Amazing Landscape. Forest Canyon. Photo Overload. Great Hiking. Creek. Beautiful Lighting. True Northern California Treasure. Lots of Ferns.

Fern Canyon is located within Gold Bluffs Beach at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park located some 45 miles south of Crescent City, CA. Entrance to the beach area is located on Davidson Rd off the US-101 in Orick, CA. You will need to drive for about 6 miles on the dirt road at the turn of Davidson Rd. Lookout for the signs. Pay the day use fee to enter the State Park. You can do Fern Canyon in one day.

The trailhead begins at the parking lot which the dirt road ends at. The creek will be about 1/4 of a mile down the trail and this is where you follow the creek to the right. Fern Canyon begins here. Waterproof shoes are suggested unless you don't mind getting your feet wet.Feel free to explore as far in as you want. Just about everything here is worthy of a shot. The views are stunning. Word is that there is a trail the runs along the top off the canyon for those that want a longer hike. Other trails are located within this area leading to a waterfall. Long Exposure shots are nice here.

Check the forecast before you go. Fog is common in the area and when the sun peaks through, that is when the magic happens. This is a forest so be aware of your surroundings and travel in groups. Wildlife is common here. Check the National Park Service site for details on wildlife in the area and what precautions you should take.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripopd
  • Hiking Pack
  • Water
  • Snacks (in a smell proof container or leave them in your car)
  • Water shoes or Waterproof Hiking Shoes
  • Utility Knife
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Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Forest
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Ferntastic

As a beginner in both hiking and photography I really liked this trail. Although it was a bit more wet than I thought it would be. I did have trouble taking an interesting picture just because there was so much to look at. Keep in mind that there is a fee of 8 dollars for day use since it's a state park and there are no dogs allowed on the trail. I may have brought my dog anyway and he loved it as much as I did.

Worth the Drive Out There

This place is pretty magical despite the long, dirt road to get in there! Kids loved jumping over the small streams.

A Treasured, Unique Landscape

This place is so fascinating if only for its distinct geological features. Standing in a canyon of ferns with walls over 40 feet high is surreal. One thing I would highly recommend bringing is knee-high rain boots. Depending on water levels, it is very difficult to proceed through the canyon without getting your feet wet. I wore my high ankle waterproof hiking boots and they weren't enough in most places. During the warmer months, they have footbridges in place, but during the colder months (winter/spring), you have to traverse it yourself. As others have said, wild elk frequent the area often and should not be fed/disturbed. While mostly docile, these animals are huge and can easily hurt you. Please keep your distance. Do be aware that the day use fee is $8.00 (cash only) which can be paid at the entrance gate. I was able to drive through the two small river crossings on the way to the trailhead with my Honda Insight, but it would have definitely helped to have an SUV. As always, be smart, and use your best judgment with the water levels.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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