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Anyone know any Good Campsites along North Coast?

Posted: June 20th, 2016, 10:27 am
by Fundad
Good Day All,

I am planning on a trip to the north coast, does anyone have any good Campsites they are fond of? In the shade, by a creek would be ideal, but I know those are popular.

Between Santa Rosa and Eureka?

Thanks in Advance

Re: Anyone know any Good Campsites along North Coast?

Posted: June 20th, 2016, 10:55 am
by Richard F. Hoyer
For a few years, we camped at Van Damme State Park in Mendicino Co. It has the features you mention. It is located north of where Hwy. 128 intersects Hwy 1 and is a few miles north of Albion. The park is south of Fort Bragg and where Hwy. 20 intersects Hwy. 1

It was in 1998 that a little over 5 miles inland from Hwy.1 along Hwy. 128, at the base of a small cliff that I first found a female Rubber Boa under a rock then found the female Sharp-tailed Snake that turned out to represented the discover of the new species in the genus Contia, the Forest Sharp-tailed Snake.

Richard FH

Re: Anyone know any Good Campsites along North Coast?

Posted: June 20th, 2016, 11:28 am
by Zach_Lim
I second Van Damme.

Re: Anyone know any Good Campsites along North Coast?

Posted: June 20th, 2016, 11:29 am
by Jimi
Hi Brian,

Sounds like a fun trip. Is this a summer or fall trip or what? If you could stand it, that part of the country is good in winter, for the amphibs. But most people prefer the summer, and most of the amphibs aren't at all hopeless in summer; A. gracile is probably the hardest when it isn't actually raining. (If you just want nice weather, go in September or early October. The RVs etc are mostly gone then too.)

Salt Point, Manchester, Van Damme, Usal Beach are all state parks with "civilized" camping very near the shoreline. Those are in Sonoma & Mendocino counties. SoHum has tough/not much coastal access but the area near the mouth of the Mattole River, west of Petrolia, is pretty sweet. There's a chunk of BLM land from there southwards back to Shelter Cove that's "uncivilized" but that's part of its appeal. Big Flat is a walk-in area (from north, south, or drop in from the ridge) in that BLM chunk that I find incredibly appealing for camping. It has hot-inland species right on the beach there, it's bizarre like that.

Manchester is in a windy area, set among sand dunes basically, and is probably the chilliest of these places. Salt Point has a nice stand of Bishop pines and can be pretty toasty (for the NorCal coast...). Hwy 1 is worth the drive just to get to these places.

It's a little south of where you're talking about but Point Reyes National Seashore is worth a look. There's camping, and pretty diverse herps & habitats.

Van Damme is pretty good for aquatic & terrestrial amphibs, it's mainly fog-belt 2nd growth redwoods so the creek water is cold and the ground is shady. It would also be most convenient to larger towns (Ft Bragg is "the city" for these parts, they have an actual supermarket). There's also a sea kayak concessionaire right at the cove by the highway, it's well worth the time & money to take a paddle out among the rocks and sea caves.

The road to Usal (depart Hwy 1 at the old Louisiana-Pacific company town of Rockport) takes you through some coastal grassland, various ages & compositions of tree stands, and if you're adventurous you can actually just push on up to Sinkyone State Park and the "town" of Shelter Cove (you can get gas & ice, some canned food, and bait - not much else). Taking that route involves a whole lot of off-pavement though (there's a paved, faster road to Shelter Cove further north). Even if you just stop at Usal campground, it's a sweet peek into backcountry coastal NorCal. Lots of alder shade and a pretty good-sized creek (Usal Creek) with a nice little cove it dumps into.

Then inland along S Fk Eel River there's a couple of great state parks in the redwoods. It's much warmer there, you can see more turtles & garter snakes and take off your coat & hat which you'll probably want out at the coast...


Re: Anyone know any Good Campsites along North Coast?

Posted: June 22nd, 2016, 3:00 am
by Fundad
Richard, Zach, and Jimi,

Thank you for taking the time to respond, I will check out out Van Damme, on Sunday.

We won't have much time to camp or herp this weekend, but I should be able to scout for future visits and bird a bit.

Thank You