Humboldt Redwoods’ environmental campgrounds require a short walk to your site and don’t have showers or flush toilets, but in exchange they provide a much more peaceful, natural experience than the drive-in campgrounds. It’s like a backpacking camp but you don't need a backpack.
The two camps are on Bull Creek about a mile past the end of the old-growth redwoods. Each camp has an outhouse and non-potable water, and each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and food locker. The sites are really far apart and offer a lot of privacy. There are no showers or flush toilets, although you could always drive 5 minutes down the road to Albee Creek Campground.
A drawback of the environmental camps is that they’re a bit of a walk from the closest old-growth redwood trails: Hamilton Barn is about a mile from the old growth, Baxter about two miles. There’s a trail that follows Bull Creek to the old growth (requiring a lot of wading through the creek), but especially from Baxter Camp it makes more sense to just drive to the Grasshopper Multi-Use Trail trailhead.
Each camp has its own parking area accessed by by a dirt road with a locked gate. You have to check in at one of the drive-in campgrounds to get the combination to the gate.
The camps are open from May through September. The cost is $20/night. Reservations are only available from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend
Baxter is the nicer of the two camps; it’s more shady with lusher, nicer-looking woods.
Site 1 is in the deep shade of a very open, attractive grove of small redwoods. It’s only 60 yards from the parking area, making it practically a drive-in site. The site is huge, with plenty of space for tents. Although the redwoods are clearly second-growth, there aren’t any stumps or other obvious signs that this area has been logged.
Site 2 is about 200 yards from the parking area. It’s also in the redwoods, but it’s in a much less open area at the edge of the woods, so it’s not quite as attractive as site 1. On the other hand, it’s right on Bull Creek, and there’s a little trail that leads about 10 yards from the campsite to the creek.
Site 3 is the least attractive site; it’s in a heavily-logged redwood grove next to a tributary of Bull Creek. Huge stumps and cut logs surround the site.
Site 4 is at the edge of a second-growth redwood grove, about 150 yards from the parking area. The site is under the redwoods, but a lot of sunlight streams in from the neighboring meadow. The Homestead Trail (which is little-used, but mainly intended for equestrians) runs along the edge of the site; from the site you can easily step onto the trail. It’s about a mile to Albee Creek Campground and the beginning of the old-growth redwoods.
Site 5 is the best of the Hamilton Barn sites. It’s next to a line of small trees in an open meadow right on the bank of cool, clear Bull Creek. The site is mostly in the sun and can get really hot during the day. It’s a 250 yard walk from the parking area.
© 2019 David Baselt