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Benbow Lake State Recreation Area 
Highway 101, California's North Coast

California State Parks 
Management Unit:    
North Coast Redwoods District 
1600 U.S. Highway 101, #8 
Garberville, CA 95542 
(707) 923-3238 / (707) 247-3318


  • Campfires Allowed
  • Tent Camping
  • Site Fee
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Picnic Area
  • Water
A popular destination, Benbow Lake SRA was first established in 1958. Prior to that, the area was used by settlers, ranchers and loggers until 1922 when the Benbow family purchased much of the land in the valley. Some of the land was subdivided and sold for home sites. The Benbow Hotel, as it was originally named, was built in 1925 and opened for business in 1926.

To provide power for the new development in the valley, a concrete dam was constructed across the south fork of the Eel River in 1928. The dam not only provided power but also created Benbow Lake. The Benbow family, interested in preserving the natural scene around the Hotel and along the river, made efforts to place the land under State protection. In 1956 funds were approved for the Benbow Project and the first 207 acres were purchased in 1958.

Today the park consists of about 1,200 acres with 75 campsites and a large day-use picnic area. The campground is open year-round and reservations can be made from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend by calling (800) 444-7275. Hiking, swimming, picnicking and camping are popular summer time activities, while salmon and steelhead fishing are popular in the winter. There are 2 hook-up campsites available.


How to Get There:
2 miles south of Garberville just off Hwy. 101.


Facilities: RV dump station

Reservations/permits: Reservations Memorial Day-Labor Day. Call (800) 444-7275.

Basic visit recommendations: Family camping along river and lake.

Special events/programs: Summer Arts Festival, Jazz on the Lake, Shakespeare play

Adjacent visitor attractions: Golf course & Benbow Inn, Richardson Grove S.P., Humboldt Redwoods S.P., Avenue of the Giants.


Fee(s) Charged: Yes
Campsites - off-season $12, on season $16. Two (2) Hook-up sites available $17. off season, $21. on season. Showers use quarter coins. Day use, $5 per car.


Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association
1699 HWY 273, Anderson, CA 96007 | (P) 530-365-7500 | (F) 530-365-1258
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