8 AM to 1 hour past official sunset.
Austin Creek State Recreation Area
- Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Armstrong Redwoods SNR
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods Office and Volunteer Center
17000 Armstrong Woods
Complete Fire Ban:
We have had some extreme weather in the recent weeks bringing incredibly hot days and creating extremely dry vegetation. Therefore, please be advised that there is currently a COMPLETE FIRE BAN in effect for ALL of Austin Creek State Recreation Area including the back country areas.
No open fires of any sort are allowed. No tiki torches, no candles, no barbeques, no campfires. Cooking may be done with propane or gas stoves only. If you like, you are always welcomed to enjoy the diablo stoves down in the Armstrong picnic area from 8am until 1 hour after sunset for campfires, s'mores, stories, etc.
Please do your part keeping Austin Creek State Recreation Area safe during this fire ban. Also, please report any violators to staff. Additionally, if you see anything concerning like smoke in the backcountry or fire related suspicious behavior call 911.
Designated Equestrian Trails Status:
All designated equestrian trails in Armstrong Redwoods SNR and Austin Creek SRA are currently OPEN for equestrian use. However, the trails for equestrian use may be closed at any time due to repairs or poor trail conditions. Call ahead if you are unsure.
- All campsites are: $35.00/night which includes up to 8 people.
- Extra vehicles are: $8.00/night
- Senior Camping rate is: $33.00/night which includes up to 8 people
- Senior extra vehicle fees are: $7.00/night.
Check-In time is: 2 o'clock pm.
Check-out time is: 12 o'clock pm.
Dogs are allowed: On leash in your campsite, any parking lot, any picnic area or on any paved road. Dogs are excluded from all other areas of the park.
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods currently operates
Austin Creek SRA
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, a cooperating association that works in partnership with California State Parks, has reopened Austin Creek State SRA's Bullfrog Pond campground by way of an operating agreement with State Parks. All State Park Rules and Regulations still apply.
Bullfrog Pond Camping Info:
Bullfrog Pond Campground offers Twenty-three campsites. Campsites #1 through #8 (minus #4 our camp host site) are first-come, first-served campsites. Campsites #9 through #24 are on reservations through Hipcamp. Reserve a campsite by visiting www.hipcamp.com Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring. There are two sets of bathrooms each with a flush toilet and sink. Unfortunately there are no shower facilities available.
Bullfrog Pond does not offer any group camping. The nearest State Park that offers group camping can be found at Salt Point State Park. None of the campsites at Bullfrog Pond will accommodate vehicles over 20 feet in length. We do not offer any hike and bike sites (reduced fees). The campground is subject to seasonal closure due to extreme weather or conditions. The pond itself almost always goes dry by mid-summer and when there IS water in the pond there may be mosquitos in the area. Ticks are also prevalent in the area so bring a good bug/tick repellant.
In warmer weather it is advisable to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes as they are in the area. If you would like a first-come first-served campsite you will need to register with staff at the Armstrong kiosk. If staff is not available at the kiosk, you can self-register at the entrance to Bullfrog Pond. Official check-in time is 2 o'clock pm. Pay the $35.00 camping fee and any extra vehicle fees ($8.00/vehicle) prior to occupying a campsite. Max occupancy per campsite is 8 people. You are allowed to bring two vehicles, but we do not guarantee both vehicles will fit on your parking spur. If any of your vehicles don't fit on your designated parking spur, please take it up to overflow parking area at Vista Point parking lot. Please ensure the day use parking areas are free from camper vehicles.
Please note that the campground is likely to go into a fire ban in the summer and autumn season. We will keep you up to date.
When available, a camp host will be occupying the camp host spot at campsite #4. Remember that quiet hours begin at 10 o'clock pm and noise significantly carries to other campsites in the campground. We are always looking for a good camp host. If interested check in with staff at the entrance station.
Camp fires, BBQ's, candles, tiki torches, etc. will be prohibited during periods of extreme fire danger. During fire bans, propane camp stoves may be used for cooking.
Dogs are permitted in your paid for campsite, picnic areas and on paved roads ONLY. Dogs are not allowed on dirt roads or on any trails. Dogs must remain leashed at all times.
Bicycles are allowed on paved roads and fire roads. Bicycles are not allowed on any trails.
ALL TRAILS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO PACK ANIMALS. When trails are open all horse trailers must remain down in the parking lots of Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.
