Imagine looking out into the crystal clear waters of the Wild and Scenic Smith River that appear emerald green from afar. This is because of the rare green serpentine rocks below that cast their magical color. Think of watching the native osprey diving for fish, merganser ducks and their ducklings taking shelter on the sandbar, otter swimming bel
Imagine looking out into the crystal clear waters of the Wild and Scenic Smith River that appear emerald green from afar. This is because of the rare green serpentine rocks below that cast their magical color. Think of watching the native osprey diving for fish, merganser ducks and their ducklings taking shelter on the sandbar, otter swimming below to hunt fish and crawdads, kingfishers chattering as they fly upriver, blue and white heron standing as sentinels on the rocks, and occasionally bald eagles perching on the snags across the river. These are right at your doorstep as you take the trail down to the river for a brisk morning plunge or later to enjoy sitting in the sun. The sound of small waterfalls cascade nearby to lull your senses into relaxation. The rock and cement trail lined with fern, thimble berry, native azaleas, stream orchids, and myrtlewood, take you to a cement pad where a ladder into the river awaits your use. You can dive in and swim over to the sandbar or to the nearby cliffs and try your hand at jumping off the highest rocks. Air mattresses for floating and lounge chairs are set up for your use as well. Or if you'd rather use your own kayak or paddle board, feel free to do so. When bathing in the Smith, please only use biodegradable soap to help keep the Smith pristine. There is liquid soap for your use at the river. According to siskiyouland.org
"The Smith River is the wildest and cleanest river in the country outside of Alaska — indeed, it is one of the cleanest rivers in the world. — The Smith is the only major undammed river in California. –The Smith River watershed contains a higher percentage of unlogged, original ancient forest ecosystem than any other river in California."
If you would prefer to wander the grounds, there are meandering paths that let you enjoy the beautiful flowers and landscaped yard where something is always blooming. A lawn in front is perfect for bocce ball, "washoe," or croquet, which the host will provide upon request. Next to the tent site is a large redwood picnic table and a fire pit for roasting hot dogs, marshmallows, or cooking. A Weber BBQ is available around the side of the house next to a small man made waterfall and streambed. There is also a redwood deck with lounge chairs and another table.
Nearby you can bicycle, hike, or you can drive to the beach, just 22 miles away. Both Crescent City and Brookings are close by. The redwoods are literally down the road, where you can hike many trails and see one of the largest redwood trees on record at Stout Grove. If you are a Star Wars fan, you will recognize scenes filmed there. You might even see an Ewok spying on you from around a tree! The local Forest Service Station in Gasquet, just up the road from the host's site, has lots of maps and free advice of what to do and where to go, just ask the host. She knows most of the best local spots.
If you'd like to float on air mattresses or inner tubes, you can arrange with the host for a small fee, to take you up to the Forks of the Smith where you can enter the river and float down to the house. It is about a half hour float, but it gets rocky in mid summer and isn't recommended for kids. A longer float will take you down river to the Mary Adams Peacock Bridge where pick up by the host can be arranged. Fishing for trout and steelhead can be done from the cement platform or kayak, but please make sure to have a California license. A local hike to Stoney Creek allows you to view the native carnivorous plants, called Darlingtonia or "Pitcher Plant". There are numerous patches of them growing along the stream beds and seeps. Swimming up the North Fork is a great destination hike as well, which is just up from Stoney Creek. Madam Gasquet's grave site is above the Forks of the Smith, about a mile from the host's home. The view looking down at the forks is spectacular. This is an easy walk.
There is a large intact male Shiloh Shepherd on site who is very friendly. However if you are afraid of big dogs, this may not be the spot for you. This is his home, though he will not be out wandering into your camp, as he sticks pretty close by the host's side.
There is spotty WIFI outside and the only cell service is US Cellular. Verizon works occasionally but no AT&T. There is no land line in the host's home
If you are interested in any classes in how to make kombucha, rock painting, making smudge sticks , facial scrub, natural coconut/yarrow makeup remover, or learning to cook Paleo, Keto, or a special BBQ spice rub, let the host know. These can be done for a small extra fee.
- Check in: After 2PM
- Check out: Before 12PM
- Cancellation policy: Super Strict
- On arrival: Meet and greet
- Minimum nights: 1 night
- Accepts bookings: 6 months out
- Response time: Within 6 hours
- Response rate: 100%
You know what would make this trip even better?
