach has vehicle limitations 8' wide and 24' long. No trailers are allowed.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: LaTricia + Mark (Seattle, WA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We happened to stumble upon Elk Prairie and Gold Bluffs Beach somewhat by accident. What a luck mistake we made. We were there May 11th thru 12th. Gold Bluffs Beach is a Gem on the N. California coast, in our opinion. We were a little weary of the unpaved road leading to Gold Bluffs, but once we reached the campground we realized it was worth it. We were there early in the week which allowed us to be lucky enough to get a beach front site, I was worried because although the sun was shining there was a bit of wind. This campground cleaverly has a few sites with small "L" shaped wind breakers built of beach logs, it was a comfort we opted to decline as these are not beach front. Nonetheless, the sites are very nice and the beach is visible from everywhere in the campground (even the bathroom!). In the late afternoon, as the Ranger we spoke to predicted, the wind died to a breeze and was just enough to keep the bugs away. The sites are set relativly far enough apart to feel somewhat secluded, the roar from the ocean seems to help as well. While setting up camp that day another camper waved to us from their spot and pointed us to look out to the water as a gray whale was making his way up the coast, as if that wasn't enough, when the sun was setting a group of beautiful male elk wandered into the campground sporting furry antlers and grazing near the cliffs in the golden light. A great moment for pictures, of course. We enjoyed watching the birds doing acrobats in the ocean breeze and saw many different kinds of them, even our friend the one-legged crow! In the evening the campground would empty onto the beach for the sunset and this beach is so massive that you feel still somewhat isolated. All in all, we had one of the greatest camping experiences ever, if you like the idea of a quiet, secluded, ocean-front campsite, then Gold Bluffs Beach comes highly recommended. We hope to visit again many times hereafter.

Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I stayed in the Prairie Creek Campground for one night in August of 2000. There were elk wandering through the campground the whole time I was there. Cars stopped, people stopped, to watch. The elk families just ignored all of us and continued grazing, or walking through the campground. It was a unique experience. But then I drove to Gold Bluffs beach and spent the evening walking the beach. I only saw one other person there so only had to share the beach with a couple elk and some pelicans. I watched the sun go down on the beach and it is a very memorable, special evening. Fern Canyon is nearby and I visited it twice also - another unique, incredible experience that I highly recommend. Although the campground was full, the camping spots were far enough apart that I didn't feel as though I was in a crowded campground. I give this experience my highest recommendation, and I'm hard to please, so don't take it lightly!

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Two backcountry camping areas are available.
ICON Camping Two developed campgrounds, two backcountry camping areas and an environmental camp are available.
ICON Biology

More Information

Contact Information:
Redwood Coast Satellite Sector Office, 1375 Elk Valley Road , Crescent City, CA, 95531, Phone: 707-464-6101 ext. 5100, Fax: 707-464-1812

Additional Information:
North Coast State Parks and Beaches - The North Coast Region, stretches nearly 400 miles, from just north of San Francisco to the Oregon border. It is a land of rugged shoreline and pounding surf, of towering redwood forests and rushing rivers, of verdant hills and bountiful vineyards.
Redwood National Park - Redwood National Park lies on the northern coast of California. This forest of redwood trees with virgin groves of ancient trees, includes the world's tallest, which thrive in the foggy and temperate climate.

California State Parks - Official agency website.
Campground Reservations - Reserve your campground online here with reserveamerica.com


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