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Camping at Ben Ries Campground

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Ben Ries Campground is situated within Butano State Park, which lies in the Santa Cruz Mountains along California's scenic coastline. The park, surrounded by redwoods, canyons, and various wildlife, offers a tranquil and rustic camping experience. Named after a local dairy farmer, Ben Ries, the campground provides a chance to escape from city life and enjoy nature.


Ben Ries Campground is located in Butano State Park in Pescadero, California. This park can be found approximately 40 miles south of San Francisco.


Access to the campground generally requires a vehicle. The roads leading there can be narrow and winding, which is typical of the mountain roads in the area. Campers should be prepared for a drive with steep grades and tight turns, especially when navigating an RV or towing a trailer.

Campsite Details

  • Reservation: Camping at Ben Ries Campground typically requires a reservation, especially during peak season. Reservations can be made online through California's State Park reservation system.

  • Campsites: The campground offers standard campsites including some that are suitable for tent camping, trailers, and RVs, although size restrictions may apply since not all spots can accommodate large vehicles.

  • Facilities: Basic amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits, food lockers, and restrooms are provided, but campers should be aware that amenities might be more primitive compared to more developed campgrounds.


The fees for camping vary depending on the type of campsite and the time of year. Campers should check the latest fees and any potential discounts or passes that may apply.


  • Hiking: Butano State Park has a network of trails that range from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, giving visitors a chance to explore the redwood forests and canyon views.

  • Wildlife Viewing: The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, and various bird species, which can often be spotted by observant campers.


  • Fire Regulations: Given the risk of wildfires, fire restrictions may be imposed, including limitations or bans on campfires and smoking.

  • Animal Safety: Storing food properly is vital to prevent attracting wildlife, particularly raccoons and the occasional mountain lion.

  • Quiet Hours: To ensure all campers enjoy a peaceful experience, quiet hours are typically enforced from 10 pm to 6 am.

  • Garbage: Pack-it-in, pack-it-out principles may apply, and visitors are expected to leave no trace.

Weather Considerations

Check the weather forecast in advance, as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. Fog and rain can be common in the area, particularly during the off-season.

Booking Information

Reservations for Ben Ries Campground can be made through the California State Parks reservation website, ReserveCalifornia. It is advisable to book well in advance, as this and other campgrounds in the park can fill up quickly, especially during summer months and holiday weekends.

Contacting the Park

For the most current information and any specific questions, visitors may directly contact Butano State Park. As policies and conditions may change, it is always best to confirm details closer to your trip.

Location of Ben Ries Campground
Other Campgrounds in Butano State Park
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