Take advantage of these offers available to add to your trip to Scenic Smith River Retreat
Hike up to Stoney Creek
Hike up to Stoney Creek (part of the Smith River Watershed) and view the native carnivorous ...Read more
Start your trip off right with a bundle of firewood waiting for you at your camp for your fi...Read more
Offered on the Host's property or nearby.
Most hiking trails can be accessed by mountain bike. The "powerline trail" across the river is a fun, but a somewhat strenuous ...Read more
Floating the Smith is a favorite past time starting at the Forks.
Trout, cuthroat, steelhead, and salmon are in the river(depending on the time of year), but please have a California fishing li...Read more
There are numerous trails all around Gasquet. The host can help you or you can visit the local Forest Service Station just up t...Read more
Horseback riding on the beach in Crescent City is available in the summer.
River access for kayaking, rafting, or paddleboarding is at the swimming hole below.
Surfing rentals are available in Crescent City on South Beach.
Swimming is just a few steps from the tent site. Please have lifevests for children. There is a strong current right at the hou...Read more
Depending on the season and which fork you are wanting to go.
Many birds everywhere, occasional deer, bear, cougar, and bobcat.
Natural features you'll find at Scenic Smith River Retreat in California.
Sand bar across the river. Beach in Crescent City, about 22 miles away.
Gasquet is nestled in a small valley surrounded by the Six Rivers National Forest. There are large white fir on the property, a...Read more
Forest service roads abound everywhere that let you explore the Six Rivers National Forest. A Forest Service Station is situate...Read more
The redwoods are just down the road which can be accessed through Jedidiah State Park or on the other side of the river at Stou...Read more
River, stream or creek
The tent site is right on the Wild and Scenic Smith River.It is one of the clearest and cleanest rivers in the United States. ...Read more
Right at the bottom of the trail with a ladder for easy access. There is a rather deep channel with a deceptive current, so ple...Read more
Easy access to your tent site.
The vibe at Scenic Smith River Retreat
Places to see near Smith River Retreat
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Do yourself a favor and stay here
This place was awesome. The garden was epic and the surroundings amazing. My two kiddos and I stayed here for five days in July. Carole and her dog could not have been a better hosts. We swam in the river every day and ended the days in the hot tub. Amazing stay. We are grateful to Carole for sharing.
First of all Carole is a delight! It is clear from her meticulous gardens that she takes pride in her home and what she does. She has a wealth of knowledge of the area. As for the details: she offered three different areas for us to put up our tent, some closer to the house than others. We chose a flat wood chip area with a view of the river. All amenities that were listed were certainly available. Her dog is indeed huge, but Carole manages him well and he quickly got used to us. Our dip in the river was brisk and enjoyable, we were glad we packed bio degradable soap and water shoes. Carole had great tips for hiking in the area (Stony Creek and Stout Grove were our favorite short hikes) and making a run to the local forest service visitor area was her tip to get maps and other hiking details. We can't wait to get back.
Best swimming hole in years
Smith River Retreat is great!. There is a lovely spot for the tent with a picnic table and firepit. The host Carole was friendly and welcoming and she let us use her bathroom and BBQ.
But the best part of this site is swimming. The river comes right to her back yard with amazing clear fresh water. Deep in spots for jumping shallow in others for chilling. We'll definitely be back.
This was such a fun trip! Carole’s yard is filled with flowers and beautiful plants. Smith River is crystal clear, and she has a place to jump off from into the river that we did in the morning! She has a grill to use as well. Her dog is very friendly, and there are so many humming birds to watch that love her flowers 🌷
Awesome river views. good location.
So I rarely write reviews, but I’ll try.
Fantastic view of the river!
Carole was fantastic. Haakaan was the largest Shiloh German Shepard I have ever met. What a beautiful dog.
The retreat is a perfect location to access some of the best Redwood trails in minutes. I’d rather pitch a tent in solace than at a crowded camp any day of week.
No showers but the river is close by.
Carole went above and beyond hosting us this weekend at her beautiful property. She was so kind to my disorganized family, and extra accommodating to my mom who has physical limitations. I'm from the area but have grown tired of the campsites I grew up with being overcrowded, the Smith River Retreat was a wonderful alternative. A private swimming hole, hot tub, hammock, and campsite overlooking the river - we couldn't have asked for more. Thank you again, Carole!
Truly incredible experience. Amazing location and amazing hospitality. Truly magical. Carole has things completely dialed. She will be beating people away. Glad we are able to get this location early on in her hip camp experience. We will be back. Also a world class swimming hole.