Big Flat Campground is a wide-open, organized campground on banks of the Hurdy Gurdy (yep, you read that right) Creek in Six Rivers National Forest, up in the far north western corner of California. Big Flat is spacious and grass-covered, campground with shade provided by lodge pole pines provide shade for the campground, with a trail that leads down a small hill to the creek.

There are 23 campsites at Big Flat Campground, most of which are located in their own small grassy clearing between the pine trees, which provides separation between the campsites. All of the campsites include a fire ring, picnic table, and access to bathrooms.

Big Flat Campground – Bottom Line

If Big Flat Campground was closer to a more populated are it would be an average campground, but this National Forest Campground is pretty remote, about 26 miles into the wilderness from the closest town, making it a pretty cool destination. What also makes it a cool destination is that the campground is only moderately used, especially early and late into the camping season, giving you access to some great campsites that overlook the quick-moving Hurdy Gurdy Creek. Since the north-western coast of California is often cooler and overcast, we were concerned that Big Flat would be the same way; it was not. Once we got away from the coast, into the mountains, and following along the Smith River, it was clear, sunny, and warm.

Most of the campsites are fairly private, with natural barriers between campsites in the form of tall trees and bushes, with grassy clearings for the campsites. Some of the campsites have visibility to other campsites, and the campsites furthest from the creek are RV and trailer, pull-through friendly, but these are also the smallest and least private. Even with the natural barriers between campsites you will still be able to hear your neighbors to some extent, but not in a tremendously bothersome way.

One odd thing about the campsites at Big Flat Campground is that they are all covered in half-inch gravel, like you would see used on dirt roads to keep the dust down. This makes it hard to find spots to pitch your tent, especially if you need to setup multiple tents, also I am sure it is ruff rough on the feet of dogs when they walk on it.

The best campsites at Big Flat are the two walk-in campsites (Campsites 13 & 15); these are the biggest and most private, and provide great space for dogs to run off-leash (against the rules by the way). The next best campsites are those along the creek as they are pretty private and let you fall asleep to the bubbling noises of the creek below.

The bottom line on Big Flat Campground is that it is worth the trip if you are looking for nice, sunny campground, where you can relax in your camp chair, sit by the creek, or find a hiking destination. Also the scenery of the rivers and creeks in the tall valleys is worth it too.

Big Flat Campground Features

Campground Type: Organized, Semi-primitive
Number of Campsites: 23 Campsites
Cost: $8/night, $5/night/extra vehicle fee beyond the first two
Use Level: Medium
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Fire Rings: Yes
Drinking Water: None
Toilets: Yes – Vault Toilets
Showers: None
Trash/Dumpsters: Yes
Hiking Access: Yes
Beach/Lake Access: Creekside access
RV/Trailer Length: Not Defined
RV/Trailer Amenities: None
Cell Phone Service: None
Wifi: None
Operating Season: May 15th – October 15th

Getting There

Geo Coordinates: 41.687836, -123.909805
Nearest City/Town: Crescent City, California
Elevation: 800 Feet
Location: Del Norte County, California
Paved Road Access: Mostly, last half mile is maintained dirt road
Proximity to Stores: 26 Miles to Crescent City

From Crescent City turn right onto US Highway 199 and drive 11.5 miles to South Fork Road (County Road 427), turn right. The sign will also read Howland Hill Scenic Drive, Stout Grove, and Myrtle Beach. Go ½ mile and bear left at the “Y” intersection to stay on South Fork Road. Continue for 14 miles and turn left on County Road 405. Big Flat Campground entrance is 1/4 mile on the left.


Phone: (707) 442-1721 Facebook:
Web: Big Flat Campground Website Twitter:
Reservations: Not Accepted

When To Go

Summer – Most of the campgrounds in Six Rivers National Forest are along the Smith River and provide river access for recreation. Big Flat Campground is not along the river and fairly remote making it less busy than most of the other campgrounds.

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What To Do

Hiking – Mountain Biking – South Kelsey Trail runs through Big Flat Campground

Big Flat Campground Pictures


Image Credits: Justin Wilson


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