Panther Flat Campground sits in the vast Six Rivers National Forest in northern California. This shady, secluded campground is just steps from the Smith River, which is famous for its bright blue waters and scenic pathway through the forest.
Popular activities include swimming, sunbathing, rafting and fishing in the Smith River. Anglers enjoy healthy fishing populations of salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout.
Visitors also enjoy hiking, horseback riding and biking in the area. There are no trailheads in the campground, but Elk Camp Ridge, High Dome and French Hill trailheads are all within 10 miles of the site. A Botanical trail to a unique Darlingtonia bog is just a mile away.
The campground offers multiple single-family sites and at least one double site, available for tent and RV camping. It is one of the most modern campgrounds in the area and has some of the largest parking aprons. Some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Campsites are equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. Accessible flush toilets, coin-operated hot showers and drinking water are provided. The Visitor Center at the Gasquet Ranger Station provides free maps and brochures of the area.
Set in a mature forest of Douglas fir, cedar and Pacific madrone trees, the campground is a short walk from the pristine Smith River. The river boasts up to Class 5 whitewater rapids. The region, thick with vegetation, is also freckled with huckleberry shrubs.
The Six Rivers National Forest lies east of Eureka in northwestern California, stretching southward from the Oregon border for about 140 miles. U.S. 101, the famed "Redwood Highway," parallels the inland Forest along the coastline. The Forest is just east of the Redwood National Park.
California's Redwood National Park and the Pacific Ocean are within 20 miles of the campground.
Annual events include Gasquet Raft Race in July and Del Norte County Fair in August.
ADA Access: N
When visiting the Redwoods, numerous camping options abound, however many of them can quickly see the prices soaring well into the$30-$50 range. I wasn’t wanting to spend quite that much and was relieved when I found the Panther Flat Campground just a short distance from the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park area.
Unlike the state park, the fee to stay here was only$15 a night(single site) or$30 for double occupancy, which was more than worth the investment as the amenities compared to that of the state park itself. There are several reservable sites which can be accessed online, but most sites are first come first serve, available at the self pay kiosk at the entry.
Unlike other forest areas which have limited benefits to your stay, this campground has a host of amenities which will leave you feeling more than pleased with water spigots located throughout camp, flush toilets, trash services and showers.
The showers were potentially one of the biggest surprises for a forest campground I had seen in the area. Most camps of this price point offer very limited and sparse offerings but hot showers after a long day in the sometimes gloomy and drizzly Redwoods was a great asset.
Overall the size of the individual sites was nice and many were separated by dense forest. I found that the pull in was perfect for my smaller car and there were some sites which were designed for larger groups with multiple vehicles.
Standard site amenities included picnic tables and fire rings. This coupled with a light layer of pine needles for padding made for a very comfortable stay at the campground.
The campground runs alongside a portion of the Smith River, where during the warmer months many campers find recreation. For those wanting to escape the crowds a bit hiking along the river is accessible from this location as well and can take you well into the Smith River National Recreation Area.
The Recreation Area is most well known for fishing, something you can do from the banks of the campground access, but also is a great area for hiking, horseback riding and nature viewing. Although you will not be able to embark upon horseback or equestrian activities from this campground itself.
- If you are visiting this campground you will be able to get basic supplies within a 5 mile drive of the camp or more complete supplies and novelty items within a 20 minute drive.
- If you will be fishing while staying at this location make sure you have proper fishing permits as this area is patrolled by authorities upon occasion.
- Senior Interagency passes are accepted and discounts are applied for those providing display of these passes.
Close campsites, fill up quick in the summer. In the woods, only extended cell service which doesn’t work well. Picnic tables and fire pits.
Love this campground! Nice quite spot right off the highway, just outside of the redwoods. Nice day use area as well with picnic tables and Creek access. Showers!! Nice restrooms. Space between campsites for privacy, fire rings and table at each site. Dogs allowed.
Close to the Redwood Forest 🌳 we stopped here for a night 🌃on our road trip through California. The sites were nicely sized, though the showers are coin 👛operated. We liked sitting by the river 🏞 that flows next to the campsite. A nice place to rest close to the Redwood Forest without being packed.
not too busy, river access, walk in friendly
This place is great! Central to most things yet far enough away that we got a site around 1:30 pm during August. There is flush toilets, and pay showers. It is however located by a busy road but if car traffic doesn’t bother you it’s absolutely wonderful
We met some friends at Panther Flat as it was approximately halfway between San Francisco and Portland. All in all, it is a nice, pretty busy campground. There is a river nearby that you can hear from some of the sites but have to walk down a hill and across the day use area to actually get to it. I was able to reserve the last campsite available (site 32) and it would not be my first choice. It is the closest I've ever camped to a bathroom which isn't my favorite place to camp, although I have to admit it was pretty convenient. The bathrooms were all private and clean and they usually have showers but didn't have potable water available while we were there. We were also near the camp hosts and they were really sweet. One night they set up a sheet on the side of a shed to show a movie to the kids there. Unfortunately, they couldn't get the projector to work but it was a really nice idea.
The site I would recommend is site 33 which sounds like it would be right next to site 32 but wasn't. It looked like a very private site and you could hear the water from there.
Panther Flat is on US199 and there are other campgrounds along that road. It was about a 10 minute drive to the tiny town of Gasquet where you could buy some basic supplies. We drove into the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park which wasn't far at all and tried to do a hike but had to take short turns so one of us could hang out with Brandy by the car while the rest of us checked it out as they didn't allow dogs. We also drove into Crescent City on the coast to get some oysters to grill over our campfire.
Would totally recommend this campground and it was a great area to explore.
Great option when everything else is full. We tried to camp near the redwoods, but all the spots were full and the camp post at Jedediah was unhelpful to say the least. Luckily we found this pretty much vacant campground for half the price with great amenities, clean facilities, and access to some awesome water holes on the Smith.
What a great place close to giant redwoods, the smith river and the beach! They say its the most popular camping site in the northern redwoods but we must have missed the croud!