After wrapping up our exploration of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon (so awesome!), it was time to head back to California to explore the north coast a bit and have another national park adventure! The quaint seaside town of Crescent City was our destination and we couldn’t wait to visit the Battery Point Lighthouse and explore the sights and trails of Redwood National and State Parks!
We traveled from Oregon into California in US 199 — the northern portion of the famous Redwood Highway. In Oregon, US 199 is known as the Redwood Highway. In California, it was designated the Smith River Scenic Byway and a National Forest Scenic Byway. The highway links US 101 near Crescent City, California with Interstate 5 in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Our first stop after entering California was the Smith River National Recreation Area Headquarters, also known as the Gasquet Ranger Station and Visitor Center. We had a Smith River kayaking trip booked and wanted to learn a bit more about the area.
With Smokey Bear statues, plushies, magnets, hats, pins, mugs, and t-shirts, the Gasquet Ranger Station is a haven for Smokey The Bear lovers. It’s also a great place to chat with a ranger, pick up local maps, and get the lay of the land so you can best choose what activities your family wants to tackle!
About The Smith River National Recreation Area
The Smith River is the longest National Wild and Scenic River in the United States and the only major, undammed, naturally flowing river remaining in California.
Established by Congress in 1990, the 305,337 acre Smith River National Recreation Area forms the northern border of Redwood National and State Parks. It provides an abundance of activities for families, from camping, hiking, and fishing to kayaking, backpacking, and picnicking.
Six Rivers National Forest
Established by President Truman in 1947, the 957,590 acre Six Rivers National Forest sits just east of Redwood National And State Parks in Northwestern California. Stretching from the Oregon border to Mendocino County, it’s named for the six major rivers that flow through its boundaries:
- Smith River
- Klamath River
- Trinity River
- Mad River
- Van Duzen River
- Eel River
Know Before You Go
- The Smith River National Recreation Area Headquarters and Gasquet Ranger Station is located at 10600 US Highway 199, Gasquet, California 95543 in Del Norte County.
- The Gasquet Ranger Station Historic District comprises a compound of buildings associated with the Gasquet Ranger District of Six Rivers National Forest. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
- Smith River National Recreation Area is managed by the US Forest Service.
- Most hiking trails in the Smith River NRA are accessible year-round, but all activities — fishing, swimming, kayaking, hiking — may be affected by heavy rain that swells creeks and rivers.
- Smith River National Recreation Area has five campgrounds and 65 miles of trails located near major streams and along the Smith River. It is considered one of the best fishing regions in the entire United States.
- The 1936 film The Last of the Mohicans was filmed in the Smith River National Recreation area.