PRAIRIE CREEK REDWOODS STATE PARK
Set aside in the early 1920?s by the forethought of the people of California and the generosity of the Save-the-Redwoods League, Prairie Creek is a 14,000 acre sanctuary of old growth coast redwood.
Prairie Creek offers hiking, nature study, wildlife viewing, beach combing, picnicking, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store.
This park, along with Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and the National Park Service's Redwood National Park, are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. These parks make up 45 percent of all the old-growth redwood forest remaining in California.
Set aside in the early 1920?s by the forethought of the people of California and the generosity of the Save-the-Redwoods League, Prairie Creek is a 14,000 acre sanctuary of old-growth coast redwood. Designated as a World Heritage Site & Man in the Biosphere Preserve, the park has over 280 Save-the-Redwoods League memorial groves.
There are over 70 miles of hiking trails through lush forests and along wild and scenic beaches. As the park is a preserve of uncut forest, all trails lead you through the world?s tallest trees. Nowhere can you better appreciate the splendor of an ancient redwood forest. Take time to walk some of the many and varied trails. There are all-day hikes and short leisurely strolls. The terrain is relatively mild with only 800? of elevation gain throughout the park.
The park has two developed campgrounds. The Elk Prairie has 75 campsites that can accommodate up to 24? trailers and 27? motor homes. Elk Prairie campground is located 6 miles north of Orick on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. The Gold Bluffs Beach campground has 25 campsites and is reached by way of Davison Road, off HWY. 101, 3 miles north of Orick (vehicle size restriction apply). Both campgrounds offer fire rings, tables and bear proof food lockers with water nearby. There are rest rooms with flush toilets and hot showers. Both campgrounds are open all year. The Gold Bluff Beach camp is on first-come-first-served basis. The Elk Prairie camp can be reserved during the summer by calling (800) 444-7275.
The park also has two backcountry camps and an environmental camp. Backcountry campers are reminded they must register and park at the visitor center and must camp in the designated campsites at Ossagon Trail camp and Miner?s Ridge camp. Both camps are open all year and registration and fee payment is required.
Watch for native Roosevelt elk in the prairie along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and on spectacular Gold Bluffs Beach. Gray whale, rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, mink, otter, fox coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, and bear might also be spotted. And of course the infamous banana slug, an important and welcome resident of the forest, is readily viewable.
Over 260 species of birds have been sighted within the park boundaries. The combination of open prairie, forest, streamside woodlands, coastal headlands, beach and ocean provides a wide variety of habitats. Some species of special note include the spotted owl and marbled murrelet, both believed to be dependent on old-growth forest.
Prairie Creek offers hiking, nature study, wildlife viewing, beach combing, fishing, picnicking, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store.
Mostly old growth forest of coast redwood, western hemlock and Douglas fir with Sitka spruce and red alder near the 10 miles of sandy coast line. Because of prevalent coastal fog, the understory of the forest is very dense. Tanoak, cascara, big leaf and vine maple and California bay can be found on edges of prairies. Ground cover is dense with a wide range of species and varieties of shrubs, bushes, flowers, ferns, mosses, and lichens common to the coast redwood environment. Western azalea and rhododendron bloom in May/June and offer bright accents to the dense green of the forest. The Rhododendron Trail is a favorite for seeing this showy display.
Park wildlife is both abundant and varied including such animals as black bear, Roosevelt elk, deer, coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, skunk, fox, squirrel, chipmunk and many others.
14,000 acres of old growth redwood including prairies and 10 miles of scenic Gold Bluffs Beach
Designated as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.