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Fern Canyon

Orick, California

based on 9 reviews



1.12 miles

Elevation Gain

269 ft


Added by Juan Moreno

Fern Canyon provides photo overload: amazing landscape; forest canyon; beautiful lighting. This is a true Northern California Treasure!

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.

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Fern Canyon Reviews

I love green, so this hike was a dream! #imapoet You spend a lot of the hike splashing through the creek, so bring your tevas and chacos! The trail is pretty shaded so you may want to bring a jacket. Also, don't turn around until you've reached the giant fallen trees! They're great for climbing on and taking pictures.

It was a relaxing short hike. Pack your waterproof boots will need those.

would do it again.

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.



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



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.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Hike the Friendship Ridge Trail loop via the Coastal Trail

Camp at Gold Bluff Beach

Hike the James Irvine Miner's Ridge Loop, Redwood National Forest

Clintonia Trail Loop

Explore the Prairie Creek Redwoods

Prairie Creek Redwoods Loop