NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Smith River

The Smith River

Description: A 10,000 acre must- see park straddling the Smith River in Del Norte county 9 miles east of Crescent City. Named for the first European (and famed "Mountain Man") to explore these parts starting in 1826. The park has about 20 miles of hiking and nature trails, river access, a small visitor center with exhibits and a nature store. It was established in 1928 to preserve groves of old-growth coast redwoods. Fishing is for salmon and steelhead in the Smith River, the only remaining major free-flowing (no dams) river in the state.  Part of the Redwoods National/ State Parks group, along with Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Redwood National Park. All are managed jointly by the National Park Service & the California Dept. of Parks & Recreation. Similar to Del Norte, this park is largely undeveloped so drivers will not encounter an endless number of pull-offs at marquee attractions. There are a couple of nice side trips. Unpaved but reasonably well maintained Howland Hill Road provides a quiet ride thru a redwood forest, with periodic access to the Smith River for swimming of picnicking. It is suitable for any type of passenger vehicle but is not recommended for large motorhomes or trailers as it is windy and narrow in spots. It intersects Hwy. 199, which makes for a very pretty paved ride along the Smith River into the Six Rivers National Forest. East of the village of Hiouchi campers will find a series of forest service campgrounds along the river. All-in-all a nice area to go exploring.

Facilities: 106 developed campsites for tents or RV's to 36 feet and trailers to 31 feet. 5 hike-in/ bike-in sites. 1 group site for up to 50 people. Picnic tables, fire grills and food lockers. Some sites with wheelchair access. Separate picnic area, visitor center, hiking, restrooms with showers, dump station. Reservations accepted at Reserve America. Campground & facilities open year-round.

Open: Year round. Phone: 707-458-3018.

Location: From Crescent City go north on Hwy. 101; turn east on Hwy. 199 for 5 miles. Drive 4 more miles to the campground. GPS coordinates: Latitude/Longitude: 41.7817 / -124.1008.

Off-road Opportunities in Area: Howland Hill Road. 8.4 miles rated 1 (easy) for difficulty.