Crescent City California is a great place to live and play with many outdoor activities. If you're more inclined to engage in challenging physical adventures, you can go kayaking, river and ocean fishing, surfing, and hiking and biking on our more strenuous trails. And there is so much in between like golfing, canoeing, birdwatching or having a picnic on the beach.
Redwood National & State Parks
Most people know Redwood as home to the tallest trees on Earth. But the parks also protect vast prairies, oak woodlands, wild riverways, and nearly 40 miles of pristine coastline, all supporting a rich mosaic of wildlife diversity and cultural traditions. Together, the National Park Service and California State Parks manage these lands for the inspiration, enjoyment, and education of all people.
1111 2nd Street
Crescent City , CA 95531 Phone: (707) 465-7301
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Established in 1929, this predominately old growth coastal redwoods park is bisected by the last major free flowing river in California, the Smith River. Almost all of the park land is water shed for the Smith River and Mill Creek, a major tributary.
The park has about 20 miles of hiking and nature trails, river access, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store. Drive Howland Hill Road (gravel-not recommended for trailers) and stroll in Stout Grove.
Nine miles east of Crescent City on Highway 199.
Learn more about Jedediah State Park by following these links:
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
The park, established in 1927, has approximately 50% old growth coast redwood and eight miles of wild coastline.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Set aside in the early 1920's by the people of California and the generosity of the Save-the-Redwoods League, Prairie Creek is a sanctuary of old growth coast redwood.
Prairie Creek offers hiking, camping, nature study, wildlife viewing, beach combing, picnicking, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store.
This park, along with Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and the National Park Service's Redwood National Park, are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. These parks make up 45 percent of all the old-growth redwood forest remaining in California.
25 miles south of Crescent City on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway off of Highway 101.
The visitor center & Elk Prairie Campground are located at the southern end of the Parkway.
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground and Fern Canyon are accessed by Davison Road, which is, located 3 miles north of Orick off of Highway 101. 40 miles from Crescent City.
Davison Road, the access road to Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach, has vehicle limitations 8' wide and 24' long. No trailers are allowed.
The Siskiyou Wilderness rises like a blue-green wall on the eastern edge of Del Norte County. The United States Congress created the Siskiyou Wilderness in 1984 and it now encompasses 152,680 acres (239 square miles) of forests, rivers, meadows and other scenic areas where adventure awaits!
Bigfoot Just Might Live Here
The Siskiyou Wilderness is one of California's wildest and most remote lands. If Bigfoot really exists, it surely spends time in the Siskiyou. Unusual soils, great rises and drops in elevation, and plenty of water all combine to offer a refuge for literally thousands of life-forms, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. Ancient forests consist of as many as twenty species of cone-bearing trees, the second greatest conifer diversity in the world. Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout ply the region's many streams, especially Blue, Dillon, and Clear creeks and the renowned South Fork Smith River.
The Siskiyou Wilderness is crossed by many trails that offer a great way to get away from it all. Some of these paths are only an hour east of Crescent City. To get directions to these trails and to check on conditions, contact the Smith River National Recreation Area at 707-457-3131. These terrific trails include:
Buck Lake Trail
It's an easy three-quarter mile hike to pretty Buck Lake from the parking area. Along the way, you can enjoy flowers and stately firs and pines.
Clear Creek National Recreation Trail to Young's Valley:
Visitors can walk for four miles along splashing, gurgling Clear Creek to visit charming Young's Valley. The valley is a large meadow surrounded by ancient forest. This area makes an excellent camping or picnicking spot.
Clear Creek National Recreation Trail to Wilderness Falls:
The adventurous can access this stunning, 35-foot high ribbon of water by continuing along the Clear Creek Trail for another three miles beyond Young's Valley (see previous hike).
South Kelsey National Recreation Trail
This historic trail once went from Crescent City east to Yreka, linking the coast to the gold fields of the interior Klamath Mountains. Portions of it remain today, including a highly scenic stretch perched above the South Fork Smith River where one can see salmon and steelhead glistening in the turquoise waters over a hundred feet below.
If you'd rather just relax and admire this spectacular area from an eagle's perspective, you may want to rent the Bear Basin Butte Fire Lookout from the Forest Service for $75 per night. It's available from July-September and offers toilets and beds, in addition to world-class views. For reservations, call 877-444-6777 and ask for “Bear Basin Cabin.” If you'd just like to enjoy the view, you can walk up the short road to the tower anytime the area is snow-free.
