Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

How to get there: Two miles south of Garberville on west side of Highway 101. For information call (707) 923-3238 (summer only).

A popular destination, Benbow Lake State Recreation Area was first established in 1958. Prior to that, the area was used by settlers, ranchers and loggers, until 1922 when the Benbow family purchased much of the land in the valley. Some of the land was subdivided and sold for home sites. The Benbow Hotel, as it was originally named, was build in 1925 and opened for business in 1926.

To provide power for the new development in the valley, a concrete dam was constructed across the south fork of the Eel River in 1928. The dam not only provided power but also created Benbow Lake. The Benbow family, interested in preserving the natural scene around the Hotel and along the river, made efforts to place the land under State protection. In 1956, funds were approved for the Benbow Project and the first 207 acres were purchased in 1958.

Today the park consists of about 1,200 acres with 75 campsites and a large day-use picnic area. The campground is open year round and reservations can be made from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend by calling Destinet at (800) 444-7275. Hiking, swinuning, picnicking and camping are popular summertime activities, while salmon and steethead fishing are popular in the winter. There are no hookups in the campgrounds.

Benbow Lake State Recreation Area in a nutshell:

Visitation: 75,000
Location/Directions: Two miles south of Garberville on Highway 101.
Address: 1600 US Highway 101, Garberville, CA 95542.
Telephone: (707) 923-3238 (summer), (707) 247-3318 (winter).
Operating Hours/Seasons: Open all year unless river is over the bridge (winter).
Climate/recommended clothing: Summer 50-90. Winter 30-55. Dress for rain.
Travel Directions: Two miles south of Garberville just off Highway 101.
Fees/costs/rates: Campsites - off season $12, on season $16. Showers need quarters. Day use $5/car. Senior citizens receive $2 discount on camping and $1 discount on day use.
Facilities: RV dump station.
Reservations/permits: Recommended in summer season. Not available rest of year.
Basic visit recommendations: Family camping along river and lake.
Special events/programs: Summer Arts Festival, Jazz on the Lake, Shakespeare plays.
Visitor impacts: Crowded during special events.
Adjacent visitor attractions: Golf course & Benbow Inn, Richardson Grove State Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants.

Additional North Coast Redwoods District State Parks links:

[Azalea State Reserve]
[Benbow Lake State Recreation Area]
[Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park]
[Fort Humboldt State Historic Park]
[Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park]
[Standish - Hickey State Recreation Area]
[Humboldt Redwoods State Park ]
[Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park ]
[Humboldt Lagoons State Park]
[Lake Earl State Park]
[Patrick's Point State Park]
[Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park]
[Richardson Grove State Park]
[Sinkyone Wilderness State Park]
[Trinidad State Beach]

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Revised: 21 September 1997
Copyright © 1997 Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association