Welcome to Rock Creek Ranch

Rock Creek Ranch is operated by Smith River Alliance, a non-profit working to conserve the Smith watershed.

Since 2002, Rock Creek Ranch has hosted youth camps, conservation programs, retreats and community gatherings. Remnants of the original stone lodge stand beside a magnificent emerald pool, with its old foundation serving as an impromptu amphitheater and outdoor classroom. The facilities may be available to groups and private parties when not in use for SRA programs.

To learn more about our location, history, the ranch house, and camping options, see below.


previous arrow
next arrow

Located on a sweeping bend of the South Fork of the Smith River, Rock Creek Ranch is a place where the seasons are felt.  During the rainy season, when the river is high, it moves with a booming and boisterous energy—and one can almost hear the boulders moving in the riverbed as the water flows past.  In summer, the river is an elegant emerald ribbon that gathers and slows to create two swimming holes, both jewels in the crown that is Rock Creek Ranch.


The Smith River Alliance has owned Rock Creek Ranch since 2002, and it expanded the property by 100 acres in 2013. The Ranch is operated with a community spirit and hosts many cooperative ventures on and off the property including youth camps, community education programs, and retreats. Remnants of the old lodge are located next to a magnificent emerald pool. The original lodge foundation of the lodge serves as an impromptu amphitheater, outdoor classroom and special gathering place. At Rock Creek Ranch, visitors can withdraw from the busy world and find inspiration and renewal in the Smith River Canyon. The summer season offers retreats, slide shows, youth camps and workshops. RCR is an off-grid facility, generating its own electricity. Power is generated by a solar system in the summer and a micro-hydroelectric system in the winter months. To read more about the Rock Creek Ranch Sustainable Energy System, click here.

There was no road in the 1930’s when the original owner of Rock Creek Ranch first arrived by trail over the Little Bald Hills. Drawn by the beauty, fishing and solitude, George Owen Knapp built the present day house and a lodge that was used until the river swept it away in 1955. Knapp was a wealthy, retired industrialist, and a philanthropist. He financed the first modern hospital built in Del Norte County. In May 2002, Smith River Alliance acquired Rock Creek Ranch from Ralph and Dorothy Hollingsworth, who were both active and volunteered widely in the community. The Alliance has continued that community spirit with many cooperative projects both on and off the property, including youth camps, community education programs, and retreats. Rock Creek Ranch is located in the heart of the Smith River National Recreation Area. As such, it’s past, present and future are linked to the SRNA and the legislation that created it.


The Ranch House

previous arrow
next arrow

The Ranch House The main house at Rock Creek Ranch has four bedrooms and two baths and is a great spot for a family gathering. As a meeting place, the large living room comfortably accommodates up to 22 people in a casual atmosphere and is heated by two wood-burning stoves. In addition, there is a family room and a kitchen. The deck wrapping around the house can seat 60-75 people depending upon the table configuration. During the warmer months the deck surrounding the house serves as another dining or meeting focal point. Rock Creek Ranch generates its own electricity using both solar and micro-hydro technologies. We discourage the use of hair dryers, laptops, blenders and coffee makers.

Camping and the Outdoor Use Area

previous arrow
next arrow

The Outdoor Use Area The OUA is a multi-purpose outdoor covered space which can accommodate up to 75 people in a casual atmosphere, or 50 people classroom-style. It contains a kitchen and a large open air dining area. This comfortable meeting space is open to the elements and is more popular from May – October. From the deck there is a spectacular view of the Smith River. The OUA is attached to a campground located on a riverside terrace with a yurt, sleeping decks and many secluded camp spots overlooking the river. A double composting toilet serves day-use and overnight campers.

Rock Creek Ranch is surrounded by hundreds of acres of Smith River National Recreation Area land. Its scenic river views and gardens provide a rustic and serene environment for meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops of up to 110 people a day, and up to 75 overnight. The one hundred and fifteen-acre property has a significant amount of Smith River frontage. This section of the South Fork includes both rapids and deep pools and easy river access at several locations. The quiet atmosphere and inspirational natural setting at Rock Creek Ranch are ideal for both concentrated work and creative activities.


