The Smith River National Recreation Area is located within the Six Rivers National Forest in northwestern California. This 305,337 acre National Recreation Area (NRA) was designated by Congress in November 1990 to protect the area’s special scenic value, natural diversity, cultural and historical attributes, wilderness, wildlife, fisheries, and the Smith River watershed’s clean waters. The Forest Service has been designated as the steward of this National Recreation Area to provide recreational opportunities and to manage this diverse area for all of its natural resources.
The Six Rivers National Forest is named for the six major rivers that run within its boundaries: the Smith, Klamath, Trinity, Mad, Van Duzen, and Eel. The Smith River is the only major undammed, naturally flowing river remaining in California. The rivers provide many recreational opportunities. While rafting and kayaking are popular water-based recreational activities, the resilient watersheds of the nearly one million acres of forest are perhaps best known for providing some of the best anadromous, or salmon, fishing opportunities in California.
In addition to river recreation, popular activities in the Six Rivers include camping, hiking, backpacking, and picnicking. Within a six-hour drive north of the Bay Area, you can experience the solitude of hiking in the wilderness on over 100 miles of trails and enjoy camping in developed campgrounds or the solitude of camping in the back country. There are a wide variety of trails in the Smith River National Recreation Area that range from Siskiyou Wilderness trails to the botanical beauty of the Myrtle Creek and Darlingtonia interpretive trails where visitors can view a variety of rare and endangered plants and wildflowers as well as short trails that offer scenic views of the Smith River National Recreation Area.
The Gasquet Ranger Station is the only U.S. Forest Service site in our conservancy and is a must see for Smokey Bear fans, featuring Smokey Bear stuffed animals, hats, pins, and t-shirts for adults and kids.