After a great backpacking trip along Redwood Creek and Tall Trees Grove we drove to our home for the next two nights: Jedediah Smith Campground. The campground is located in Jedediah Smith State Park, at the northern end of Redwood National and State Parks. It’s also just outside Crescent City, which gave us the flexibility to check out some local restaurants during our stay. Glamping, anyone?
We reserved our campsite the day it became available so we wouldn’t miss out. We went through the same process for our stay at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground. Since then, the reservation process has changed, but can still be challenging to navigate.
After our dinner at SeaQuake Brewing in Crescent City, we arrived at Jed Smith campground. Our site, #18, had a bear box, picnic table, and fire ring. It is conveniently located across from one of the three restrooms in the campground. Each restroom has flush toilets, sinks, and showers. There was no soap, or even sanitizer – we definitely recommend bringing your own!
To continue the glamping experience, we also took hot showers. There were two shower stalls, each with a changing area. It cost $0.50 for two minutes (a steal), and $0.25 for each additional minute. The water took about 30 seconds to warm up, and was well worth it. The bathrooms were clean, and we were grateful for a hot shower.
The campground was quiet, which made for a peaceful night’s sleep. When we awoke the next morning, we could see our campsite a lot better. It was a mostly shaded spot with redwoods, though close to some neighbors. Behind us was a stunning view of the emerald green Smith River and sandy beach. Additionally, directly behind our site was River Beach Trail, which winds around the campground.
The northern part of Jed Smith campground has five “hike and bike-in” campsites. There are also 4 sparse cabins in the campground. They cost $100 per night, which seems steep. Still, part of me wishes we had stayed there, just for the experience.
After a quick oatmeal breakfast, we walked to Jedediah Smith Visitor Center, which is centrally located within the campground. It has a small gift shop, and behind it is an amphitheater that hosts ranger programs a few evenings a week. A day use area also allows river access to non-campers for $8 per car. According to the park website, day access is free to those who hike or bike in.
Next we headed to Hiouchi Visitor Center, where we met for a kayaking trip on Smith River. It’s an easy walk along the road, less than a quarter mile from the campground.
After our kayaking trip, we headed to the beach near our campsite to warm up. It was a sunny afternoon in the 70s, and a number of other visitors were enjoying the area too. A log staircase, with no handrail, led to the beach – so we had to be careful.
While we really enjoyed our campsite, we did see larger sites that were closer to the river and nearer to large redwood trees. Those campsites, 47-58, were on the lower level on a smaller loop. I might try to reserve one of those someday when we return. But you really can’t go wrong with any site in this peaceful and well-maintained campground. This was my favorite campground so far on our adventures, aside from the primitive Duck Harbor Campground in Acadia NP.
Jedediah Smith Campground | 86 Campsites | 7 Hike-in Campsites | 4 Cabins
Date Visited: July 20 – 22, 2017
Location: Jedediah Smith State Park, 10 miles east of Crescent City, CA (Google Maps Directions)
Amenities: Hot Showers | Cabins | Potable Water | Fire Pits & Barbecues | Picnic Table | Flush Toilets | Bear boxes | Visitor Center
Dates Open: Year-round
Prices: $35/night for campsite | $100/night for cabin (summer), $80/night (winter)
Highlights: Redwood trees, beach
Best Sites: We recommend any site, but sites 47-58 are closer to the beach with larger redwood trees.
Notes: Reservations are accepted up to six months in advance and no less than 48 hours; otherwise first-come, first served. Check-in time is 2pm, check-out is 12:00 pm. Most popular dates are mid-May through late September.
- Jedediah Smith Campground | 1461 US-199, Crescent City, CA 95531
- Hiouchi Chevron (for supplies) | 2100 US-199, Crescent City, CA 95531