Redwood Creek Dispersed Camping

Redwood trees and other trees line a calm river. Three hikers walk on gravel bars.
Redwood Creek is the only area in the park where dispersed camping is allowed.

Dave Van de Mark

Quick Facts
South-east of Orick, CA
Backcountry Camping
National Park

Redwood Creek Dispersed Camping

Dispersed backcountry camping in Redwood National Park.

Redwood Creek gravel bar takes you into a very scenic, historic, and less visited area in the park. Here it is especially important that you store your food properly as bears are common. Leave No Trace Principles are expected, please pack out all trash- including used toilet paper.

Dispersed Camping Area and Limits

  • Dispersed tent camping is permitted only on Redwood Creek's gravel bar south (upstream) of McArthur Creek.
  • Dispersed tent camping is not allowed within 1/4 mile of Tall Trees Grove.
  • Starting from the Redwood Creek Trailhead, the closest area for dispersed camping is 1.5 miles upstream (south) of this trailhead.
  • Maximum group size is eight (8) people; larger groups require multiple permits and must camp at least 1/4-mi. apart.
  • Maximum of 50 people per night are allowed to disperse camp on the gravel bar.


When parking at any trailhead, secure items of value and keep them out of sight; better yet, leave them at home! Lock vehicle doors, roll up windows, and engage anti-theft devices.

Access Notes

  • Hiker access only—dispersed gravel bar camping not permitted for bicycles, horses, and/or pets.
  • Read more about access via whitewater rafters
  • Redwood Creek may be impossible to cross during the rainy season and/or during high flow stages; two bridges over Redwood Creek are only in place seasonally, usually June–September.

Distance to nearest gravel bar camping location

  • Redwood Creek Trailhead (1.5 miles to camp); Note: Frequent vehicle break-ins at trailhead parking area.
  • Tall Trees Trailhead (2.5 miles to camp).
  • Dolason Prairie Trailhead, via Dolason Prairie and Emerald Ridge Trails (6 miles to camp).
  • Orick Horse Trailhead (7.5 miles to camp).

Disposal of Garbage and Human Waste

  • Dig a hole at least 6 inches deep for burying your solid human waste. Do not leave human waste exposed or left behind on leaf litter. Pack out all your used toilet paper. (We recommend packing in double zip-locked bags and having a sprinkle of dry laundry detergent in the inner bag. Put the used toilet paper in the inner zip-lock bag).
  • Be sure you are at least 200 feet from any water source, campsite, or trail when nature calls. 
  • Pack out all trash/garbage.
  • Wash dishes (or yourself) at least 200 feet away from any water source.

Food and Garbage Storage

Store food, garbage, cooking gear, and all odorous items in one of two ways:
  • Suspended at least 10 feet above ground and 4 feet horizontally from tree trunk; or
  • Secured within a bear-resistant canister.

Never Feed Wildlife

(that includes birds, too!)

  • It’s illegal, and dangerous to you, other humans, and the fed animal.
  • Keep a clean camp, store food and other smelly items responsibly, and properly dispose of all garbage—even crumbs!


  • No treated water source available—pack in water or bring water filter/purifier.
  • Drink filtered/purified water from Redwood Creek tributaries, not from the main channel itself.

Fires and Firewood

  • Under normal conditions, fires are permitted on Redwood Creek's gravel bar. However, check if any fire restrictions are in place.
  • Up to 50 lbs. of dead and downed wood per day per campsite may be collected from gravel bars.
  • Make a fire ring using larger rocks to help contain the fire.
  • Never leave fires unattended.
  • When leaving, extinguish fires and dismantle completely; bury with sand and/or gravel, leaving no visual evidence of fire behind.

Stop the Invaders!

You can help prevent the spread of non-native diseases and plants in the Redwood Creek Watershed. Fortunately, most of these harmful invaders can’t travel upstream into the pristine parkland. Let’s keep it that way! Do your part to minimize the transport of mud, plants, and fungi to exotic locales:
  • Clean your boots before hiking in and around Redwood National and State Parks.
  • Clean your boots before and after hiking any trail in the Redwood Creek watershed.
  • Stay on established trails.
  • Clean your boots before and after hiking through any creek or stream in the Redwood Creek watershed.

Leave No Trace

Understand the importance of leave no trace ethics in the redwoods.

Redwood National and State Parks

Last updated: June 29, 2023