There are two glorious swimming holes which all visitors share. The upstream pool is named the Majesty pool and is popular with fish snorkelers; the downstream pool is known as the Emerald pool and is a favorite of youth groups and families.

Rock Creek Ranch does not allow dogs.


Make a Reservation

Rock Creek Ranch facilities are available for rent to groups and private parties when not in use for SRA programs.
[vfb id=1]

General Policies

  • Rock Creek Ranch is a non-smoking establishment.
  • We are unable to accommodate pets. Service animals welcome.
  • A deposit is require to secure all reservation.
  • Check in is between 4 PM and 6 PM. Check out is noon.
  • There is a two-night minimum stay except holiday weekends, which has a three-night minimum stay.
  • RCR is off the grid which means that we make all of the electricity that is used on the property. Electronics are discouraged. No plug ins for campers or recreational vehicles. No trailers.
  • Rates do not include 8% Occupancy Tax which is charged for ranch house stays.
  • Fees apply for any reservation changes or cancellation of reservations.

Where is the closest grocery store?

Rock Creek Ranch is located within the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA) far from modern conveniences; there are a few things you may need to know as you prepare for your visit. RCR is 15 minutes from the Hiouchi Hamlet (convenience store with some groceries), and it is 30 minutes from Crescent City, which has several grocery stores.

What is the Road Like?

The Ranch is located eight miles upstream of the confluence of the South and the main fork of the Smith River. The South Fork Road winds its way up the river canyon and is now a two lane paved road all the way to RCR.

Can I Come Take a Tour and Just Look Around?

Unfortunately, we do not offer guided public tours. To preserve the sanctity of the visitor experience, self-guided tours and walkabouts are not allowed.

What Time Can I Check In?

Feel free to arrive any time after 2 pm; room keys are available through the Office after 4 pm.

Will My Cell Phone Work at Rock Creek Ranch?

Rock Creek Ranch is located approximately 10 miles from “civilization,” and there is currently no cell coverage at the property. This isolation and tranquility, while deepening the experience of your stay, can also be a significant change. While there is no cell service, there is an emergency phone in the Ranch House.

Can I bring my Dog? Cat? Other pet?

Sorry. Other than animals in service, pets are not allowed on the property.

Can I bring my trailer?

Sorry. We are unable to accommodate trailers because of their size and we have no hook-ups. We do have parking available for cars and vehicle sized campers – but no dedicated location for trailers.

How do I get to Rock Creek Ranch? How far is it from the Nearest Airport?

Rock Creek Ranch is approximately thirty minutes from Crescent City Airport (CEC), 2 hours from the Arcata Airport (ACV), and 2 hours and twenty minutes from the Medford Airport (MFR).

Does Rock Creek Ranch have electricity?

There is no utility service at the Ranch. We generate our own electricity through a Sustainable Power Station, which was developed in cooperation with the Humboldt State U. Environmental Engineering Department and the Schatz Energy Research Center. You can visit the following link (http://now.humboldt.edu/news/students-propel-renewable-energy/) for more information about this exciting project. While we do have electricity, we also strongly discourage certain appliances, which require extensive amounts of energy — such as hair dryers, electric coffee pots, and waffle irons.

Can I have a campfire at Rock Creek Ranch?

The Ranch is located in the Smith River NRA – a unit of the Six Rivers National Forest. As a result, we must follow the rules and regulations of the US Forest Service regarding fires outside the house. OUTSIDE FIRES require permission from the U.S. Forest Service-check with the Ranch caretaker before starting a fire in the summer. If it is acceptable with the USFS, we do have a fire pit on the terrace below the Long House. Due to extreme (summer) fire risk, we do not allow “Tiki” torches, candles or other open flames of any kind outside.



What Visitors are Saying

Read testimonials from visitors to Rock Creek Ranch.
Read More

Photo Galleries

More photos from Rock Creek Ranch.
Open Galleries

Service Weekends

Join a volunteer work part at Rock Creek Ranch.
Learn More

Off the Grid

Rock Creek Ranch is off the grid!
Learn More