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California > Six Rivers National Forest > Smith River National Recreation Area
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Smith River National Recreation Area

Smith River- The Smith River is one of the crown jewels of the National Wild and Scenic River System, which recognizes and protects rivers across the country.

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Smith River National Recreation Area
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General Information

Description - The rural town site of Gasquet, founded in the late 1800's along the beautiful Smith River is home to the Smith River National Recreation Area. Outdoor recreation is a major attraction to this rural area, which has a population of 400. Services offered to the community include a post office, country store, hamburger stand, motel / restaurant, church, primary and middle school, and a volunteer fire department.

The landscapes and waterscapes are truly spectacular, the lifestyles and culture diverse, and the pace of living relaxed in the North Coast area.

Attractions - The North Coast is strongly oriented to outdoor recreation with many activities focused on the ocean, magnificent redwoods, and miles of scenic rivers. The emerald-green water of the Smith River sets the tone for much of the area as well as providing a starting point for many of the activities.

Smith River has four developed campgrounds opened both seasonally and year-round. Campgrounds range in size from the 39-site Panther Flat Campground to the charming Patrick Creek Campground. Some campgrounds have designated day use areas and river access. Developed campgrounds are located along riverbanks in densely forested or open flat lands with panoramic views. The ideal camping season in the Smith River NRA is May to October before the winter rains begin. Developed campgrounds are equipped with vault or flush toilets, fire rings, tables, parking for two vehicles, and drinking water -- unless otherwise noted. Sites will accommodate travel trailers but no electric, water, or sewer hookups are provided. No campground may be occupied more than 14 days by the same party. Family campsites accommodate up to eight people per site, with a maximum of two vehicles. Campground fees vary depending on the services provided. Reservations for Grassy Flat, Panther Creek, and Patrick Creek campgrounds can be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service.

There are a wide variety of trails in the Smith River NRA that range from Siskiyou Wilderness trails to the botanical beauty of the Myrtle Creek and Darlingtonia interpretive trails where visitors can view a variety of rare and endangered plants and wildflowers. There are also quite a few short trails (under four miles) that offer scenic views of the Smith River NRA.

Fishing on the Smith River is regarded as World Class both because of the potential for trophy-size fish and the challenge of landing one. The NRA is also home of some best barrier-free fishing available. As the largest single undammed Wild and Scenic River system in the United States, the Smith River NRA plays a major role in preserving the quality and quantity of fish habitat. The largest steelhead caught (and recorded) in California weighed 27 lbs. 4 oz. and was captured on the Smith as well as the second largest Chinook salmon at 86 pounds! Smith River provides habitat for Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. Anglers must possess a valid California fishing license and adhere to California Department of Fish and Game seasons and regulations. More details are found at the Smith River NRA Visitor Center in Gasquet.

Six Rivers National Forest is home to many beautiful botanical areas. These areas are protected contain rare and endangered plants and flowers. Please respect these areas during your visit.

Recreation - Visitors to Smith River NRA enjoy fishing, camping, hiking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, backpacking, trail riding, bird watching, wildflower walks, and more.

Climate - The Mediterranean coastal climate results in summers that are dry with temperatures in the 75-95 degree F range, while the winters are mild but quite wet (average yearly precipitation is 90"+).

Location - The Smith River National Recreation Area is located in Northern California along Highway 199 and reaches to the Oregon state line.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Jayne (Gasquet, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I am always tired from camping. I do love it , but the hardest part is loading the camping gear. Panther flat has a great swimming hole. My kids love going there. The weather is not to hot . My whole life spending ever summer at Gasquet with my cousins. It is a tradition.

More Information

Contact Information:
Smith River National Recreation Area, Highway 199, P.O. Box 228 , Gasquet, CA, 95543, Phone: 707-457-3131, Fax: 707-457-3794, TTY: 707-457-3131

Additional Information:
North Coast Region - The North Coast Region, stretches over 400 miles of rugged coastline from San Francisco to the redwood forests near the Oregon border. Inland are some of California's best vineyards and quaint villages.
Six Rivers National Forest - The Six Rivers National Forest lies in northwest California, reaching south from the Oregon border. Stands of colossal redwood trees and 366 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers are only some of the attractions here.


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