Mill Creek Campground


Car camping sites $35/night + $8
California > Redwood National and State Parks > Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

Site 81

Mill Creek Campground is the largest campground in Redwood National and State Parks. Although it’s been heavily logged of redwoods, its location in the bottom of a valley next to maple-shaded Mill Creek is really quite scenic; the leafy streamside maples and the patches of dark redwoods make a very attractive combination.

Unlike the centrally-located Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith campgrounds, Mill Creek is in a very out-of-the-way location, meaning that you have to drive to get to any old-growth redwood trails. On the other hand, since it’s well away from major roads, it’s much quieter than the other drive-in campgrounds.

The northern half of the campground is, for the most part, pretty open. There’s a nice mix of redwoods and sunny streamside vegetation. The southern half, especially the southernmost tip, is much more redwood-intensive; it’s under the deep shade of second-growth redwoods, and there are lots of huge stumps around.

Map of Mill Creek Campground

Due to the dense, lush foliage most of the sites are quite private. The campsites are mostly pretty well-separated so the campground doesn’t feel overcrowded even on holiday weekends.

Mill Creek is a drive-in tent campground that’s mainly intended for tent camping. It can accommodate RVs up to 31 feet; there are no hookups but there’s a dump station and water filling station. Each site has a fire pit, picnic table, and food storage locker. As at all Redwood National and State Park campgrounds there are strict rules that you must store all food in the locker, even while you’re around; animals in many state parks have completely lost their fear of people and can be shockingly bold about stealing food.

There’s no visitor center, but on weekend evenings a park ranger gives educational talks at the campfire center.

Sites 87 and 88 are my favorites. They require a short walk-in and a bit of a climb, so don’t stay here if you want your tent to be right next to your car. The short walk pays off in a really nice setting, though; the sites are set back from the road in impressively dense second-growth redwoods. Site 87 is the more scenic of the two, but is a little lacking in privacy since site 88 looks down onto it.

Site 87

Otherwise the sites are pretty uniformly nice; the sites around the edge of the campground are maybe a little nicer and more private than the ones in the middle. Site 39 stands out because it’s on a cul-de-sac next to the river and under some redwoods.

The campground has six ADA sites that can only be reserved by those with a disabled parking placard or license plate. If the sites are not reserved they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Like most coastal state park campgrounds, Mill Creek has a hike/bike site for long-distance cyclists that’s available on a first-come, first-served basis only. It only costs $5/person/night, but if other people show up you may have to share the site. You can’t bring a car if you stay here; you really have to hike or bike into the campground. The campground is two miles (all downhill) from Highway 101 and it’s a 600-foot climb to get back to the highway.

The campground has its own trail loop. Although it runs entirely though heavily-logged redwood forest, the lush woodland is actually pretty scenic.

The campground is only open from May through September. Reservations can be made up to 6 months, but not less than 2 days, before the first night of a stay.

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© 2018 David Baselt