Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park boasts an unreal old-growth Redwood forest along with 106 campsites and a plethora of exciting activities. The 10,000-acre park was established in 1929 in honor of Jedediah Smith, an early explorer who traveled west from Mississippi to California. Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park is located 9 miles east of Crescent City, California and is a special place that is a part of the 62,098-hectare UNESCO California Coast Ranges International Biosphere. The park encompasses 7% of the world’s old-growth redwood forests that were once abundant in Northern California.
Jedediah Smith is a well-known early American explorer who journeyed into the area of the park in 1928. Smith was instrumental in explaining the geology and geography of the western United States including Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. The park was originally home to the Tolowa Native American tribe who inhabited the area until the depletion of resources and cultural conflicts with European settlers. Most of the tribal members were decimated by disease that the new settlers introduced into the environment.
Once at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park you can enjoy a wide range of year-round services including campsites that are ideal for all types of visitors from RVers to bikers to hikers. There are a number of activities to enjoy within the park including fishing, boating, kayaking, and 20-miles of hiking trails that wind through incredible redwood trees that tower 350 feet into the sky.
The climate within the park brings temperatures of 30 degrees in the winter with up to 100 inches of rain to 85 degrees in the summer with foggy skies.
RV Rentals in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Transportation in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park is accessed from State Highway 199 which runs east to west and is the only paved road within the park. The highway dissects the northern portion of the park. While driving along the highway, you will find it easy to navigate the eastern portion with several hairpins turns along the western portion. The highway climbs out of the park in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Visitors will also find a number of unpaved roads within the park. Walker Road runs north from State Highway 199 along a portion of the Smith River. The road does contain precarious driving conditions and RV drivers should use caution while navigating the road. Howland Hill Road travels through the southern portion of the park. Trailers and larger RVs are discouraged from traveling on the gravel road. Drivers will encounter several steep climbs, hairpin turns, and switchbacks while driving this road.
The campground offers one-way paved roads that meander through the various loops and arms of the campground. There are no real tight turns to maneuver between the various loops. Drivers are advised to be aware of pedestrians within the campground while driving under the posted 15 miles per hour speed limit. There are several parking lots dotted around the park including at the Simon Reed Grove Trail and Stout Memorial Grove. You can also park at the campground if you are staying overnight.
Campgrounds and parking in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Campsites in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith Campground
The campground at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park includes 106 campsites which are available for RVs, trailers, and tents. Each campsite contains a fire ring, picnic table, and metal food storage locker. Campsites are situated along five loops that are connected with a winding one-way road through the campground. RVs are limited to 25 feet in length and trailers must be 21 feet or shorter in length. There are no hookups or pull-through campsites available for RVs or trailers throughout the campground.
Parking pads are paved and generally level. Some sites are ADA-accessible. The campground boasts several shower and restrooms, as well as fresh drinking water stations. Other amenities within the campground include a visitor’s center, an amphitheater, and a winter boat ramp. The park offers a dump station for RVs and trailers at the entrance of the campground. Generator use is limited to daytime hours. Pets must be on a leash and must sleep within a tent, a car, trailer, or RV. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance and are highly recommended from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Additional Camping Facilities
There are four cabins available for rent at the campground. Each cabin contains two bunk beds, a table, and is furnished with lights, as well as heat. Outside there is a picnic table, fire ring, and barbecue grill. There is also an additional hiker/biker campground that features five campsites.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds in the park.
Seasonal activities in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Hiking is the most popular thing to do in Jedediah Smith Redwood Park. The park has more than 20 miles of established hiking trails that are perfect for novice or expert hikers. Easy hiking conditions exist on the half-mile Stout Grove Trail and the four-mile Hatton Trail. Moderate hiking trails include the one-mile Nickerson Ranch Trail, the four-mile Hiouchi Trail, and the nearly five-mile Boy Scout Trail. Expert hikers can enjoy the strenuous 10-mile Little Bald Hills Trail. No matter which trail you choose simply park your RV by the trail head and get on the move.
Enjoying Aquatic Activities
Smith River and Mill Creek offer visitors plenty of aquatic activities. There is a beach area along Smith River where you can snorkel and swim or try a standup paddleboard along a calm stretch of water. Kayakers find challenging river flows with numerous rapids and easy paddling flat areas where floating is superb while soaking up the scenery. Visitors will find two boat ramps within the park where they can launch their watercraft. The park allows motorized boats with size restrictions. If you are hauling your boat on your trailer head on over to the Smith River.
Bikers can enjoy a variety of terrain that ranges from paved and gravel roads to backcountry trails. Bicyclists relish peddling along the paved Redwood Highway while taking in the gorgeous scenery provided by the towering redwood forests. Other routes include the gravel Howland Hill Road that takes bicyclists to Crescent City along an interesting trek that includes plenty of hills to climb. Mountain bikers find a challenging ride along the 20-mile peddling journey on the Little Bald Hills Trail which culminates in Redwood National Park.
The Smith River is the longest major free-flowing river in California and flows along the eastern boundary of the park. Fishing conditions vary throughout the year so different species are available during specific seasons of the year. The confluence of the Smith River with Mill Creek boasts excellent conditions for catching steelhead and salmon during seasonal runs that last from October to February. Summertime offers great conditions for a variety of trout including cutthroat. RVers can fish from the shoreline as well as from boats. There are two boat ramps located at Society Hole and Summer Footbridge within the park.
Wildlife Viewing, Birding, and Photography
You will relish in taking photographs of the giant redwood trees. The forest is dense with old-growth redwood forest that spike into the sky up to 350 feet and many are 20 feet in diameter. Along with the old-growth forest, you will be able to take snapshots of wildlife such as black bears, deer, coyote, fox, and raccoons. Birds that occupy the forest canopy make for prize-winning photographs with bird species like ospreys, American dippers, bald eagles, and numerous species of woodpeckers.
Touring the Visitor's Center
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park has an interesting visitor’s center where you can learn more about the park. The center has numerous interactive exhibits that explain the eco-system, history, and cultural aspects of the park. Visitors can enjoy lectures and environmental programs about redwood forests and animals, as well as the Smith River which plays an important role within the park. The visitor’s center has several exhibits highlighting the life of early American explore Jedediah Smith who was instrumental in exploring many present-day states including California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.