Campsite review: Portola Redwoods State Park, CA


9000 Portola State Park Road
La Honda, CA 94020

From Alpine Road and Hwy 35 (Skyline Blvd), turn west onto Alpine Road and go 3 miles to the intersection of Portola State Park Road.  Turn right onto Portola State Park Road and follow into the park.

NOTE: According to the website below, the campground is closed from December 1 to April 1.  The park might also be closed in "severe weather" — I have no idea what the park service considers severe, so I'd call ahead if it's storming.

Date of visit: 
May 22-23, 2009

A little chilly, but what do you expect in the redwoods?  It was in the mid- to high-60s while I was setting up camp and fell to about 50F while we were sitting around the campfire.  The overnight low was 47F.

The morning was chillier than the evening.  If it's a foggy morning, be extra careful on Alpine and Skyline on your way home; visibility was terrible and there were bicyclists everywhere.  Temperatures also fell to the low 40s on Skyline, even at 11am.

Campground Condition: 
* Most of the campsites that I saw were medium sized and could probably fit two four-person tents.  Our campsite, #27, had neighbors right across the road, but we had plenty of space to each side.  

* Many of the campsites are bordered by a significant cliff that leads down to a river.  These are well-marked on the website and, if you're camping with little kids, you probably want to make note of these.

 * Each site has a fire pit with metal grill, a picnic table, a wooden locker, and a place to park. There were water faucets, recycling barrels, and wildlife-proof trash bins every few campsites. 

* There is a lot of wildlife at this park, especially raccoons! Do not leave food out overnight, even in the locker.  If you have a car, that's probably your best bet for overnight food storage.  There are no bears, just birds and raccoons, so I'd imagine that aluminum or plastic motorcycle luggage would be safe for food storage.

* The bathrooms are pretty clean and have flush toilets, sinks with warm water (!!), and soap (!!!).  No paper towels though.  ;)

* There are pay showers available at each bathroom building for $0.25 for 2 minutes.

* Firewood is available at the visitor's center for $8/bag.  They also sell bottled water, soda, T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, and some books about the park.

What to do: 
There are lots of walking trails at the park.  The visitor's center has two free trail guides: one for 0-3 mile hikes and one for 3+ miles.

We took the Old Tree Trail, which is a 1/2-mile walk out to — yo
u guessed it — the Old Tree.   We were the only ones on the trail, which is not a loop (you walk to the tree and then walk back).  It was a fun and easy hike with interpretive signs along the way.

My photos:
Campsite #27:



Looking from the back up towards the road:



Along the Old Tree Trail:



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