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Fern Canyon Loop Trail

EASY 431 reviews

Fern Canyon Loop Trail is a 1.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Orick, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 1.1 miles Elevation Gain: 118 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

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
1 day ago

Awesome place to hike. I can see why it was such a great place to shoot dinosaurs with movie magic. Very relaxing walk through nature. Highly recommended. Very easy and beautiful.

hiking
1 day ago

Amazing trail to walk in the rain! We loved it!

hiking
4 days ago

Although in Redwood Statepark, this trail has little to do with redwood. But in this one-ish-mile loop trail, you can experience myriad of terrian and plants. We in particular loved the canyon covered by ferns. And alongside the crystal clear creek, the trail itself was amazing. The access road was unpaved. And about one-mile away from trailhead, a creek with torrent of water was running through the road. If you drive a sedan, maybe its a good idea to park before that. Also, the Golden Bluff beach nearby is decent, and we thought it as a bonus

hiking
9 days ago

Great trail for the kids. ages 10, 8, and 2. we all had a good time on this trail. super easy, gorgeous scenery.

hiking
11 days ago

Incredible fern covered canyon walls, banana slug, mushroom covered logs, small stream, easy trail

An absolutely stunning trail. It's so peaceful when it's not crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing place. My 4 year old did great! It really feels like you are going back in time here.

hiking
1 month ago

A disclaimer: I was with my five year old and my wife, who doesn’t like hiking. With that in mind this was perfect. It’s short and is full of lush vistas. My wife enjoyed it because it truly is beautiful and it was full of people which, given that part of her dislike of hiking is a fear that at any moment something will eat her if she’s alone, this assuaged. My 5 year old was able to hop streams, walk across low bridges and couldn’t get enough of the high canyon walls of ferns. It also smells incredible. Someone should bottle that. As a result of this hike my wife has said she’ll try another hike. Success!

hiking
1 month ago

With an RV very hard to get there. Street is very narrow and bumpy. In case you make it to Golden Bluff - walk to the trail and do not cross the river. We tried it and damaged our RV :-(

it was pretty. I was expecting more by all the ratings and comments.

hiking
1 month ago

This place is rad, very Jurassic parkish.

hiking
1 month ago

it was an amazing place to experience. just a run down so your prepared. it's a gravel road entrance to the park. its shared road with tight spots. make sure to use caution in the corners and lookout for oncoming traffic. you will be entering the park/day use area so expect to pay a day use fee. beleive when I was there it was 8 bucks. once into the park you'll find a few rough spots in the road. not an issue If you have clearance but lower cars will have to watch approach. And you'll also have a stream crossing. we crossed with a passenger car but otherwise you'll have to walk to fern caynon from the first parking area. the canyon is a short foot trail into the canyon. you'll then cross multiple makeshift wooden "bridges" and a few logs in spots. but fairly flat and easy to move through. bring some good shoes for the muddy areas.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful but really crowded and a lot of screaming kids. Please teach your kiddos to respect nature and other hikers experiences.

hiking
1 month ago

Short but rewarding. Very easy and enjoyable for kids too

hiking
1 month ago

Highly recommend this hike as a peaceful enjoyable walk.

hiking
1 month ago

A must do if you’re in the area!

Beautiful hike. Fern canyon is easy and heavily trafficked but must see. It was nice to add on the friendship ridge trail to get further away from crowds and see redwoods/ferns. Mostly shaded, very pleasant hike. Took us about 4.5 hrs with stops for photos and lunch.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful redwoods for miles. Very shaded and clean trail. Can go to fern canyon trail at the end to the beach for a picnic.

hiking
2 months ago

Quite an amazing experience walking through this over wooden planks. Beautiful and serene!

hiking
2 months ago

Although I like the unique and beautiful environment, the large number of people really takes away from its charm.

hiking
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

Fantastic trail. You are just surrounded by green. Absolutely magical. Very easy and families could do it. I’d recommend bringing/wearing shoes that can walk in water. I wore my chacos and they were perfect. I was just stomping along in the creek and had no issues.

walking
2 months ago

Made it to the parking lot in a mini van. Plenty of spaces, late afternoon. Totally worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a short but amazing trail. The views inside the small canyon are unlike anything you have ever seen. Plan on getting your feet wet. Beware the drive to get to the trail head is much harder than the hike.

hiking
2 months ago

If you drive to this location, it is an $8 fee for state park day use. Bring small bills. The road is really rough after the ranger post, so low riding cars and midlife crisis convertibles will not fair well and will likely get a tad scraped. The canyon has many ankle deep streams and water shoes is *almost* a must... we did hop and skip on logs in our hiking boots but it became very tiresome. Now the canyon is incredible, nothing you have probably seen before, straight out of Jurassic Park! Kids and active elderly were present here without issue. This is an absolute must if you visit Redwood Natl/Prarie State Park!!!

hiking
2 months ago

A must see if you go to Redwood. The trail is deep in on an unpaved road and crosses and large pool/creek so bring a high clearance vehicle. The trail is pretty popular and that’s one of the only drawbacks of it. But the views inside the canyon are absolutely incredible and shouldn’t be missed. Also expect your feet to get wet unless you’re an expert log walker as there is a creek that runs through it all

hiking
2 months ago

Jurassic Park! THE most beautiful hike I have ever taken.

hiking
3 months ago

Plan on getting your feet wet. I have never seen anything like this. It’s an easy hike and well worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views. Definitely bring a camera. Heavily trafficked and lots of water crossings. There are branches to help you cross without getting wet, but you’ll have a lot more fun if you just accept that your feet will get wet. Full loop takes less than an hour.

hiking
3 months ago

Great little hike with beauty everywhere. Reminds me of something out of the Jurassic Park movie.

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