A review from our tenting trip to Mill Creek Campground in Del Norte Redwoods State Park in California. Check out our reservation info and tips on picking the best campsite.
Roger and I have been camping our whole lives, most recently in our cargo trailer conversion. We brought our daughters up the same way and have passed our love of it on to them. Now that the girls are on their own, they have continued living the camping lifestyle. Our oldest, Addison, lives out West and frequently spends her summer vacations exploring the beautiful State parks in Colorado and beyond. She will pop in occasionally to share some of her camping experiences here on Must Love Camping. Make sure you sign up for email updates.
Last summer on our annual national park road trip, we stopped by Redwood National and State Parks in northern California. Visiting this park can be a bit daunting due to the size, which stretches for more than 40 miles along the coast of California. We didn’t know anything about the area but trusted our extensive internet research in order to determine where to stay. As luck would have it we found a great campground.
We stayed at Mill Creek Campground in Del Norte Redwoods State Park. Redwood National and State Parks is jointly managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service. There are three state parks that make up the park boundaries. The campground is 9 miles south of Crescent City on the coast of Northern California; 6 hours north of San Francisco and 40 minutes south of the Oregon-California state line.
The campground feels remote, the closest town and grocery store a 20-minute drive away in Crescent City. The entire campground sits in a lush, green forest with hundreds of new-growth redwood trees. While some sites are close, they are not on top of each other.
There are plenty of sites set back into groves of redwood trees if you are looking for something more secluded. The large trees drown out most of the noise in the park; if you haven’t experienced or seen redwoods before, this is the perfect spot to camp and experience the awe of these giant wonders.
While this campground is not close to town or any stores, it is a great access point to the rest of the park. We were able to easily explore the northern part of the park around the Hiouchi Visitor Center, the tide pools along the coast, and the southern part of the park near the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center with this central location.
Mill Creek Campground is 2 miles off highway 101. The drive into the park is on a steep, paved road but you can’t hear the highway once you’re in the campground. Sites are equipped with large bear boxes (this is California), fire rings, and picnic tables.
There are no hook ups on any of the sites, but there is an RV dump station in the campground. They do allow RVs up to 24-feet to stay. When we visited, the campground was filled with mostly small RVs and vans, with tents on many of the walk-in sites.
We are tent campers, so we opted for a hike-in campsite. We had to climb 50 stairs over a 100-foot walk to get to our site but were rewarded with one of the best sites in the campground.
Once at the site, we set our tent up in the middle of a grove of new-growth redwoods. While we didn’t see any bears in the campground, we did find a large banana slug inching along among the trees. Ah, the many wonders of nature!
Some of the sites are a little close together, but with the amount of redwoods in between each site, it feels pretty secluded and isolated. With a total of 145 sites, the campground is surprisingly quiet for the amount of people visiting.
The campground has flush toilets and showers (paid for with quarters). They weren’t the cleanest restrooms and they were dated, but after a week on the road, we were just happy to have a hot shower. We were visiting on a busy Fourth of July weekend and the camp host didn’t have any quarters, so make sure you bring some with you. The camp host was selling firewood.
Overall, this was a great campground to stay at and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s perfect for campers looking for a bit of a seclusion that don’t need an RV hook up.
Mill Creek Campground Reservations
Mill Creek is located within Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and you can book a site on the California State Park website. You need to have a reservation in California State Parks and this campground tends to fill up in the summer. I made our reservations here about four months ahead of our trip and there were only a few sites available. If you are traveling with a camper or van, I recommend making your reservation even earlier.
There are two loops in the campground, the North loop and the South loop. I would recommend the North loop if available, the sites seemed a little further apart with more trees surrounding them. I also recommend a campsite on the outside loop as you’ll be a little further away from your neighbor. If you are able, in a tent, and don’t mind a short walk, try one of the walk-in sites. We were on site 87 in the North loop and could only see one other hike-in campsite from our site. Site 88 was next to us, and would also be a great hike-in secluded site.
If you’re looking for activities for the area, check out our 5 Things To Do When Visiting Redwood National Park.
Have you ever stayed at this beautiful campground? We’d love to hear about your experience.
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California State Park Website: https://reservecalifornia.com/CaliforniaWebHome/Facilities/SearchViewUnitAvailabity.aspx