Elk Prairie Campground sits alongside an open meadow in the 14,000 acre Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California, and is home to a small herd of elk that roam freely through the park. Elk Prairie Campground is primarily situated under old-growth coastal redwood trees, however it also offers 13 campsites that are located outside the redwood canopy in the meadow, closer to where the elk roam.
There are many recreational activities available to visitors to Elk Prairie, including nearby beaches, hiking, biking, and nature trails. The elk are often seen in the meadow and provide great opportunities to take photographs and enjoy wildlife.The visitors center for Prairie Creek State Park, located adjacent to the Elk Prairie Campground, offers guided walking tours, summer interpretative programs, and junior ranger programs.
There are 76 campsites at Elk Prairie that are suitable for tents and RVs and one hike-in/bike-in campsite. Each campsite includes a fire ring, picnic table, food locker, and access to bathrooms with flush toilets. Coin-operated showers are also available.
Elk Prairie Campground Bottom Line
Elk Prairie Campground is a great campground; there are lots of recreational opportunities, access to wildlife, nearby beaches, diverse campsite locations (i.e. under redwoods or in the meadow), and many of the campsites are fairly private. If you are looking for a good glimpse of the elk that this campground is known for we suggest the meadow campsites (campsites 1-6 & 69-76), otherwise the redwood campsites are all fairly private and located far enough away from bathrooms and other facilities that you should not be disturbed by them.
Elk Prairie is heavily used and campsites are often reserved far in advance, so plan ahead.
Elk Prairie Campground Features
|Number of Campsites:||76 Campsites|
|Beach/Lake Access:||No – Beach is a short drive from Elk Prairie within the park|
|RV/Trailer Length:||RV: 27 Feet, Trailer: 24 Feet|
|Cell Phone Service:||Verizon|
|Operating Season:||Open Year-round|
|Nearest City/Town:||Eureka, California|
|Location:||Humboldt County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||Yes|
|Proximity to Stores:||6.5 miles south to Orick|
|Directions:||Take exit 753 towards Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway off of Highway 101.Travel 1.2 miles, take the 2nd left to Prairie Creek Road. The entrance to Elk Prairie Campground is located just past the visitor center.|
Maps & Brochures
|Web:||California State Parks||Twitter:|
|Reservations:||Online Campsite Reservations|
When To Go
Mid Summer – The campground is usually very busy in mid-summer, however heavy rainfall is common and heavy between November and May.
Temperatures range from lows in the 40s to highs around 75 degrees in the summer, and lows in the 30’s to highs between 50’s in the winter.
What To Do
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park has a number of things that are worth taking the time to see and do, including seeing and photographing the elk heard that makes their home near the Elk Prairie campground. Beach access is just a short 6-mile drive away at Gold Bluffs Beach, and If you are looking for hiking there are trail heads accessible from Elk Prairie Campground and visitors center. The James Irvine Trail connects you to the trails that lead you into the interior of Prairie Creek.
The Elk Prairie Redwoods Visitor center offers summer interpretative programs, junior ranger programs, and guided walking tours. Wildflower lovers will want to see the large rhododendron and western azalea blooms, which peak between May and June there and can be seen from the Rhododendron Trail.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park park is managed jointly by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service as a part of the Redwood National and State Parks. These collectively managed parks, including Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park have been designated as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.
The Save the Redwoods League founded Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in the 1920s to create a sanctuary for the old-growth coastal redwood.