In Northern California, you can find a splendid refuge from the hustle and bustle of the San Francisco Bay Area, a sanctuary to let your mind wander and rest. Feel the redwoods sway and dance in the wind. In this article, you will be treated to the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Camping and Campgrounds Guide. Composed of two separate parts, the Fall Creek unit and the main Henry Cowell State Park, this park affords visitors the opportunity to experience soothing trees and watch smooth streams trickle on by.
Located just a few miles or so north of the main park, the Fall Creek unit is composed of second growth redwoods and was the home of the lime industry. Companies mined lime and minerals to supply concrete to San Francisco and the surrounding area. You can find ruins inside this part of the park.
Inside the main part of the park, you can find the sand hills habitat, a place where you can find endangered plants and animals and fossils. There are ancient marine deposits here. In other words, scientists have made important discoveries about the history of life and evolution with the fossils that lie here.
In the main part of the park, you can find a wide variety of trails, streams, grasslands, scenic views, and placards to keep you busy. Anyway, let’s get started.
What Can I Experience While I am There?
The Redwoods, a Calming Presence for Many Weary Travelers
The reason most come to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is for, well, the redwoods. The trees stand like obelisks from another time, soaring and rising above you like giant NBA players. Watch out! They might just dunk on you. The tallest tree is 277 ft tall and 1,500 years old. The tree has been around since the fall of the Roman Empire! It is a testament to the longevity of redwoods. The park is home to the famous Fremont Tree. It is hollowed out on the inside, you can step right on in.
The Garden of Eden, You won’t Find any Apples Here
The Garden of Eden is a popular swimming hole off of the San Lorenzo River. You won’t find any lifeguards on duty, so be sure to keep your wits about you. It is only open during the Summer. If the day is hot and you need to cool yourself off, then you will be sure to want to pack your bathing suit and towel. The Garden of Eden offers restful relaxation from the dog days of Summer. The best way to reach the Garden of Eden is to park at the visitor center and then hike to it.
Camping – You Can Find Plenty of it Here
The main campgrounds for the park are located off Graham Hill Rd. Unfortunately, you cannot camp at the park during the Winter, only during the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Your best bet to get a campsite is to reserve in advance. Reservations can be made www.reservecalifornia.com. The campsite number is 107-site.
Hiking, a Tried and True Activity
Throughout the park, you can find numerous trails to keep your mind occupied. They will be sure to let your mind rest and relax. When you are in the presence of something as old as the redwoods, you have a tendency to focus on the bigger picture and see things in perspective. With these trails, keep in mind that whether they are open or not depends on the time of year and weather. Otherwise, the key trails are listed below.
Short trails: redwood grove loop trail (from the visitor center, 0.8 miles), meadow river loop (from the main entrance, 1 mile), observation deck (from the campground at Powdermill Fire Road, 1 mile)
Moderate hikes: observation deck (from the visitor center, 5 miles), cathedral redwoods (from the visitor center, 4 miles), Cowell Highlights loop (from the visitor center, 5.9 miles), kiln ruins loop (from south end Fall Creek unit, 3 miles), Campground to Redwood Grove Loop (from the campground, 5 miles)
Longer hikes: Big Ben (from Fall Creek, 7.5 miles), Four Crossings (from the campground at Powdermill Fire Road, 5 miles)
Roaring Camp Railroad – Not Affiliated with the State Parks, but an Option to Consider
Have you ever wanted to ride a historical train? Roaring Camp Railroad has got you covered. Located nearby to the visitor center, you can learn about 1880s steam locomotives and 1920s beach trains. Instead of hiking through the redwoods, do you want to sit and move through them without lifting a finger? This option is splendid for the train nerd or someone who wants to take an easy break. Visit www.roaringcamp.com for more information.
Events Are a Sure Way for You to Experience this Park in a Fantastic Manner
Ranger events run from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can take part in first day hikes, bird walks, pine needle basket making workshop, photo hike for beginners, sand hills fossils talk, full moon nights, Ohlone Day, the mountain parks foundation lobster feed fundraiser, and much, much more. The park offers plenty of events to keep you busy.
Mountain Biking will let You Experience Nature in a Faster Way
The park offers plenty of trails for you to saddle up onto your bike and ride away, but only on particular portions of the park.
Horseback Riding Lets You Become an Ancient Traveler
Explore as did Lewis and Clark did on horseback. In particular sections of the park, you can saddle up and ride away off into the sunset. Horses are not allowed on the Redwood Grove Trail, River Trail, Ox Trail, and Pipeline Road south of Rincon Fire Road.
A Map of the Park to Understand Where Everything Is
It is one thing to read about a place. It is entirely something else to get a map. You can grasp everything there is to know about the park with this interactive map. It will be sure to help you understand where everything is.
If you are planning on camping at this wonderful park, then you will probably need a tent. You don’t want to be sleeping completely outside now do you? You can find a link to one of my previous articles about the 10 Best Rated Camping Tents below. It will be sure to help you narrow down your search.
Where Can I Park My Car?
Three places to park: the campgrounds (located off Graham Hill Rd), the visitor center (located off Highway 9 and North Big Trees Park Rd), and the Fall Creek unit parking (located off Highway 9 and Felton Empire Rd).
If you are just looking to have a day long trip to the park, then your best bet will be the visitor center or the Fall Creek unit parking. The latter offers free parking, while you will have to pay a $10 fee for all other areas of the park.
Important Phone Numbers to Find Out More
It is one thing to read an article online. It is entirely another thing to get information about what is going on inside the park right now. You can find phone numbers for all aspects of the park listed below. Cashiers, park rangers, and guides will be sure to answer all of your questions and help you to secure a camping reservation.
Are You Going to Get Outside this Week?
Well, you should now be all set to go. Adventure awaits you. The redwoods beckon. Leaves rustle. Deer creep about. The sun pokes its fingers through the canopy above. The stream trickles onward. You breathe in and then let out a deep one. Before you go though, I have a small favor to ask of you. Take a little time to plan out your trip. You can find a link to AllTrails.com below. It is my go to site for outdoor adventures. So what do you say? Are you going to get outside this week?
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!