Coast to Crest Trail
Stroll down the South Kelsey National Recreation Trail for your first taste of what is to become the Coast to Crest Trail, a project that is being undertaken by various agencies within Del Norte County. The Coast to Crest Trail will connect the historic Crescent City Harbor to the wild and rugged crest of the Siskiyou Mountains, providing a unique opportunity to follow the culturally-rich route pioneered by Native Americans and used by miners during California's Gold Rush.
The trail will traverse the majestic forests of Redwood National and State Parks and the picturesque terrain of the Smith River National Recreation Area on its way to the Siskiyou Wilderness, where adventurous souls can follow existing trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail. It will include rewarding recreational and educational opportunities for all levels of hikers, walkers, cyclists, equestrians, and nature enthusiasts. Segments of the trail are already open for public use, such as the South Kelsey Trail, while others will be completed in coming years.
Six Rivers National Forest
Six Rivers National Forest stretches east of Redwood State and National Parks in northwestern California, and reaches southward from the Oregon border for about 140 miles. It encompasses 957,590 beautiful National Forest acres and 133,410 acres of other ownership. Smith River National Recreation Area and some other southern Ranger Districts make up the Forest. The Forest lies primarily in Del Norte County, but also is located within the counties of Humboldt, Trinity, and Siskiyou. It consists of a long, narrow land section, that begins on the Oregon border on the north and goes all the way to Mendocino County on the south.
One of Del Norte County's favorite outdoor playgrounds is The Smith River National Recreation Area which is located in Six Rivers National Forest and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Smith River National Recreation Area forms a northern border to Redwood National and State Parks. The Coast Range and the Smith River, the longest National Wild and Scenic River in the U.S., offer a variety of recreational opportunities. The recreation area is considered one of the best fishing regions in the U.S., with trophy sized steelhead trout, chinook salmon and other game fish species. Smith River National Recreation Area has five campgrounds located near major streams and along the Smith River. Rafting is popular in the summer months and most hiking trails are accessible year-round.
This web site development was supported by a USDA Forest Service Resource Advisory Committee grant; we are thankful for this support. This site is full of great information on Six Rivers National Forest and the Smith River National Recreation Area 10600 Highway 199 Gasquet, CA 95543 (707) 457-3131 FAX: (707) 457-3794.
Camping in the Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks offer four developed campgrounds, three in the redwood forest and one on the ocean. Tidbits to know: no trailer hook-ups exist; there is a charge for each extra vehicle per site; and day use fees are charged.
Campsites: Mill Creek, Jedediah Smith, Elk Prairie and Gold Bluffs Beach
Redwood National and State Parks Website National Park Service Website
Details and contact information for Redwood National and State Parks Campgrounds.
Redwood National Park Primitive Camping (Northern Backcountry)
These undeveloped, backcountry campsites are perfect for those who prefer the quiet hours on the trail and being amidst the pristine, natural habitats of old-growth redwood forests, unspoiled beaches, prairies and more.
10 campsites located on a high bluff along the Coastal Trail offers sweeping ocean vistas. Toilets, picnic tables, bear-proof lockers and fire pits. No potable water.
Directions: Park at mile marker 14.4 on the east side of Highway 101 (1/2-mile hike in), at the north end of Wilson Creek bridge (3 miles to camp), or at the Hostel (3 mile hike in). Learn more.
This campground features superb wildlife viewing and one of the finest old-growth redwood groves. 10 campsites are available with picnic tables, toilets, fire pits and bear-proof lockers. No potable water.
Directions: Park on the west side of Coastal Drive as it crests and ocean-view ridge
(trailhead across the road 1/4-mile in) or park at the trailhead on the north end of Coastal Drive at the Douglas Bridge parking lot (hike 4.2 miles in on Flint Ridge Trail — poorly marked trailhead). Learn more.
Little Bald Hills Horse/Backpack Camp
Campground features 5 campsites with old-growth forest and an open prairie. Horse and bike accessible. Toilets, potable water, a horse bar, picnic tables and fire rings are available.
Directions: Park at the trailhead off the east end of Howland Hill Road. 4.5-mile strenuous climb. Learn more.
This camp, located along the Coastal Trail, provides a lush, coastal environment alongside a stream. Located alongside the Coastal Trail, access from south or north. From the north, Enderts Beach Road provides the easiest and quickest access with an easy .05 mile trail to the site, picnic tables, fire pits, bear-proof lockers, and toilets. Located a quarter mile from the ocean alongside a stream, this campsite features a lush coastal environment and the beauty of nearby Enderts Beach. Purify water from the stream before drinking. No potable water.
