Day-Use open year round, 8am-sunset.
Benbow State Recreation Area
What is open now?
- Day Use Area parking and restrooms.
- Camping is closed for the winter.
- For more information about camping guidelines, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping
Protect yourself, family, friends and your community by following these prevention measures:
- Know Before You Go – Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Have a back-up plan in case your destination is crowded. Stay home if you are sick
- Plan Ahead – Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer.
- Play It Safe – Find out what precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors, especially if this is your first time visiting the State Park System. Learn more at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
- Be COVID-19 Safe – State Parks continues to meet guidance from local and state public officials as COVID-19 is still present and still deadly. Effective March 1, 2022, state guidance recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccine status, continue masking in indoor settings, such as museums and visitor centers. Universal masking remains required in specified high-risk settings. Please plan ahead as local county guidelines may differ from state guidance and visitors are urged to follow county guidelines when required. Read the latest COVID-19 guidance at COVID19.ca.gov.
- Leave No Trace – Leave areas better than how you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or plants.
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