Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

How to get there: 50 miles north of Eureka, California, 45 miles south of Crescent City, California just off Highway 101 via the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. For information call (707) 464-6101 ext. 5301.

Set aside in the early 1920's by the forethought of the people of California and the generosity of the Save-the-Redwoods League, Prairie Creek is a 14,000 acre sanctuary of old growth coast redwood. Designated as a World Heritage Site and Man in the Biosphere Preserve, the park has over 280 Save-the-Redwoods League memorial groves.

There are over 70 miles of hiking trails through verdant forests and along wild and scenic beaches. As the park is a preserve of uncut forest, all trails lead you through the world's tallest trees. Nowhere can you better appreciate the splendor of a ancient redwood forest. Take time to walk some of the many and varied trails. There are all-day hikes and short leisurely strolls. The terrain is relatively mild with only 800 feet of elevation gain throughout the park.

The park has two developed campgrounds. The Elk Prairie has 75 campsites that can accommodate up to 24 foot trailers and 27 foot motor homes. Elk Prairie campground is located six miles north of Orick on the N.B. Drury Scenic Parkway. The Gold Bluffs Beach campground has 25 campsites and is reached by way of Davison Road, off Highway 101, three miles north of Orick (vehicle size restrictions apply). Both campgrounds offer fire rings, tables and bear proof food lockers with water nearby. There are rest rooms with flush toilets and hot showers. Both campgrounds are open all year. The Gold Bluff Beach camp is on first-come-first-served basis. The Elk Prairie camp can be reserved during the summer by calling Destinet at (800) 444-7275.

The park also has two backcountry camps and an environmental camp. Backcountry campers are reminded they must register and park at the visitor center and must camp in the designated campsites at Butler Creek camp and Miner's Ridge camp. Both camps are open all year and registration and fee payment is required.

Watch for native Roosevelt elk in the prairie along the N.B. Drury Scenic Parkway and on spectacular Gold Bluffs Beach. Gray whale, rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, mink, otter, fox coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, and bear might also be spotted. And of course the infamous banana slug, an important and welcome resident of the forest, is readily viewable.

Over 260 species of birds have been sighted within the park boundaries. The combination of open prairie, forest, stream side woodlands, coastal headlands, beach and ocean provides a wide variety of habitats. Some species of special note include the spotted owl and marbled murrelet, both believed to be dependent on old growth forest.

Prairie Creek offers hiking, nature study, wildlife viewing, beach combing, fishing, picnicking, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in a nutshell:

Visitation: 500,000/year
Location/directions: 50 miles north of Eureka, California and 45 miles south of Crescent City. Take N.B. Drury Scenic Parkway turnoff of Highway 101.
Address: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Orick, CA 95555
Telephone: (707) 464-6101 ext. 5301.
Operating hours/seasons: Campground open all year. Day use sunrise to sunset. Visitor Center open daily.
Climate/recommended clothing: Summer 40-75. Cooler along the coast. Morning and evening fog is common. Winter 30-55. Dress for rain Nov.-May with up to 70 inches annually.
Travel Directions: 45 miles south of Crescent City and 50 miles north of Eureka on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway- just west of Highway 101.
Fees/costs/rates: Car campsites - off season $12, on season $16. Showers need quarters. Backpack campsites $3/person. Environmental campsites $9/night on season $7/night off season. Day use $5/car. Senior citizens receive $2 discount on camping and $1 discount on day use.
Facilities: 70+ miles of hiking trails, beach access, water access, visitor center with exhibits, nature store, RV dump station.
Reservations/permits: Car campgrounds recommended during summer season. Not necessary rest of year. Backpack & environmental campsites are first come - first served.
Basic visit recommendations: Plan to hike trails. Don't miss Fern Canyon. Roosevelt elk frequent meadows and beach. Campgrounds are in quiet settings great for relaxing. Nearest groceries six miles south in Orick.
Special events/programs: Annual Banana Slug Derby - third Saturday in August, Candlelight Celebration of Ancient Redwood Forest - second Saturday in December.
Visitor impacts: Medium to light use on trails. Campgrounds full all summer.
Adjacent visitor attractions: Lake Earl State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Redwood National Park, Humboldt Lagoons State Park, Patrick's Point State Park.

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: 22 September 1997
Copyright © 1997 Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association