Austin Creek State Recreation Area is adjacent to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and is accessed through the same entrance. With open woodlands, rolling hills, and meadows, its topography offers a strong contrast to the dense, primeval redwood forest below. Here you will discover deep tree-lined ravines cooled by year round streams; grassy hillsides burnished golden by the heat of summer sun and turned emerald by plentiful winter rains; oak capped knolls that seem to float like islands on lakes of lowland fog; and rocky mountaintops that showcase an almost panoramic view. A paradise for the hiker and equestrian, Austin Creek rewards the explorer with twenty miles of trails and panoramic wilderness views, back-country camping, and Bullfrog Pond Campground- accessible by vehicle (no trailers). The park's rugged topography, with elevations ranging from 150-1500 feet, offers a sense of isolation from the accustomed sights and sounds of civilization.
Hikers on 20 miles of trails find it necessary to carry plenty of water at Austin Creek, where summer temperatures can be extremely warm.
Park trails are open seasonally to horses; horse trailers are not allowed beyond the picnic area at Armstrong Redwoods SNR. For trail conditions, call (707) 869-2015.
Ride bicycles only on paved and unpaved fire roads, not on trails. At Austin Creek, the paved and unpaved fire roads gain 1,000 feet of elevation. At Armstrong Redwoods, bicyclists must share the flat, paved road with hikers, horses, and vehicles.
At Austin Creek, camping is available year round. Some campsites are first-come, first-served; others can be reserved at www.hipcamp.com. Sites have tables and fire rings with nearby flush toilets and drinkable water (but no showers). For questions, call Stewards at (707) 869-9177.
Backcountry (Primitive) Camping
The nonreservable Tom King and Mannings Flat hikein campsites require permits for backcountry camping, available when the entry kiosk or volunteer center are open. Sites have tables, fire rings, and nearby pit toilets. Water from the year-round stream must be purified before drinking.
When camping is allowed, register and get a permit for Austin Creek camping at the Armstrong Redwoods SNR entry kiosk.
The reserve has a visitor center, outdoor amphitheater, picnic facilities, and about nine miles of hiking trails. The visitor center (nature store) has Interpretive displays and sells a variety of educational items.
Two picnic areas in the redwoods are ¾ mile from the park entrance. Nearby Fife Creek runs swiftly in winter and slows or dries in spring, summer, and fall. A seasonal waterfall is close by. Amenities include picnic tables, barbecue grills and pit, and restrooms. For group picnic area reservations, call (707) 865-2394.
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