Hendy Woods Campground Review


Hendy Woods State Park in Philo, CA is one of our favorite campgrounds. Last fall we stayed in the Azalea loop at site 4. This spring we stayed in the Wildcat loop at site 49.

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The Campsite

The campground is beautiful. It is filled with Redwood trees. We have stayed at a couple of campsites at Hendy Woods.

Hendy Woods Campsite #4 (Azalea Loop)

Campsite #4 fit our 20 foot travel trailer and our truck with no issues.

The site itself was great in that there was a large redwood log right in the back that the kids could play on. It felt like we had lots of space to ourselves. In reality, we were surrounded by campsites. Since we went in the fall everything around us happened to be empty.

Site #3 is right next to the spot we had. We lucked out with it being empty for almost the entire time we were there. It would have been a great spot to reserve for a friend, it feels a little close for sharing with a stranger though.

Another downside about this campsite and many of the surrounding sites in this loop of the campground, is there was lots of poison oak around. Luckily we saw it right away and we were able to show the kids. They did a good job of avoiding it but it did make it more difficult for them to play games where they may accidently wander into the poison oak, such as frisbee.

We stayed in this site during the fall and while we were there a burn ban was in place. So we couldn’t use the fire pit for a wood fire. We were allowed to use propane so we brought a propane fire pit and that worked well for us.

Our Hendy Woods visit at campsite #4 in the Azalea loop.

Hendy Woods Campsite #49 (Wildcat Loop)

We were excited to try a spot in the Wildcat loop. It seems that all of the sites in the Wildcat loop are more spaced out than the Azalea loop. There are larger sites and it’s possible to feel a little more secluded.

We were in site 49 and we had friends staying in site 51. The two sites work out perfect together. If we had a third party at site 48 we would have had that entire side to ourselves. But, even with a different group in site 48 we had plenty of space to explore and it still felt private. And even if we only had site 49, it still would have been a large spot, it just wouldn’t have felt as private.

Site 49 was no problem to park our 20 feet trailer in. Site 51 would have been difficult. The parking pad wasn’t as long and then our door would have been positioned at the edge of the campsite.

There was so much space that the kids were able to ride their bikes directly in our campsites. They also had lots of space to play soccer, horseshoes, or catch. There were also several little paths directly at our site that made it easy to explore.

Unlike the site we had in the Azalea loop, this site didn’t appear to have any poison oak (though we were still cautious). We thought it could be the time of year (visiting in the spring instead of fall) but we did still see some poison oak around the Azalea loop.

The downside about this particular site is there were a ridiculous amount of mosquitos. We had one day with light rain and there were no mosquitos that day, the rest of the time we all had to constantly apply bug spray. There were swarms everywhere.

The two sites together were awesome! There was so much space and it felt so private, but because of the amount of mosquitos I’m not sure that I’d reserve the site again. If we do, it won’t be at the end of May. Next time we’ll try a spot somewhere else in the Wildcat loop.

Our Hendy Woods visit at campsite #49 in the Wildcat loop.

The Best Campsites

  • Sites 3 & 4
    • These two sites work well together. They area between them is open so it would be easy to merge the two when camping with a friend. There is also a nice large tree for kids to climb and play on in campsite 4.
  • Sites 49 & 51
    • These sites are both large. They are also fairly private from the rest of the camp, but not from each other. Which makes them work great together. You end up with a massive space. The only downside is this is the only site here where we’ve noticed a mosquito problem. And if you need a third site campsite 48 would work well with these as well. But, it’s far enough away that having neighbors there isn’t a big deal.
  • Sites 50, 53 & 84
    • These three sites form a triangle. Though they seem to be in the middle of camp, if you have a few friends and book them all there ends up being a large space in between the three sites.
  • Site 56
    • This site is large and feels a little more secluded than others because a large fallen log separates the site from its closest neighbor.
  • Site 82
    • This site also feels a little more private than others because of the large logs separating it from others. The logs also make for great play areas for the kids.
  • Site 83
    • This site is tucked into the trees a bit and seems like it would be a nice place to stay.

The Weather

When we went in fall (early October) we expected it to be cold. We actually had beautiful weather. The kids were a little chilly in the morning but by lunch it warmed up. It was around 65-70 degrees for most of the day.

When we went in the spring (late May) we had great weather. It was about 72 degrees. The first day was cloudy but that cleared up and we had nice blue skies. We did actually have a few rain sprinkles but it was sparse and didn’t last long.

The Activities

There are a few different trails to hike right at Hendy Woods. There is a trail you can do from the campground to go see a Hermit Hut. It’s a hut made out of a redwood tree where a Russian who had fought in WWII lived in the 60s and 70s. We actually did that hike during a day-visit we did to the park.

There are also a few hikes you can do from the day use area. There’s a discovery trail and a trail to the river. We, however, did not do any of those because they aren’t dog-friendly. We’ll explain more about that in the next section.

The kids had a ton of fun just exploring the campground and riding bikes around the loops.

The Dog-Friendly Hiking

Like many California state parks, dogs are allowed at the campground. Unfortunately, that is about the extent of it. Dogs are not permitted on any trails at Hendy Woods. It’s not a huge deal for a short weekend but it would have been nice to get to check out the trails. We did walk around the campground with the dog a few times and the campsite was large enough that the dog and kids had fun exploring our little area.

The Beer

Of course we couldn’t do a camping trip without checking out a local beer. Last time we stayed at Hendy Woods got some beer from Anderson Valley Brewing Company. We got the Brut IPA and it was delicious. We also got a frisbee from the brewery for the kids. (Unfortunately, we had to take it away since it kept landing in poison oak.)

This time, we decided to have a picnic at the brewery. Anderson Valley doesn’t serve food but they allow outside food. So we packed up some lunch and headed over. There is a large outdoor area and it was both kid and dog friendly.

The Recap

Even though it’s very disappointing that dogs can’t go on any of the trails at Hendy Woods, we will still definitely be going back. Even though we primarily stayed at camp, the kids had an amazing time. Just being around the trees, getting to climb on logs, riding bikes around, and exploring nature was enough to keep them busy. We relaxed, played cards, and ate too many snacks. We didn’t get much exercise since we didn’t go hiking but we got to be in nature in the redwoods and that is one of our favorite places to be.

Campground Details:

Hendy Woods State Park
18599 Philo Greenwood Rd, Philo, CA 95466

Can reserve online at reservecalifornia.com. Reservations open 6 months ahead at 8am PST.

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