Austin Creek Information
Austin Creek State Recreation Area is approximately 2.5 to 3 miles above Armstrong Redwoods SNR. Austin Creek SRA is accessed through the same entrance as Armstrong Redwoods SNR. With open woodlands, rolling hills, and meadows, its topography offers a strong contrast to the dense, primeval redwood forest below. Here you will discover deep tree-lined ravines cooled by year round streams; grassy hillsides burnished golden by the heat of summer sun and turned emerald by plentiful winter rains; oak capped knolls that seem to float like islands on lakes of lowland fog; and rocky mountaintops that showcase an almost panoramic view. A paradise for the hiker and equestrian, Austin Creek rewards the explorer with twenty miles of trails and panoramic views. Austin Creek also beholds backcountry camping and Bullfrog Pond Campground which is accessible by vehicle (no trailers). The park's rugged topography, with elevations ranging from 150-1500 feet, offers a sense of isolation from the accustomed sights and sounds of civilization.
Be advised that vehicle access to Austin Creek and the campground is by way of a steep, narrow one lane, winding, mountain road. For safety reasons, no vehicle over 20 feet in length is allowed on this road. Vehicles with trailers or other towed vehicles are PROHIBITED. Please remember to honk around blind turns and remember that vehicles traveling uphill have the right of way.
This rugged area is home to a rich diversity of native plants and animals. The springtime wildflower displays include Douglas iris, Indian paint brush, buttercups, lupines, brodiaes, California poppies, and shooting stars. The grasslands, chaparral, conifer, oak woodland, and riparian habitats of Austin Creek SRA are home to a wild range of native animals including squirrel, deer, raccoon, fox, coyote, skunk, bobcat, and an occasional black bear or mountain lion. Introduced species that are commonly seen include feral pigs and wild turkeys. Bird life in the park includes the colorful wood duck and the rare spotted owl. Other more frequently seen birds include great blue herons, ravens, black-shouldered kites, California quail, various woodpeckers, hawks, and flycatchers. When full, several aquatic species live in Bullfrog pond including sunfish, black bass, and bull frogs. Trout, salmon, newts and salamanders are found in the many streams. Licensed anglers may fish Bullfrog Pond, but all streams are closed to fishing to protect important spawning habitat.
A historic feature of Austin Creek SRA is the remaining buildings of Pond Farm Pottery. This was the home, workshop, and school of the internationally renowned ceramic artist, Marguerite Wildenhain, who settled here after World War II. Formerly a student at Germany's famous Bauhaus school of design, Wildenhain enjoyed and was inspired by the peace and natural beauty of this area. For more information please visit www.pondfarm.org
Trail Information for Austin Creek SRA
Austin Creek Fire Road:
This is an unpaved fire road that also serves as a trail, winding down the canyon through meadows and groves of forest as it drops from 1200' to 300' in elevation. After 4.7 miles, the road meets with Gilliam Creek Trail. A strenuous but spectacular day hike can be experienced by hiking down the Austin Creek Fire Road and returning via Gilliam Creek Trail - approximately 9 miles round trip. Please note that this fire road has little canopy cover.
Gilliam Creek Trail:
This narrow, steep trail parallels Gilliam Creek as it winds through shaded oak woodlands. After close to 4 miles it meets the Austin Creek Fire Road at the confluence of East Austin and Gilliam Creeks. This trail is seasonally impassable at the lower elevations due to high winter water levels in Gilliam Creek.
Pool Ridge Trail:
On this trail you will experience the dramatic contrast between the cool redwood grove below and the open forest and rolling hills above in Austin Creek SRA. The trail only drops 500' in elevation, however the upper portion is very steep. The trail itself is 4.2 miles one way and can be used to access Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. It can also be used as a loop in conjunction with the East Ridge Trail.
East Ridge Trail:
This trail curves through the diverse and varied forests of Armstrong Redwoods and Austin Creek as it spans the 4 miles and 1500' elevation between the park entrance and Bullfrog pond campground. It can also be used as part of a loop by hiking one way on this trail and returning via the Pool Ridge Trail. The East Ridge Trail near the waterfall and picnic parking area is closed.
Summer temperatures in the morning can still be cool although afternoon temperatures often exceed 100 degrees. In the winter it will occasionally drop below freezing and the 50+ inches of annual rainfall generally includes an occasional snow flurry. Always carry plenty of water, wear layered clothing, have a map, carry a flashlight and have a fully charged cell phone.