Backcountry Camping

Two backcountry hikers in the redwoods

If you want to stay overnight at any backcountry site, you will need to get a backcountry permit. These are free, and issued in-person at Hiouchi Visitor Center or Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center no sooner than 24-hours ahead of time. For our staff to provide quality safety and trip information, backcountry permits will not be issued less than 30-minutes before the visitor centers close.

Grab the backcountry trip planner (PDF) and find out what redwood backcountry experiences might work best for you. A good backcountry trip often begins with YOU doing good planning. Did you know you will be hiking or camping where bears and mountain lions are common? 44-Camp does not have a toilet anymore - you will have to use leave no trace / pack it out methods to dispose of human waste.

Then with your camping options in mind, request a free a backcountry permit. These are given in-person up to 24-hours in advance from either the Hiouchi or Kuchel Visitor Centers. Reservations over the phone are not permitted. Permits are limited, and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Backcountry users must be at the visitor centers more than half an hour before the facilies close.

For those who like to get away, a trail to themselves, a starlit sky at night, or the lullaby crashing waves - Redwood National and State Parks offers you more than 200 miles (322km) of extraordinary backcountry trails and seven designated backcountry campsites. Whether on foot, bicycle, or horseback, you'll traverse a wide variety of natural habitats, including old-growth redwood forests, oak woodlands, beaches, prairies, streams, and marshes.

Due to landslides and unsafe conditions, Nickel Creek backcountry camp closed in 2017.

Your best resources for planning your redwood adventure:


Backcountry: Ethics & Regulations


While specific regulations apply to those on bicycles and horseback, all backcountry users should adhere to Redwood National & State Park regulations and are further encouraged to follow Leave No Trace guidelines to minimize their impact. Leave No Trace is rooted in scientific studies and common sense. The message is framed under seven Leave No Trace Principles presented below with accompanying regulations and guidelines specific to Redwood National & State Parks:

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Camping is permitted only in designated backcountry campsites (except at dispersed sites on Redwood Creek gravel bars-backpackers only).
  • Pets (with the exception of service animals), motorized vehicles, and hunting are prohibited on trails.
  • Free permits are required for all overnight stays in designated backcountry campsites and may be obtained from Kuchel Visitor Center or Hiouchi Visitor Center. Be sure to notify others of your travel itinerary.
  • Overnight stays are limited to a maximum of 5 consecutive days; 15 in a calendar year.
  • Proper food storage is required: Store food, garbage, cooking gear, and all odorous items in food storage lockers (where available), in food storage canisters available at the Kuchel Visitor Center, or suspended from a tree at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from the trunk.
  • Inquire at a visitor center about trail conditions, water levels, fire danger levels, and tick/poison oak information.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Do not clear new ground for camping; camp only in designated backcountry campsites (except at dispersed sites on Redwood Creek gravel bars-backpackers only).
  • Stay on established trails; do not short-cut switchbacks (it's destructive and illegal).
  • Remember that setting up hammocks on trees is not allowed. The ropes and straps used with hammocks will damage the tree's bark.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Store all garbage in a manner that will prevent access by wildlife (see #1, above).
  • Carry plastic bags and pack out all trash; do not dispose of garbage in pit toilets.
  • Bury human waste in catholes 6-8 inches deep, at least 200 feet (70 adult steps) from water, camp, and trails. Pack out all toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • Wash yourself, cookware, and/or dishes 200 feet away from water; strain food particles and pack them out or scatter well away from campsite and 200 feet away from waterways.

4. Leave What You Find

  • Collecting or disturbing natural features, plants, rocks, antlers, and cultural or archeological resources is prohibited. As part of our national heritage, these resources should be left as they are found for all to enjoy.
  • Mushroom gathering or possession is illegal.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Inquire about fire danger levels at a visitor center before heading-out.
  • Strive to use portable stoves only; campfires are restricted to designated fire pits and on Redwood Creek gravel bars.
  • Do not leave fires smoldering or unattended.

6. Respect Wildlife

  • Bears, elk and mountains lions may be seen near you.
  • Keep your distance.
  • Keep your camp crumb clean.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors


Last updated: December 18, 2019

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Mailing Address:

1111 Second Street
Crescent City, CA 95531


(707) 464-6101

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