Recently, David Miller posted on the REI posted about seven U.S. state parks that offer up some great camping opportunities (see article: “7 U.S. STATE PARKS WITH INCREDIBLE CAMPING OPPORTUNITIES“). One of the parks mentioned was California’s own Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
David wrote that “Camping in a redwood forest is mystical. Tucked within a massive canopy of redwood, western hemlock, Sitka spruce, and grand and Douglas fir, and with a soft layer of duff covering the forest floor, there’s a sense of quiet and peace here. Sounds are dampened. Jedediah Smith is an entrancing place to camp: just imagine looking up through the huge branches and the understory of madrone and bigleaf maple, strolling through the giants in the Stout Grove, and wading in the crystal clear Smith River, the last major undammed river in California.”
I’ve stayed at the park a few times – once when it was crowded, once when I swear I was the only one in the park! – and have to agree. It’s a great place to visit.
The park was established in 1929 on a watershed for the Smith River and Mill Creek. It’s made up of 10,000 acres that include old-growth coast redwood groves, deep fern gullies, and a blanket of azaleas rhododendrons. The park offers 20 miles of nature trails for hiking, river access, and has 89 campsites. The park contains 7% of all of the old-growth redwoods left in the entire world.
From the website:
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is the last in a long string of redwood parks that stretch up Northern California’s coast. A few miles inland from the ocean, the park is densely forested with huge ancient trees. In fact, it contains seven percent of all the old-growth redwoods left in the world. No roads or trails mark “Jed Smith’s” core–just pure, primeval majesty.
The park was named for Jedediah Strong Smith, who in the 1820s became the first white man to explore the interior of northern California. The park was established in 1929 with a small parcel donated to Save the Redwoods League by the family of lumberman Frank Stout.
Today you can fish, snorkel, or kayak in the Smith River, the longest major free-flowing river in California; take a historic drive on Howland Hill Road; enjoy a campfire program at Jedediah Smith Campground; or hike through a lush rainforest on 20 miles of trails. The 1936 film Last of the Mohicans was filmed just upstream, in the Smith River National Recreation area.
The park has a visitor center, nature store, river access, and is a fun place to spend a few days.
You can read the REI blog David Miller wrote HERE.
You can find out more about Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park HERE.