Panther Flat Campground

Area Status: Open
Campsite 29 at Panther Flat shown in dappled shade of trees with picnic table and fire ring/barbeque

Panther Flat is the largest and most popular campground in the Smith River NRA with 38 campsites. It is located on a flat about 50 feet above the Middle Fork of Smith River. Highway 199 borders the south side. Trees shade the campground and lush huckleberry bushes fill in the area between sites.

There are no views of the river from any of the campsites. Campers must take a short (three minute) walk down the trail or drive to the Panther Flat Picnic Area for river viewing and access. The picnic area is a no-fee, day-use only area with, grills, water, a horseshoe pit, and eight picnic tables (one is double-length). It has a lovely view of the Smith River and some world class fishing. Two short paths lead from the picnic area to swimming holes; one has a small sandy beach.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open all year.
Reservations: Reservations are available May 20th, 2024 through September 9th, 2024 by visiting or by calling 1 (877) 444-6777; TDD: 1 (877) 833-6777; International: 1 (606) 515-6777. Reservations are not required, but recommended in summer, especially on weekends and holidays.
Area Amenities: Tent camping, Camping trailer, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water, Parking
Fees: Family campsites accommodate up to eight people per site, with a maximum of two vehicles. The fee is $15 per site per night. This fee includes one vehicle; a $5 fee is charged for the second vehicle. A vehicle is: a motor-home towing another vehicle, a single car or motorcycle, or a vehicle towing a trailer.
Usage: Heavy
Busiest Season: Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Closest Towns: Crescent City, CA. 35 minutes west of campground
Water: Drinking water available.
Restroom: Flush toilets.
Passes: Interagency Park Passes are honored at the Six Rivers National Forest:
Interagency Senior Pass: A lifetime pass for citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., age 62 or older. There is a one-time $80 fee.
Interagency Access Pass: A lifetime pass free to citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. who have a permanent disability, regardless of age.
Holders of the above passes receive a 50% discount on camping fees on the Smith River NRA and Six Rivers National Forest. The passes also cover access to and use of many other Federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees.
Obtain passes at National Forest or Grassland offices; or by mail through USGS—inquire at 1 (888) 275-8747 or online at; or visit the USGS store at
Information Center: Smith River National Recreation Area/Gasquet Ranger District
10600 Highway 199
Gasquet, CA 95543
(707) 457-3131

General Information


From the Visitor Center in Gasquet, California turn left on Highway 199 and go 2½ miles east.

General Notes:

Reservations are not required but recommended on summer weekends and holidays; the campground fills up frequently during these times.

Walk-in campers can self-register at the entrance.

Trails: There are no hiking trails out of the campground. An interpretive botanical trail featuring the Darlingtonia, a carnivorous plant, is located one mile east of the campground. Trails within a one-hour drive include Stony Creek, Myrtle Creek, Elk Camp Ridge, High Dome, French Hill, Patrick Creek, Craig’s Creek, Paradise, Little Bald Hills, Doe Flat, Buck Lake, Island Lake, and Devil’s Punchbowl. Consult the hiking section of this web site for details of these and other NRA trails:

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

No. of Sites 38
Best Season: May through October

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking

General Info:

General Notes


Camping trailer: Yes, 40-foot maximum trailer length
Picnic tables: Picnic tables and campfire rings with grills
Tent camping: Yes
Parking: Asphalt surface parking spurs
Toilets: Flush toilets and coin-operated showers
Drinking water: Potable water at taps

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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