Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is one of California’s hidden gems. Though less than one square mile total in size, the 393-acre park contains some of the world’s most lush redwood groves.
The park was established in 1943 after a generous land donation by Owen R. Cheatham. The former chairman of the board of Georgia Pacific Lumber was so captivated by the area’s beauty that he wanted it to be preserved for future generations.
The ancient redwood trees of Cheatham Grove provided the backdrop for the famous Star Wars: Return of the Jedi scooter chase scene. Fans of the film come to experience the trees in real life, but all tourists are captivated by the grove’s majestic views and quiet seclusion.
With three separate sections of unspoiled riverfront, Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park offers a quiet area to boat, swim, and picnic. Fishing enthusiasts can catch steelhead and salmon in the fall and winter months.
Hikers can traverse four and a half miles of scenic trails through the redwood groves while catching glimpses of black-tailed deer, blue herons, and river otters.
The park’s campground offers 30 campsites typically available year-round. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring with access to restrooms and showers.
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is off the beaten path but still simple to find.
Located about 30 miles inland from the Pacific Coast, visitors can navigate to the park’s entrance by traveling 20 miles southeast on Highway 101 through Eureka, California, and then continuing 17 miles east on Highway 36.
Roads throughout the park and in the campground are paved, making them easy to traverse by car or RV. The park is also accessible by bicycle and on foot. The park’s trail system connects both the campground and the visitor center with four distinct redwood groves.
Parking is available at the visitor center, and one parking space is included with each campsite. There are two overflow parking lots near the park entrance that are a favorite parking location for fisherman coming to angle in the Van Duzen River.
All major travel routes are paved and ADA accessible.
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park Campground offers 30 campsites typically open year round to RV campers. While there are no hook-ups available, the campground has drinking water, restrooms, showers, and extra parking. Each site also includes a picnic table, fire ring, and fire grate. Visitors can easily access trailheads that lead to four different redwood groves and enjoy fishing and swimming in the Van Duzen River. Pets are allowed on leash.
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is divided by two major water sources: Grizzly Creek and the Van Duzen River. The area where these two waterways meet creates a popular swimming hole for locals and tourists. In the summer months, swimmers can access the swimming hole from the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park Campground or using the Fisher Wouk Trail. There are no lifeguards on duty, so be cautious of strong currents caused by wind and recent rain.
The Visitor Center at Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is the perfect place to learn more about the redwoods, park history, and the wildlife that call the area home. During peak season, the visitor center features scheduled events and interactive programs for guests. Enjoy summer campfire programs, nature walks, and learning from park rangers. Young guests can participate in the Junior Ranger program. The visitor center also serves as the trailhead for the self-guided Nature Trail tour.
With both Grizzly Creek and the Van Duzen River flowing through the park, visitors have plenty of opportunities to explore the area by boat. In early spring, fluctuating river depth and strong river currents turn the Van Duzen River into a Class III boating experience. In the summer months, the water tends to be calmer and is a favorite location for rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. Local boat rentals are available, or bring your own equipment along.
Though small compared to many other state parks, the 393 acres of Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park still offer plenty of wilderness to be explored. Hikers can hit four and a half miles of trails that wind through the redwood groves and along the riverfront. Four distinct loops grant access to the four major groves of trees. Hikers are asked to please stay on designated trail ways to preserve the forest ecosystem and protect the local wildlife. Pets, except for service animals, are not allowed on the trails.
The Van Duzen River is fisherman’s playground. With four recommended fishing areas and additional fishing spots along the shoreline, there is no shortage of space to spread out and enjoy a day of angling. In late fall and early winter, steelhead and salmon migrate up the river from the ocean. Depending on the season and current population numbers, certain fishing areas may be catch and release with barbless hooks. All individuals ages 16 and over must be in possession of a valid California fishing license.
When it’s too cold for swimming, enjoy a day picnicking on the shore. Two designated picnic areas near the visitor center and campgrounds offer picnic tables and BBQ grills as well as access to drinking water. A 30-unit group picnic area is available by reservation for larger gatherings. Store food in the provided bear-resistant lockers, and remember to not feed the wildlife. Keep your eyes open for great blue herons that fish among the rocks and otters that play on the river banks.