Freebackcountry permitsare required for overnight use of all seven of our backcountry camp areas. Our backcountry sites are listed from north to south. Each of them provide different experiences and have very different pros and cons. More detailed information for each site is provided and linked below.
During COVID19, our permit operations have temporarily moved online until we can return to issuing permits at our visitor centers. In summer 2020, the number of backcountry permits may be reduced to meet health standards and best practices.
Trailhead: Marked trailhead is on short access road off Howland Hill Road
Mileage to campground: 3.3
Difficulty Level: Strenuous, gradual 1,800 foot rise in elevation
Description: Fire pits, bear proof lockers, toilet, picnic tables, non-potable water spigot, horse trough, and corral. Free backcountry camping permit required. Bring drinking water. Climb through old-growth forest to open prairies fringed by fir and pine trees
Trailhead: Hikers: There are several different access points for this camp, the shortest being about 4.5 miles from Elk Prairie via Miners Ridge Trail. Inquire at any visitor center for trail recommendations and current conditions. Bicyclists: Access is only from mile marker 132.9 on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway (via Ossagon Trail -> Coastal Trail - Gold Bluffs Beach Section -> Davison Road) or Davison Road.
Mileage to campground:Hikers: Depending on which access you choose, one-way mileage is a minimum of 4.5 miles via Miners Ridge Trail. Bicyclists: About 6 miles, one way, via Ossagon Trail -> Coastal Trail - Gold Bluffs Beach Section -> Davison Road; or, 5.3 miles via Davison Road from Elk Meadow.
Difficulty Level: Moderate hike, some steep grades with switchbacks.
Description: One site within this developed campground has been redesignated for use by backcountry users only. Up to 2 groups and 8 campers allowed. Picnic table, food locker, firepit, and barbecue grill available, as are water, restroom, and solar shower facilities (quarter operated) shared by all campground campers.
Parking: Overnight parking for trail access is available only in the designated parking area across Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway from the Prairie Creek Visitor Center or Elk Meadow (near start of Davison Road). Overnight parking is not allowed on the Newton B. Drury Scenic parkway.
Fee: $5 per person/per night camping fee required, payable on arrival at campground.
Trailhead: Tall Trees Trailhead (additional permit required for access road, summer only), Redwood Creek Trailhead (summer only) or Orick Rodeo Grounds
Mileage to campground: 7 miles from the Tall Trees Trailhead, 3 miles from the Redwood Creek Trailhead or 6 miles from the Orick Rodeo Grounds. Several loop options for horses on theOrick Horse Trails.
Difficulty Level:Moderate to strenuous
Description: Located in the Redwood Creek area, walk through old-growth redwoods to camp. Picnic tables, bear proof lockers, fire pits, toilet, non-potable water (treat from creek), and a corral. No more than 12 stock animals are permitted. Free backcountry permit required.
Trailheads: Tall Trees Trailhead (additional permit required for access road, summer only), Redwood Creek Trailhead (summer only), or Orick Horse Trailhead.
Mileage: 2 miles to area allowed to camp on the Tall Trees and Redwood Creek Trailhead and 6.5 miles on the Orick Horse Trailhead.
Difficulty Level: Moderate to strenuous.
Description: Located along a stretch of Redwood Creek, the gravel bars offer the only area in the parks where dispersed camping is permitted. Dispersed camping is allowed anywhere on the gravel bars between the first seasonal bridge (1.5 miles from trailhead) and no closer than ¼-mile (½-km) of the Tall Trees Grove.
Winter Camping (December-May): Redwood Creek runs high and fast during the winter with unexpected flows and rising water. Gravel bars are rarely available for camping. Foot bridges across the creek are removed in September and are not installed for the summer until late May. Before planning your trip, check current conditions.