Fern Canyon Loop Trail

EASY 111 reviews

Fern Canyon Loop Trail is a 1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Orick, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
1.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
157 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

wildlife

scramble

no dogs

Fern Canyon is a surrealistic and amazing display of primal ferns growing in a narrow 50-foot-deep vertical walled canyon. The floor is nearly all creek bed which helps provide a contrast of water, gravel, stumps and downed trunks. Fern Canyon was used for several scenes in the movie Jurassic Park 2: Lost Worlds (1997) and the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs (2000) for very good reason. Expect slow going in the canyon. At least 5 species of fern and dozens of other plant species create an overload of color, shape, and texture. Add to the sensory mix a combination of light climbing over logs, ankle deep creek crossings, little animal surprises (amphibians and in one spot, millions of centipedes), a total lack of modern sounds (if it's not a busy day), birds, insect noises, the breeze through the trees...overall, it is an amazing experience. Drive or hike in. Hiking will make a day trip of it or if you prefer to spend the weekend, there are a number of camping options, Driving in to the park is a small adventure in itself. The road in is largely unpaved but is suitable for 2 w/d cars. These old dirt roads provide a far better visceral experience than paved streets in these forests. But be careful - the road can be narrow and has plenty of blind curves. The final leg of the road traces the coast between the narrow coastal plains and bluffs. It provides access to beach camping and several additional trail heads. Expect 2 or 3 shallow creek crossings on the way in to the canyon. The park is designated as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. The park's tree cover primarily consists of old-growth coast redwood, hemlock and Douglas fir. Sitka spruce and Red Alder provide additional forest cover. Because of frequent coastal fogs, the forest understory vegetation can get very lush and dense. Tan oaks, cascara, maples and California bay can be found on edges and grassland spaces. Western azalea and rhododendron bloom in May and June and offer bright accents and pops of color to the dense green of the forest.

hiking
4 days ago

Amazing! So lush and green. I loved the walls of ferns.

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Stunning -- a must-see!!!

14 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

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18 days ago

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20 days ago

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22 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

24 days ago

This trail is so beautiful. Well the loop trail is closed but just follow the creek through the fern canyon. If you are adventurous keep going up the creek and climb over all the obstacles. You will come to a small waterfall on your left that is quite pretty. We are a family of six. My kids were in heaven. Important tip- We all wore muck boots and it made the trail much easier. Could have sold them to almost anyone on the trail too. ;). If you end up doing the trail in tennis shoes- just plan on getting them wet. There are board bridges but you are still going to get wet. The moss, ferns, creek and even fallen trees make this an I forgettable hike. My kids (who hike often) said it was THE BEST HIKE EVER! We loved it.

24 days ago

This was a great hike! The tall walls of ferns were so unique and the stony river bed was lovely. The hike was very easy. We saw elk and banana slugs, two things we hoped to see while in the area. Be warned, there is an 8 mile drive on an un-paved road to arrive at the parking lot as well as areas where the water streams across the path. We made it through in a mustang so it's doable but nerve racking. Worth it.

26 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Did partial hike here 7/1/17. Very easy hike with views that seem to good to be true for the minimal effort involved!! The whole place has a magical, land before time feel. There's lots of water along the path so be prepared to get your feet a little wet. The drive to get here includes 4 miles of rough gravel - so make sure your car can handle it and you don't mind it getting a little beat up. Cool bonus - there's a lovely beach adjacent to parking lot with many wild elk just milling around.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful hike through the cannion covered in ferns. The loop is still closed but the hike is still worth it for the fun alone.

hiking
1 month ago

Most unique trail that we completed during out visit to the Redwoods parks. the scenery was amazing and our kids kept themselves busy looking for salamanders. They unfortunately didn't spot any. The guide we read said this trail was "easy", which is true if you are not trying to keep your shoes dry. After completely submerging out shoes in the water a couple of times we stopped caring about dry socks and the trail was EASY! My recommendation is "wear a water/hiking shoe! The loop was closed when we hiked here also, but the hike was still very enjoyable! A must see!