This is Prairie Creek’s main campground. Built in the 1930s when the park was first opened, it has that pleasant, woodsy small-campground feel and central location that you don’t get in newer campgrounds.
The campground is a few minutes’ walk from Prairie Creek’s visitor center and main trailhead, which offers some of the world’s best old-growth redwood trails. The campground itself, though, doesn’t have any old-growth redwoods; most sites are in the shade of leafy hardwood trees just outside the old-growth forest.
The best campsites are the ones right along Prairie Creek; a few even have views of the rushing creek and an old-growth spruce grove a few yards away, but vegetation screens the views from most other sites. A few sites are out in the open sunshine next to Elk Prairie. These sites are in a little depression so you can’t actually see Elk Prairie, just a 10-foot-tall embankment.
The separation between sites is about average for a state park campground, but most sites are well screened by vegetation. The campground is well away from Highway 101, so it gets much less traffic noise than most other campgrounds in the area, just the occasional whoosh of a car driving by on Drury Parkway.
There’s a maximum of 8 people per site. RVs up to 27 feet and trailers up to 24 feet are allowed, although not all of the sites have a big enough pullout to park a motorhome. Like most state park campgrounds, there aren’t any hookups.
The campground is open all year, but the northern loop (sites 8 – 48) is closed in winter. There’s no cell phone service in the campground or, for that matter, anywhere in the park.
Sites 1 – 4 have wooden cabins that cost $80/night in winter and $100 in summer. The cabins are new and sparkling clean, but very basic. Each cabin has four bunk bed platforms and nothing else; you need to bring your own bedding, and there isn’t even any place to sit other than the beds. There’s no bathroom, so you have to use the campground’s bathroom/shower building. There’s no kitchen and you’re not allowed to use stoves inside, but you do get an outdoor fire pit just like the regular campsites. The cabins do, however, have heat and electrical outlets. All the cabins are wheelchair-accessible.
This Los Angeles Times article has a couple of good pictures of the cabin interiors.
The state park cabins shouldn’t be confused with the much larger, privately-owned Elk Meadow cabins a few miles down the road.
Sites 7 and 17 are camp host sites, and there is no site 37.
© 2018 David Baselt