Fern Canyon Trail

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

Distance0.4mi
Elevation Gain163ft
Trailhead Elevation36ft
Top121ft
Elevation Min/Max31/121ft
Elevation Start/End36/36ft

Fern Canyon Trail

Fern Canyon Trail is a hiking trail in Humboldt County, California. It is within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Murrelet State Wilderness. It is 0.4 miles long and begins at 36 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 163 feet. The trail ends near the Fern Canyon attraction. There is also a bench near the end of the trail. This trail connects with the following: Davison Trail and James Irvine Trail.

Fern Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A short hike, made more challenging by the long, bumpy approach, but every bit worth the effort to find. The trail follows the bed of Home Creek up through a magical canyon, formed by hydraulic mining during the gold rush. Nature has outdone itself in healing these scars, with a lush carpet of ferns and moss hung like an emerald tapestry from the canyon’s 40-foot walls. The return loop passes by the site of a gold-rush ghost town. In California, miners turned to hydraulic mining only after most of the “easy” nuggets had been recovered by placer mining (panning for gold). Miners searched for gold at the Bluffs on and off until the 1950s, but the area’s mining industry was effectively dead by the turn of the twentieth century. The initial rush lasted from 1850 to 1852 and had a brief renaissance from 1866 to 1900. All told, the mines yielded only about $1 million worth of gold—not much for a gold mine."

"In the height of the rainy season, you can spy waterfalls running down between the ferns of this remarkable canyon.

Fern Canyon is a major draw in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, for good reason. As a waterfall hike it’s a bit of a stretch: Any ephemeral waterfalls you may see in the canyon play second fiddle to the wallpaper of ferns that flocks the cliff s from floor to top. It’s a fairy tale in the wilderness—a realm of forest sprites and wood nymphs. Seven varieties of fern can be found here, per park literature, including sword, deer, lady, chain, and five-finger ferns. The narrow chasm is remarkably still, though the sounds of the surf, the burbling of Home Creek fl owing over its gravelly bed, and the occasional low voice of a visitor expressing awe or catching her breath as icy water flows over her boot-tops may break the spell."

"A very short hike, made more challenging by the long, bumpy approach, but every bit worth the effort to find. The trail follows the bed of Home Creek up through a magical canyon, formed by hydraulic mining during the gold rush. Nature has outdone itself in healing these scars, with a lush carpet of ferns and moss hung like an emerald tapestry from the canyon’s 40-foot walls. The return loop passes by the site of a gold-rush ghost town."

Fern Canyon Trail Reviews

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11/4/2018
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5/28/2011
Fern Canyon and the gold coast beaches. We visited fern canyon on a misty day in late may. A small stream flows towards the ocean at the mouth of the canyon leaving hikers with two options to start the hike. Venture into the canyon following the creek. This hike takes you through an amazing garden canyon filled with vegetation. Sparkling streams trickle down the canyon walls feeding the ample ferns and flowers. The trail basically follows the stream up the canyon, and crosses it at several points. Bring water proof shoes, or prepare to have wet feet. The canyon can be slippery at some points. The trail winds its way back up to loop around to the beginning after a couple miles. Do not miss the trek around gold coast beach. The flowers, plants, herbs and ocean air mix for an intoxicating aroma. The views of virgin coastline are unsurpassed in Northern California. Fee to enter state park is $8. CASH ONLY. Visitor center is outhouse, and some parking. Road is dirt and rough at some points, though we made it in just fine in our rented Lincoln Continental!
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5/19/2007
We have done this hike before, 2 years ago, it was really great,however now the trail is covered with fallen trees. I would recomend waitng until they have cleaned up the trail to visit.
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10/13/2005
Bumpy, unpaved, eight-mile-long road leads almost right up to this wonderful, if short, hike. It really is preposterously lush and quite unique. Other trails nearby seem enticing, though we took the coast trail instead which proved to be slightly less than stellar, the three waterfalls along the way being something of a disappointment and the scenery otherwise not tremendously varied. Fern Canyon, though, is not to be missed.
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10/4/2005
No wonder they filmed so much of "Jurassic Park" here. A one-of-a-kind collage of natural beauty including a crystal-clear stream, dramatic verticle tapestries of hanging ferns,misting waterfalls, towering trees and wild Roosevelt Elk almost too close for comfort! We took a group on a five-hour narrated FunBus Tour for $29.95 that even included a hot BBQed lunch! Truly in the top five of California's MUST SEES!
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Trail Information

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Nearby City
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Parks
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
Waterfalls
Features
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, 127011 Newton B. Drury Pkwy., Orick, CA 95555; (707) 465-7335; www.parks.ca.gov
Local Contacts
USGS Fern Canyon CA; park map available at the entrance station or online
Local Maps