Flat Camp is a creek access point on Hurdy Gurdy Creek in California’s Six Rivers National Forest, while it is not officially a campground, it is often fully occupied by groups as a large, single, campsite. Flat Camp is a pretty large, open clearing under a thick canopy of trees, which let very little light through. The campsite is directly across from Big Flat Campground, a developed and organized campground. Flat Camp is primitive and offers no amenities, other than direct access to the creek.
Flat Camp – Bottom Line
Flat Camp is a great group campsite, with enough room for at least 20 people, however be prepared for a relatively steep, bumpy, dirt road to get in and out of Flat Camp; a vehicle with a little bit of ground clearance is recommended. The rough road to the campsite, plus the remoteness of the location contribute to only moderate use at Flat Camp.
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.
The bottom line on Flat Camp is if you can get this first-come, first-served spot, take it. It is a very relaxing spot along the creek with access to hiking. Additionally, there are plenty of Smith River access points along county road 427, which leads to Flat Camp.
Flat Camp Features
|Campground Type:||Primitive, Dispersed|
|Number of Campsites:||1 Campsite|
|Beach/Lake Access:||Creekside access|
|Cell Phone Service:||None|
|Geo Coordinates:||41.687292, -123.913231|
|Nearest City/Town:||Crescent City, California|
|Location:||Del Norte County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||None|
|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 13.75 miles and turn left on Forest Road 15N58. The road sneaks up on you, there will be a small sign near the ground on your left that says “Flat Camp”, if you go over Hurdy Gurdy Creek, you have gone too far. Proceed on the dirt road for a quarter mile, the road ends at the campsite.
When To Go
Summer – The weather in the summer is great, but be prepared if the campsite is occupied, you may have to settle for Big Flat Campground across Hurdy Gurdy Creek.
What To Do
Hiking – Mountain Biking – South Kelsey Trail runs through neighboring Big Flat Campground