Summer temperatures range from 40 - 80° F. Morning and evening fog is common. Winter 30–55 °F. With up to 100 inches of rainfall annually, expect rain from November to May .
Rules & Notifications
- The Damnation Creek Trail is closed at the bridge near the end of the trail but other park trails—in both the campground and the wider park—remain open. For information on the Last Chance Grade Project, visit the website at: http://www.lastchancegrade.com/
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah-Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks are the only parks in the California State Parks system that accept the Federal Access Pass discount.
- Don’t feed wildlife, and keep your camp free of all traces of food.
- Store food in an animal-proof food locker.
- Place all your garbage in an animal-proof trash can.
- The campground is only open from May 1-Sept. 30. Reservations are recommended between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
- Del Norte’s topography is steep, with elevations from sea level to 1,277 feet. Coastal areas are generally inaccessible except by Damnation Trail and Footsteps Rock Trail.
- Half-mile-long Wilson Beach, or False Klamath Cove, is meant for strolling and provides excellent tidepool viewing at low tide. It is not safe for swimming due to the steep beach slope, rocky conditions, frequent rough seas, and cold water.
Keep it Crumb Clean
Visitors are required to watch this short video about the impact human food has on park wildlife.
Redwood National and State Parks’ four-park information center is in Crescent City at 1111 Second Street. The telephone number is 707-465-7335. Other visitor centers are in Orick, Prairie Creek, Jedediah Smith Campground, and Hiouchi.
The Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park brochure [http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/414/files/DelNorteSPFinalWebLayout2015.pdf] contains valuable information on the park’s natural and cultural history as well as tips for planning your visit.
The Redwood National and State Parks website [http://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm] provides additional information on Del Norte. Its visitor guide can be downloaded here. [http://www.nps.gov/redw/parknews/newspaper.htm]
Organizations with helpful information and ways to get involved are Save the Redwoods League [http://www.savetheredwoods.org/involved/map/prop_detail.php?id=22] and the Redwood Parks Association. [http://www.redwoodparksassociation.org/node/9 ]
More information about the California Coastal Trail is available here. [http://www.californiacoastaltrail.info/cms/pages/main/index.html]
The Tolowa and Yurok are the original inhabitants of the area now known as Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The Tolowa derive from Athabascan-speaking peoples whose aboriginal lands extend north into Oregon and east along Mill Creek and the Smith River. The Yurok language has Algonquian roots; their aboriginal lands extend south to the Little River and east along the Klamath River.
Both the Tolowa and Yurok utilize the bountiful ocean. They also hunt and gather from inland mountain ranges and free-flowing rivers. Their important foods include salmon, steelhead, smelt, clams, deer, elk, berries and acorns. The region’s native people suffered enormous losses from genocide and disease upon the arrival of Euro-Americans in the 19th century. Today’s Tolowa and Yurok descendants flourish in a thriving society—continuing their cultural life ways, language programs, and tribal governments.
A Legacy of Logging
This area once contained some of the world’s oldest, tallest trees. The Del Norte coast’s redwoods are part of the largest remaining contiguous section of ancient coast redwood forest. Abundant natural resources on the remote Del Norte coast drew new settlers in the 1850s. Logging quickly became the foremost industry; by the 1930s, many old-growth redwoods had been cut down. Parts of the Mill Creek watershed were logged off by a succession of mill owners. Hobbs, Wall & Company established a mill on Mill Creek’s upper watershed in the 1920s. They built the Del Norte and Southern Railroad to transport logs to mills in Crescent City. Constructing a railroad through the mountains was considered the North Coast’s most ambitious undertaking.
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park was established in 1925 with approximately 125 acres of protected land to create the park. Save the Redwoods League collaborated with funding partners to acquire 25,000 acres of the Mill Creek watershed in 2002, bringing the park’s total acres to 31,000 acres and making it California’s fifth-largest state park. The League's efforts to remove roads and restore Mill Creek’s forests and streams are returning the watershed to its former glory.
