The mission of California State Parks is
to provide for the health, inspiration and
education of the people of California by helping
to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological
diversity, protecting its most valued natural and
cultural resources, and creating opportunities
for high-quality outdoor recreation.
Historic gateway to the
north coast redwoods,
these ancient giants
have inspired people
California State Parks supports equal access.
Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who
need assistance should contact the park at
(707) 247-3318. If you need this publication in an
alternate format, contact email@example.com.
CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
For information, call (800) 777-0369
(916) 653-6995 outside the U.S.
711 TTY relay service
Richardson Grove State Park
1600 U.S. Highway 101, #8
Garberville, CA 95542
Marbled murrelet photo
courtesy of Rich MacIntosh
© 2002 California State Parks (Rev. 2015)
ichardson Grove State Park — traditional
destination of countless vacationing families
since the early twentieth century — is one of
the north coast’s first redwood state parks.
Situated in the majestic redwood forests of
southern Humboldt County, “The Grove”
began in 1922 with 120 acres and has since
grown to approximately 2,000 acres. Located
200 miles north of San Francisco and seven
miles south of Garberville, the park is
bisected by U.S. Highway 101 and the South
Fork of the Eel River.
The first known inhabitants of this region,
the Sinkyone people, hunted, fished,
gathered food, and lived sustainably among
the Grove’s ancient redwoods, which they
considered sacred. These Athabascanspeaking people trained their dogs to drive
game toward waiting hunters. Both men and
women were basket makers. Today’s Sinkyone
descendants maintain cultural and spiritual
ties to the Grove.
The first recorded settler in the area,
Kentuckian Ruben Reed, bought the land
on the South Fork of Eel River in the late
1860s. His brother and their widowed father
homesteaded 160 acres, now part of the park.
In the early 1900s Henry Devoy bought Reed’s
land; Devoy leased the redwood grove in
1920 to Edwin Freeman, who built a store, a
dining room, and cabins at the site of today’s
In 1922, the Save the Redwoods League,
concerned about the potential destruction of
the trees by highway construction and logging,
Richardson Grove Lodge, ca. 1947
persuaded the State to acquire
120 acres of the redwood grove.
Between 1922 and 1932, Freeman operated
the new park as a concession and lobbied
to name the park for Governor Friend W.
Richardson. The Richardson Grove Lodge,
which is now the visitor center, was built
between 1928 and 1930. In 1933, the Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) began building
campgrounds, picnic facilities, trails, water
systems, and restrooms in the main grove.
Periodic flooding of the Eel River,
particularly during the floods of 1955 and 1964,
has damaged CCC-built facilities and trees.
In February 1986, the river again overflowed
its banks, destroying the campfire center and
picnic area. Later, new facilities were built
outside of the main grove. Today, only the
visitor center remains in the main
grove, lessening the human impact on its
The most notable natural feature of Richardson
Grove is the old-growth redwood forest, which
thrives in the area’s mild climate. Many trees
in the grove are more than 1,000 years old;
several are more than 300 feet tall. Strolling
among these towering redwood
giants is an unforgettable
experience. One can see some
of the world’s tallest coast
redwoods, a walkthrough tree, and a
fallen tree growth-ring
exhibit that has drawn
visitors to the park since 1933.
Redwood sorrel, ferns,
Coast redwood and mosses take
advantage of the deep
shade in the heart of the forest. Younger
redwoods, Douglas fir, California laurel,
various oaks, and madrones compete
for sunlight and moisture outside the
established groves. Undergrowth includes
huckleberry, hazel, Douglas iris, calypso
orchids, poison oak, and redwood violets.
The South Fork of the Eel River — named for
the Pacific lamprey — runs through the park.
During fall and winter, spawning salmon and
steelhead return to the river. Wildlife includes
black-tailed deer, gray foxes, and river otters.
Occasional visitors include black bears and
Native birds include bald eagles, great blue
herons, osprey, belted kingfishers, California
quail, and acorn and pileated woodpeckers.
Endangered marbled murrelet chicks and
eggs can fall prey to ravens, crows, and jays
if food scraps
Be sure to ask
park staff about
Juvenile marbled murrelet the “bat tree”
where the Yuma myotis roost. These little
brown bats are welcome residents that help
to reduce the mosquito population.
The visitor center in the 1930s Richardson
Grove Lodge — where families once watched
movies, ate ice cream, and danced under the
towering trees — offers interpretive displays
that encourage children to handle selected
natural items. The Grove Nature Trail begins
at the visitor center.
Camping — Richardson Grove has 169 family
sites in three campgrounds. Huckleberry has
one site for hikers and bicyclists. Oak Flat
Campground is open only during summer.
The Dawn Redwood Group Campground can
accommodate from 9 to 40 people. For more
camping information and reservations, call
(800) 444-7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov.
Picnicking/Day Use — The picnic area is
near the South Fork of the Eel River under
redwoods and maples. The river is popular
for swimming and sunbathing during summer
and for salmon and steelhead catch-andrelease fishing during winter. The park’s
several hiking trails range from gentle
Events and Programs — Check bulletin
boards throughout the park for details.
• Summer evening campfire programs
feature storytelling, interpretive talks,
• The Junior Ranger program teaches children
aged 7 to 12 about the park’s natural and
• The Litter-Getter program encourages
children of all ages to respect their
environment through recycling.
• Guided walks interpret natural features.
• Diving and jumping into the river are
• No lifeguards are on duty. Children should
be supervised at all times.
• Fires are permitted only in fireplaces
provided. No ground fires are allowed.
• All park features are protected by law and
must not be disturbed in any way.
• Do not leave food scraps out or feed
• Pets must be on a leash no longer than
six feet during the day and must be kept
in your tent or vehicle at night. Except for
service animals, pets are not allowed on
• Bicycles are not allowed on hiking trails.
• Please keep yourself and our forests safe
and healthy; stay on the trails and do not
climb on downed logs or trees.
The visitor center, the Grove Nature Trail,
Dawn Redwood Group Campground, the
picnic area, and three
campsites in the
are accessible. For
updates, visit http://
• Benbow State
5 miles north on
U.S. Hwy. 101
at Benbow Dr.
(Co. Road 31)
This park receives support in part
from a nonprofit organization.
For more information, contact:
Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive
Association, P.O. Box 276,
Weott, CA 95571 · (707) 946-2263
G R O V E Entrance
S TAT E PA R K
Campground: Hike & Bike
Richardson Grove SP
H a r tso o k
r i ng
s Tra i l
H a rt s o ok
to Crescent City
Tan Oak Springs Trail
area shown in
C re e k
y C r e e k Trail 2.1 mi
o d la nd
to San Francisco
© 2009 California State Parks (Rev. 2015)