Discovering Serenity: Hell Gate Campground in Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Nestled at the confluence of Rattlesnake Creek and the South Fork Trinity River in southern Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Hell Gate Campground offers a tranquil retreat for nature enthusiasts. Located 75 miles west of Red Bluff on Highway 36, this campground provides 17 first-come, first-served campsites for tents and small RVs, surrounded by the beauty of the Trinity River and the allure of Marble Caves for rock climbers. As you plan your escape to Hell Gate, consider these top tips, strategies, and gear recommendations to make the most of your camping experience.

Map & Reservations

Top Tips for First-Time Campers at Hell Gate Campground

  • Strategic Arrival: Secure your spot by arriving early, as all campsites are first-come, first-served, ensuring you find the ideal location for your camping setup.
  • Seasonal Bliss: Optimal camping conditions prevail from late May through early September, allowing you to relish the beauty of Hell Gate and its surroundings without weather-related concerns.
  • Pet-Friendly Atmosphere: Embrace the pet-friendly environment by keeping your furry companions on a leash and attended, fostering a harmonious camping experience for all.
  • Trail Exploration: Take advantage of the 21-mile-long South Fork National Recreation Trail, conveniently starting right at Hell Gate Campground, providing captivating hiking opportunities.
  • Water Recreation: Indulge in the joys of fishing, rafting, and swimming in the South Fork Trinity River, creating memorable moments against the backdrop of natural splendor.

Top Strategies and Tactics for Maximum Camping Enjoyment

  • Mid to Late Summer Serenity: Plan your visit in mid to late summer to fully enjoy the popular swimming activities when water levels are safe, enhancing your overall camping experience.
  • Trail Immersion: Explore the South Fork National Recreation Trail, a gateway to the beauty of the Trinity River and an adventure waiting to unfold right from your campground.
  • Ruth Lake Excursion: Take a short drive to the picturesque Ruth Lake, less than an hour away, for boating, waterskiing, and fishing, offering additional recreational opportunities.
  • Marble Caves Exploration: For rock climbing enthusiasts, venture to the nearby Marble Caves, limestone cliffs reaching up to 250 feet in height, providing an exhilarating and challenging experience.
  • Evening Campfire Ambiance: Unwind at your campsite, enjoying the warmth of a campfire as you bask in the tranquil ambiance of the Trinity River area.

Recommendations on Camping Gear for an Optimal Experience

  • Campsite Comfort: Enhance your camping comfort with cozy sleeping bags, comfortable camping chairs, and lanterns to illuminate your evenings.
  • Water Essentials: Bring a refillable water bottle and a water purification system for convenient access to safe and clean drinking water during your outdoor adventures.
  • Cooking Convenience: Opt for portable camping stoves and cookware to prepare delicious meals at your campsite, enhancing your overall camping culinary experience.
  • Layered Clothing: Pack versatile and layered clothing to accommodate varying temperatures, ensuring you stay comfortable throughout your exploration of Hell Gate and its surroundings.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Check our gearlist account for detailed recommendations on camp cooking equipment, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing to optimize your camping experience.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Hell Gate Campground, where the convergence of natural wonders and outdoor recreation creates an idyllic setting for camping enthusiasts. Following these tips, strategies, and gear recommendations, you’re poised for an enriching journey in the heart of Shasta-Trinity National Forest, surrounded by the beauty of the Trinity River, Marble Caves, and the serene landscapes of Hell Gate.