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Pets allowed
Yes-restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
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The drive into Richardson Grove State Park on US-101 is one you won’t soon forget. Here one of the largest stands of roadside old-growth coast redwoods in California shoot skywards hundreds feet overhead, dwarfing the vehicles below. What you see from the road, however, is only a taste of what the park has to offer; you’ll need to pull off of the highway and explore this remote southern Humboldt redwood grove on foot for the full experience.

Originally established in 1922 as a concession containing 120 acres of redwoods, Richardson Grove has since grown to encompass over 2,000 acres and become a beloved public land holding within the California State Park system. In addition to the virgin coast redwood trees, some of which exceed 1,000 years in age and heights over 300 feet, the park is home to a scenic stretch of the South Fork of the Eel River complete, copious wildlife, shaded campgrounds and numerous hiking trails all worth exploring.

Not surprisingly, summer is the park’s busiest time of year, and vacationers come from near and far to camp under Richardson Grove’s giant trees. Huckleberry and Madrone campgrounds offer year round access, and Oak Flat  is a seasonal summertime campground. Summer also brings the heat, turning attention to the river's calm waters that draw in both locals and visitors alike to cool off in Richardson Groves multiple swimming holes. Family-friendly beaches, deep pools and jumping rocks make for a fun and refreshing way to spend a mid-summer's day. During winter the same river waters are popular with anglers fishing for Eel River steelhead and salmon.

Richardson Grove is also home to multiple hiking trails ranging from an ADA-accessible Grove Nature Trail, which explores some of the grandest trees in the park, to longer and more strenuous loops. For those looking to get out beyond the park's core, the Toumey Trail and Lookout Point Loop are good options. A visitor center and picnic facilities are also available.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Massive old-growth coast redwoods. Swimming holes, hiking and camping.

Cons

None.

Address

US-101
4
Garberville, CA 95542
United States

Features

Showers
Campgrounds + Campsites
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Old-growth forest
Fishing

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area
Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area

Comments

07/05/2017
We camped here over the July 4 weekend (July 1 - July 5, 2017) and it was... OK.

We're the type of campers who like to go someplace pretty, stay in a quiet-ish campground, and have lots of hikes and activities nearby. This isn't that kind of campground.

Which isn't to say it's a terrible campground. Absolutely not. It's perfect for families who are happy spending the day in the river. It's great for larger groups who want to camp near each other and have their family reunion in an outdoor setting where the kids can roam freely while the parents sit around a campfire and chill.

Some things to keep in mind:
- The park is on both sides of 101, and all three campgrounds are close enough to hear traffic noise all day and night. 101 is a heavily traveled highway, being the main north-south thoroughfare in this part of the state.
- The river is directly next to the highway.
- There are a few nature hikes, some short (.5 mile or so), and a couple of longer ones (3+ miles). The hikes on the west side of 101 are all linked, so you can do them as one long hike (7+ miles), or take them in smaller segments.
- Many of the sites in the Oak Flat campground aren't actually flat. We had a devil of a time finding a spot for our tent that wasn't on an incline.
- If you're planning on going in 2017, keep in mind that much of this part of the state took a beating last winter, and some of the trails that were under tree cover aren't anymore because of landslides. Also, trail markers might be missing.


One happy event was that we learned that the town of Benbow, just north of Richardson Grove, has an annual July 4th fireworks show, and your pass to RG will get you into the park where there's excellent viewing.
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