Directions: Park at the end of Enderts Beach Road, 4 miles south of Crescent City. 1/2 mile trail to the camp
Beaches in Del Norte County
Unlike most of the Northern California beaches, you'll find many in Del Norte that are completely accessible.
Located in Redwood National Park, it is the preferred location for scenery, beach quality and solitude. One of the smallest beaches in the state, this solitary beach offers an expanse of tidepools at low tide. A special beach worth a side trip. Restrooms and picnic tables.
Location: End of Enderts Beach Road, off Highway 101 south of Crescent City. Trail leads to beach.
Enderts Beach has been named in the Top 10 Secluded U.S. Beaches by ShermansTravel staff! Find out more here.
High Bluff Beach
Located in Redwood National Park, this overlooked, magnificent jewel on a secluded cove resembles a hidden paradise. At the picnic area, breathtaking views of the coast are in store for you. To reach the beach below, follow the 1/2 mile trail through forests and a series of switchbacks. The volcanic sand is soft and light brown and because the waves erase footprints every 12 hours, the beach has a pristine, unvisited appearance.
Location: From Highway 1 at Klamath River, turn west onto Alder Camp Road. Follow this road to Coastal Drive and turn right into High Bluffs picnic area. Trail leads to beach.
Pelican State Beach
Pelican State Beach offers beautiful ocean views. This undeveloped site is on the Oregon border. The small, secluded beach is perfect for walking and beachcombing. The beach has the distinction of being the northern-most state beach.
The beach is 21 miles north of Crescent City on Highway 101.
Wilson Creek Beach
One of the most accessible beaches in the area, this is one of those rare points where Highway 101 flirts with the ocean's edge on the North Coast. The wide, sandy beach is not visited often, but is great for strolling and has some excellent tide pools at low tide. This beach is not swimmer-friendly. Restrooms and picnic tables.
Location: From Highway 101, 5.5 miles north of Klamath, take Wilson Creek Road west. Beach is at the end of the road.
Kayaking and Rafting
If you love the water you will love Del Norte County! The rivers offer paddlers a wide variety of runs. The sparkling waters of the Smith River provide all kinds of options.
These rivers hold the most spectacular fishing stories of record-breaking chinook salmon and steelhead trout. The California Pacific coastline and other hot fishing spots such as Damnation Creek, Hidden Beach, and Freshwater Lagoon are found in Del Norte County and its Redwood National and State Parks. Check out more about Del Norte Fishing.
Must See Outdoor List While Visiting Del Norte County
Howland Hill Road/Stout Grove
An exceptionally beautiful six-mile scenic drive through old-growth redwoods following the historic stagecoach route to Oregon; 1/2-mile walk through river bottom grove of tremendous trees. Enjoy outstanding old growth redwoods, Mill Creek and the Smith River. From U.S. 101 in Crescent City take Elk Valley Road 1 mile to Howland Hill.
Enderts Beach/Crescent Beach
Outstanding Pacific Ocean view from the overlook; 1-mile walk to Enderts Beach provides access to tide pools. Check low tide times. 2 miles south of Crescent City on U.S. 101, turn south on Enderts Beach Road.
Simpson Reed Trail
A magnificent redwood grove with a short and easy trail. Parking of any size vehicle on U.S. 199, three miles east of U.S. 101/199 junction.
Klamath River Overlook
Watch for gray whales, other marine mammals, and seabirds; hike 1/4-mile steep trail to lower overlook. 18 miles south of Crescent City on U.S. 101, turn west on Requa Road and travel 2.5 miles to overlook.
Eight-mile rough road winds past expansive Pacific Ocean views and descends into redwoods at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway/Big Tree Wayside – Ten-mile scenic drive through old-growth redwoods; 1/8-mile walk to Big Tree Wayside; Roosevelt elk viewing in the prairie. 22 miles south of Crescent City on U.S. 101, turn west on Klamath Beach Road to river mouth and start of Coastal Drive.
Roosevelt elk viewing; Two-mile Trillium Falls Trail loop. Gold Bluffs Beach – Go beyond Davison Road to access this isolated Pacific beach; hike Fern Canyon with thirty-foot walls full of ferns; birdwatching and hiking. 40 miles south of Crescent City on U.S. 101, turn west on Davison Road.