Benbow State Recreation Area

This park unit is partially open. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and what COVID-19 guidelines are in place. - (May 27, 2021)

What is open now?

  • Day Use Area parking and restrooms.
  • Camping is closed for the winter.
  • For more information about camping guidelines, visit

Phone Number

(707) 247-3318

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: Up to 30 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 30 Feet

Park Hours

Day-Use open year round, 8am-sunset.

Dogs Allowed?

Except for service animals, dogs not allowed on trails.

Driving Directions to Benbow SRA

2 miles south of Garberville on Highway 101.

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

En route Campsites
Hiking Trails
Picnic Areas
Beach Area
Restrooms / Showers
Outdoor Showers
Drinking Water Available

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To provide power for the new development in the valley , a concrete dam was constructed across the south fork of the Eel River from 1931-1937. The dam not only provided power but also created Benbow Lake.

The Benbow family, interested in preserving the natural scene around the Hotel and along the river, made efforts to place the land under State protection. In 1956 funds were approved for the Benbow Project and it was purchased in 1958, creating Benbow Lake State Recreation Area.

Today the park consists of campsites and a large day-use picnic area. Hiking, picnicking and camping are popular summer time activities, while salmon and steelhead fishing are popular in the winter.

Please note that the Dam will no longer be installed and there is no longer a lake at Benbow State Recreation Area. For more information please click on Lake and Dam FAQs link.

Location - Directions

2 miles south of Garberville on Highway 101.

Large vehicles and RV's should enter the park from South Benbow Drive.  North Benbow drive has a one lane road, on a hill that is difficult to navigate for large vehicles and RV's