Hendy Woods State Park in Philo, CA is one of our favorite campgrounds. We’ve stayed in the Azalea loop at site 4. We’ve also stayed in the Wildcat loop at site 49 and on another trip site 82.
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The campground is beautiful. It is filled with Redwood trees. We have stayed at multiple 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.
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 two sites together were awesome! There was so much space and it felt so private.
Hendy Woods Campsite #82 (Wildcat Loop)
Site #82 in the Wildcat loop is one of the trickier sites we have tried to park our trailer in. It wasn’t impossible but it did take longer than normal. There is a large log on the left side of the space and we wanted to line the trailer up with that log to maximize our space. Getting that angle between the redwood trees was difficult with a 20 foot trailer but we made it work, without anyone getting frustrated or stressed out. Funny enough, the ranger actually came by a minute after we parked and asked how it was possible for us to park that there without anyone yelling.
Once the trailer was parked the site was very nice. It was large and though it is technically in the center of the loop it felt private. Multiple edges are separated by massive logs. Not only did this entertain the kids but it made a nice barrier that other campers didn’t walk through.
The site was large enough that the kids had space to play with RC cars and even found a small loop where they made a nice dirt track to ride their bikes around right at camp.
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.
- Site 33 with Cabins 2 & 4
- If you’re looking to camp with people who prefer to camp in a cabin site 33 could work for a trailer and is right next to the Huckleberry cabin.
- 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.
- Sites 57 & 59
- These sites would work well together. If there’s only one trailer in the group it would be best at site 57.
- Site 58
- This site is pretty large. It does back up to some neighbors but there are some fun areas the kids could play in towards the back of this site. And if you were going with friends this would work well with site 62. Site 62 has a smaller parking pad and could be tough for a trailer but these two sites open up together and have a large area between them.
- Sites 60 & 61
- These two sites would work well together. If there’s only one trailer in the group it would be best at site 60.
- Sites 76 & 77
- These sites would work well together.
- 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. This site was trickier to park a 20 foot trailer in though.
- Site 83
- This site is tucked into the trees a bit and seems like it would be a nice place to stay. It would be a challenging spot to park a trailer though.
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.
We’ve visited a couple of times in the spring (late May) and we had good weather. The temperature was in the 70s. Though on one trip we had light sprinkles and the other trip we had a surprise thunder storm. Both times the bad weather didn’t last long (under a few hours) and then it was nice again.
The other thing we noticed is in late May we have noticed lots of mosquitos around. We didn’t notice them in the fall. But there’s enough in the spring for them to be annoying.
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.
Of course we couldn’t do a camping trip without checking out a local beer. When we visit Hendy Woods we always go grab some beer from Anderson Valley Brewing Company. We love having a picnic at the brewery. Anderson Valley doesn’t serve food but they allow outside food. So we pack up some lunch and head over. There is a large outdoor area and it’s both kid and dog friendly.
Even though it’s very disappointing that dogs can’t go on any of the trails at Hendy Woods, we will still definitely go back. Even though we primarily stay at camp, the kids always have an amazing time here. Just being around the trees, getting to climb on logs, riding bikes around, and exploring nature is enough to keep them busy. We relax, play cards, and eat too many snacks. We don’t get much exercise since we can’t hike with the dog but we get to be in nature in the redwoods and that is one of our favorite places to be.
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.