Redwood National and State Parks
Four North Coast redwood parks preserve more than 105,000 acres of old- and second-growth forest for posterity. Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks and Redwood National Park have joined forces, cooperatively managed as Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) by California State Parks and the National Park Service. In 1980, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed RNSP as a World Heritage Site; UNESCO named RNSP an International Biosphere Reserve in 1983.
Offshore and beneath Del Norte’s forest lies a mixture of twisted rocks. Over 20 million years, more than eight miles of sandstone, shale, serpentine, chert, and greenstone (a blend called Franciscan Complex) have built up in layers from the original ocean floor. These sediment layers resulted from repeated tectonic plate collisions. Three tectonic plates—North American, Pacific, and Gorda—all meet offshore at the Mendocino Triple Junction south of Eureka. Particles from each plate collision float along the ocean floor until they are deposited. Sea stacks—rock towers that have broken off from the main land mass—protrude from offshore waters.
For more information about geology in Redwood National and State Parks, go to the National Park Service website.
Projects in Mill Creek
Nearby Marine Protected Areas
Like state and national parks protect wildlife and habitats on land, marine protected areas (MPAs) conserve and restore wildlife and habitats in our ocean. Under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) passed in 1999, California began a historic effort to establish a science-based, statewide network of MPAs through a collaborative effort that includes the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Parks. California is taking a regional approach to the design and implementation of MPAs, and has divided the state into five regions: the north coast, south coast, north central coast, central coast and San Francisco Bay.
MPAs contribute to healthier, more resilient ocean ecosystems that can better withstand a wide range of impacts such as pollution and climate change. By protecting entire ecosystems rather than focusing on a single species, MPAs are powerful tools for conserving and restoring ocean biodiversity, and protecting cultural resources, while allowing certain activities such as marine recreation and research. There is a global body of scientific evidence about the effectiveness of marine protected areas and reserves to restore marine ecosystems (http://www.piscoweb.org).
In the waters adjacent to Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, there is one Special Closure, False Klamath Rock Special Closure. Special Closures are areas designated by the Fish and Game Commission that prohibit access or restrict boating activities in waters adjacent to sea bird rookeries or marine mammal haul-out sites (restrictions vary).
- False Klamath Rock Special Closure
- From the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of False Klamath Rock, located in the vicinity of 41° 35.633' N. lat. 124° 06.699' W. long during the period of March 1 to August 31.
- False Klamath Rock Special Closure protects approximately 45,000 breeding and roosting seabirds from vessel disturbances and disturbance by humans during low tides. This rock is part of a larger colony that is of global importance. Breeding species known to utilize False Klamath Rock include: Black Oystercatcher, Brandt’s Cormorant, Common Murre, Double-crested Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Tufted Puffin (species of special concern) and the Western Gull.
- Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.
- Other Regulations:
- Except as permitted by federal law or emergency caused by hazardous weather, no vessel shall be operated or anchored from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 feet seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of False Klamath Rock during the period of March 1 to August 31.
- No person shall enter the area during the period of March 1 to August 31, except for agencies identified in Title 14, Section 632 CCR, when performing their official duties
This information does not replace the official regulatory language found in California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 632, including commercial allowances and restrictions.
- A fishing license is required for any fishing.
- All existing take regulations still apply in addition to the ones listed above.
- Unless otherwise stated, all non-consumptive recreational activities are allowed.
For additional information on MPAs please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/MPAs
For resources related to MPAs, please visit the Marine Protected Areas Education and Outreach Initiative’s website: http://www.CaliforniaMPAs.org
To go deeper, try any of these books.
- Lorentzen, Bob and Richard Nichols, Hiking the California Coastal Trail, Volume One: Oregon to Monterey, Coastwalk, 2002.
- McKinney, John, Day Hiker’s Guide to California Parks, The Trailmaster, 2007.
- Preston, Richard, The Wild Trees, Random House, 2008.
- Rohde, Jerry and Gisela, Best Short Hikes in Redwood National and State Parks, The Mountaineers, 2004.
- Rohde, Jerry and Gisela, Redwood National & State Parks: Tales, Trails, and Auto Tours, MountainHome Books, 1994.