Smith River National Recreation Area


A kayak floats the jade-green waters of the Smith River at the confluence of the middle &south forks

Recreational activities abound in the Smith River National Recreation Area or NRA. The beautiful Smith River offers fishing for steelhead, trout, and salmon. During the summer months, the pure, clean waters of the Smith River are perfect for swimming, rafting, or fishing and the forested mountainsides present occasions for hiking, bird watching, wildflower walks, or perhaps just lounging in the sun.

Winter temperatures drop into the 40s and 50s, with an occasional snow storm. The rainy season normally runs from October through April with an average annual rainfall of 92.55 inches. Summers are dry with highs in the 80-100°F degree range. Contact the NRA Headquarters at the Gasquet Ranger Station for current weather conditions.

 

 

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Biking

Areas for Mountain Biking at Smith River National Recreation Area

Campground Camping

Smith River has five developed campsites opened both seasonally and year-round. Campgrounds range in size from the full-service, 38-campsite Panther Flat Campground to the remote, 5-campsite North Fork Campground. Some campgrounds have designated day-use areas and river access.

 

Developed campgrounds are located adjacent to rivers in forested areas. The ideal camping time 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. All campgrounds have accessible restrooms. Sites will accommodate travel trailers (check length limit on table) but no electric, water, or sewer hookups are provided. Family campsites accommodate up to eight people per site, with a maximum of two vehicles. NOTE: A 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. Campground fees vary depending on the services provided. See individual campground web pages for information on making reservations and fees for each campsite. No campground may be occupied for more than fourteen (14) days per calendar year by the same party. Campers must check out by 2 p.m.

Smith River NRA Camping Guide, rev. 4/2015 - PDF

Areas for Campground Camping at Smith River National Recreation Area

RV Camping

Areas for RV Camping at Smith River National Recreation Area

Dispersed Camping

Areas for Dispersed Camping at Smith River National Recreation Area

Cabin Rentals

Areas for Cabin Rentals at Smith River National Recreation Area

Lake and Pond Fishing

The forest waterways are renowned for their world-class fishing opportunities. Good management results in a continuous supply of fish for recreational and commercial fishing, and wildlife viewing. Remember to always carry a valid California fishing license and check with the California Department of Fish and Game for current regulations and restrictions.

Lakes - Smith River NRA, rev. 3-2003 - PDF

Areas for Lake and Pond Fishing at Smith River National Recreation Area

River and Stream Fishing

As the largest single undammed Wild and Scenic River system in the United States, the Smith River National Recreation Area plays a major role in preserving the quality and quantity of fish habitat.

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 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.

Fishermen must possess a valid California fishing license and adhere to California Department of Fish and Game seasons and regulations.

The Smith is known as the quickest clearing stream of the coastal rivers. After major storms (100" of rain between November and April!), the river is fishable in a couple of days. The reason for this is the free-flowing nature of the river that has allowed it to carve its bed down to bedrock.

River Access Trails - Smith River NRA, rev. 8-2014 - PDF

River Access Trails - Smith River NRA, rev. 8-2014 - Word

Fish of the Smith River, rev. 12/2002 - PDF

Areas for River and Stream Fishing at Smith River National Recreation Area

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
41.778856

  Longitude : 
-123.896942