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 parks where dispersed camping is allowed.

Dave Van de Mark

Quick Facts

A very scenic and undeveloped destination. Dispersed tent camping on Redwood Creek gravel bars will also bring you close to wildlife like bears and mountain lions. Packing out used toilet paper and hygiene products is expected.

A backcountry permit is required.
To prepare for any trip to this location, download the detailed Redwood Creek Dispersed Camping guide and map (PDF).

Designated Sites
• Dispersed tent camping is permitted only on Redwood Creek gravel bars upstream of McArthur Creek and no closer than 1/4-mile from Tall Trees Grove.
• Maximum group size is eight (8) people; larger groups require multiple permits and must camp at least 1/4-mi. apart.
• Limited permits issued for overnight use of Redwood Creek—max. 50 people per day.

Access (distance to nearest gravel bar camping location in parenthesis)
• 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.
• Redwood Creek Trailhead (~11/2 miles to camp); Note: Frequent vehicle break-ins at trailhead parking area.
• Tall Trees Trailhead (~2 miles to camp).
• Dolason Prairie Trailhead, via Dolason Prairie and Emerald Ridge Trails (~5 miles to camp).
• Orick Horse Trailhead at Orick Rodeo Ground (~6 miles to camp).
• Hiker access only—dispersed gravel bar camping not permitted for bicycles, horses, and/or pets.
• 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.

Disposal of Garbage and Human Waste
• Pack out solid human waste or bury in “cat-hole” at least 6 inches deep in soil (not leaf litter), and at least 200 feet from any water source, campsite, or trail; pack out all toilet paper.
• 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:
1. Suspended at least 10 feet above ground and 4 feet horizontally from tree trunk; or
2. 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 gravel bars. See current conditions to learn if there are any fire restrictions in place.
• Up to 50 lbs. of dead and downed wood per day per campsite may be collected from gravel bars.
• 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
our 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 Creek Dispersed Camping

Dispersed backcountry camping in Redwood National Park.

Last updated: August 14, 2020