Jedediah Smith Campground in Redwoods National and State Parks ranks as one of our Top 10 Campgrounds in all the places we’ve camped in the National Park Service. From the scenery straight out of Jurrasic Park to the top-notch amenities, there’s so much to love about this place. It’s also what makes it one of the top spots to camp in the Redwoods.
So what do you need to know about camping in Jedediah Smith Campground? If you’re looking for a family-friendly campground in the heart of an old-growth redwood forest, Jedediah Smith Campground is the spot for you.
Where is Jedediah Smith Campground located?
Jedediah Smith Campground is located within the 10,000 acres of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The campground is the farthest north of all the campgrounds in Redwood National and State Park.
To locate the campground, travel along Redwoods Highway (US Route 199) approximately 10 miles east of the town of Crescent City.
Jedediah Smith Campground Address
Crescent City, CA 95531
Park Phone: (707) 458-3018
Park Website: Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP
What amenities does Jedediah Smith Campground have?
Jedediah Smith is a full-service campground with more than 80 non-electric campsites. They also offer ADA-accessible cabins if you’re traveling without a tent or RV. While you’re visiting during the peak summer travel season (May to September), expect to find these amenities in the campground:
- Potable water. Vault toilets near each campsite. Multiple bathhouses with Flush toilets and showers are available in the campground.
- Some designated hike in/backpack tent sites away from the main campground loop. All other campsites are a mix of RV and tent sites. Expect that you may be camping with an RV nearby and daytime generator noise.
- Food storage lockers, picnic tables, fire rings in each campsite.
- Moderate to good cell-phone reception within the campground.
- Camp store and a ranger station with hiking information, books, and souvenirs available for purchase.
- Evening ranger programs in the campground.
- Boat launch and fishing pier access to the Smith River.
- Up close encounters BIG trees. The majority of the campsites sit under towering old-growth coastal redwoods.
How do you make reservations at Jedediah Smith? Are reservations necessary?
Short answer: Yes. All campsites within Redwood National and State Parks are in high demand. Reservations within Jedediah Smith campground are essential. Do not pull into the campground and expect to find a campsite in the busy travel months of May to October.
How to Make a Reservation
Campsite and cabin reservations can be made six months in advance on the California State Parks website: https://www.reservecalifornia.com/
If you plan to stay in a tent and would like a bit more privacy, it’s best to select sites on the outer ring of the campground loop or directly along the Smith River. These sites fill up first and are in the highest demand.
Where can I hike near the campground?
One of the features we liked best about camping here was the old-growth redwood forest. That’s what most people come to Redwoods for, right? Another perk of the campground is how many of the hiking trails in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park lead directly from the campground. Some of the most popular day hikes in the park can be found here or within a short drive.
Some of our favorites and recommendations:
- Self-Guided Nature/Beach Trail: Located off the west side of the campground this is a short walk along the banks of the Smith River. It’s a nice spot to head with a morning cup of coffee or for some peaceful wildlife watching late in the evening.
- Mill Creek Trail – During the summer months a footbridge crosses the Smith River directly south of the campground. This leads to the trailhead of the Mill Creek Trail, a 6-mile out-and-back hike through old-growth redwoods. It also meets up on Howland Road close to the trailhead for the Boy Scout Tree Trail.
- Boy Scout Tree Trail – This 5.3-mile trail offers some of the best old-growth forest hiking in Jedediah Smith. The moderate hike gains about 750 feet in elevation as it meanders along the Jordan Creek. End destination on this out-and-back trail is Fern Falls.
- Stout Grove Trail – Some consider this
0.6 miletrail to encompass the most scenic redwoods grove in the entire Redwoods National and State Parks system. An easy, flat walk through the woods, plan to arrive early in the morning for the maximum solitude when the sun streams through the trees.
Our Secret Tips to Know
- If you want to camp among big trees, then Jedediah Smith is where you’ll want to be. If wildlife is what you’re after, it’s not necessarily the best spot to camp in the park. Check out our “Best Spots to See Wildlife in the Redwoods” for alternative campgrounds to get up-close with the Roosevelt elk and other wildlife in the park.
- Redwoods is just a few hours away from the Oregon border and another national park site: Oregon Caves National Monument. It’s a lesser-known unit, but well worth the few hours drive into the gorgeous Siskiyou Mountains. Consider adding it to your road trip plans!
- While there’s a small chance of a bear encounter, we did see a bear while we were visiting Redwoods. The campground has bearproof food lockers and trash cans. Practice ‘bear-proof’ camping during your stay to make sure you keep the small number of bears safe in the park.
- For more secret tips on camping, check out our Amazon Kindle book “50 Things to Know About Tent Camping” (affiliate link).
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