Austin Creek State Recreation Area

Twenty miles of hiking and riding trails make it easy to explore and enjoy this wild and scenic area. Though the 5,683-acre park is close to urban development, its rugged topography gives a sense of isolation from the hustle and bustle of civilization. Elevations within the park range from 150 feet above sea level to almost 1,900 feet on Marble Mine Ridge. Austin Creek's open forests and rolling hills offer a striking contrast to the cool, dark redwood grove in Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.

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Austin Creek is a wilderness in the coastal mountains

Summertime temperatures often exceed 100 degrees F. Winter temperatures occasionally drop below freezing and the 50-inches of annual precipitation generally includes an occasional snow flurry.

Springtime wildflower displays include Douglas iris, buttercups, lupines, brodiaeas, California poppies, and shooting stars.

The grasslands, chaparral, conifer, oak woodland, and riparian habitats of Austin Creek State Recreation Area are home to a wide range of native animals and birds. Squirrels, deer, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, skunks, bobcats and an occasional mountain lion are some of the native animals seen here. Introduced species that are commonly seen include feral pigs and turkeys.

Bird life in the park includes the colorful wood duck and the rare spotted owl. Others more frequently seen birds include great blue herons, white tailed kites, quail, various woodpeckers, ravens, hawks, and flycatchers.

Aquatic animals in the camp ground pond include bluegill, black bass, and bull frogs. Trout and California newts are found in the streams. Licensed anglers may fish Bull Frog Pond, but all streams are closed to fishing in order to protect vitally important spawning habitat.

Austin Creek's historic Pond Farm Pottery was the home, workshop, and school of the internationally renowned ceramic artist, Marguerite Wildenhain, who settled here after World War II. Formerly a student at Germany's famous Bauhaus school of design, Wildenhain enjoyed and was inspired by the peace and natural beauty of this area.

Twenty-four family campsites are located near Bull Frog Pond. Campsites are available throughout the year on a first-come, first-served basis. Tables, fire rings, flush toilets and potable water are provided but no washing facilities are currently available. Vehicle access to the campground is by way of a steep, narrow, winding, 2.5-mile-long, mountain road. For safety reasons, no vehicle over 20 feet in length is allowed on this road. Vehicles with trailers or other towed vehicles are also prohibited. Back country primitive campsites are located at the Tom King, Gilliam Creek and Manning Flat sites. Each campsite has a table and fire ring. Pit toilets are located nearby. A year-round stream is nearby, but this water supply must be purified before drinking. Use of a micro filter is recommended. The primitive sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A back country permit is required and can be obtained at the Armstrong Redwoods park office during business hours. Ground fires are prohibited during periods of extreme fire danger, although camp stoves can still be used for cooking in all but the most critical periods of fire danger when camping is not permitted at all.

A back-country permit is required to camp at the primitive campsites.  To obtain a permit, contact the ranger at the Armstrong entry station;  if a ranger is not available, ask the volunteer at the visitor center to contact a ranger.

All of Austin Creek's trails are open to horses although horse trailers are not permitted beyond the picnic area. Check with the park office for up-to-date information about trail conditions. A horse riding and pack station concession providing guided day and overnight trips is located 1/2 mile west of the Armstrong Tree in Armstrong Redwoods State park.

Can I bring my dog to the park?

Check with the park staff for current information about any interpretive programs that may be scheduled during your visit.

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Austin Creek

For more information, call California State Parks at (707) 869-2015 or 865-2391

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