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Fern Canyon North and South Trail Loop

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Russian Gulch State Park

Fern Canyon North and South Trail Loop is a 5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mendocino, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October.

Length 5.0 mi Elevation gain 734 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Partially paved River Views Waterfall Wildlife Fee No dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

Note: The Fern Canyon Trail is currently closed for renovation. For more information, please see https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=432 There is an $8 entrance fee.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (225)
Photos (327)
Recordings (157)
Completed (592)
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Christine Renee
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HikingFee
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Edwin Goei
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Hiking

Part of trail was closed due to maintenance

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Jessica Richman
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Hiking

Beautiful trail

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Meike G
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Hiking
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BREE MCTAGGART
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Running
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Gretel .
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Hiking

Entrance fee. Bathroom available. Took the north trail since the other side was closed. We decided to check out the waterfall and then make our way back using the north perimeter boarder trail. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable hike with lots of shade.

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Ashlie Robinson
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Hiking

This is a great trail. We took the North Trail because the Fern Canyon Trail is closed (they’re making it an accessible trail). We took it down to the Fern Loop Trail went over to see the waterfall then headed back on the East Trail to the North Boundary Trail back to the North Trail. It was a really beautiful hike with a decent incline. We went 8 miles.

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Francisco Ramirez
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The south trail is no longer visible due to overgrown areas. Take the North trail, that one is fine - great forest hike.

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Jakob Williams
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HikingClosed

Amazing hike but fern trail for the return loop is “closed due to construction” ran in to one guy moving rocks on a backhoe and he let us through though

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Diane Scott
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HikingOver grown

Amazing views, easy trail with some areas of overgrowth but traversable. Much of the trail is on the coast cliffs. Inside state park so may be fees

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Dawn Page
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HikingMuddy

Nice trail through ferns and redwoods. Definitely take a detour and see the waterfall.

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Mary Alden
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Hiking

Lucky we were as we encountered no rain our entire hike! The trail was well maintained, damp but not at all muddy and simply breathtaking! From the recent rains and fog, the air was filled with a pine tree aroma that smelled clean and was so refreshing. Enormous and beautiful, the majestic redwood trees and pines towered the majority of the Russian Gulch park. By far, this was one of my favorite hikes to date. Truly an outdoor oasis and I plan to return definitely!

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Jerry Bell
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Hiking

Great trail, nice variety of landscapes. Some muddy spots but nothing impassable

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Soren N
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Hiking

Great hike! Day pass entry to state park is $8. This trail does NOT got past the waterfall. You have to add at least an additional 1.4 miles on moderate terrain and a couple hundred feet of incline on the Waterfall Loop Trail. This trail head is at the junction of the North Trail and Fern Canyon Trail. I think it’s totally worth the extra mileage. Popular site for local campers so best to arrive early.

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Cindy F
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HikingOver grown

Went June 2019 on South Trail. Many places were overgrown and fallen trees were not handled. Some places so overgrown that I could no longer see the trail. This became an issue because hikers stop using the trail and animals use the area as refuge. The were walking there and so scared to hear a growl from close by. We believe it to be a warning from the bear that has been spotted in the area.

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Sam Singer
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HikingMuddy

This trail was quite nice. For most of the North trail, there were pine needles and pieces of bark on the path, making the trail soft and bouncy, not so hard on the knees. The south trail is mostly paved. Along the entire trail there are beautiful trees and ferns. Shaded, scenic, not too steep. Nice and cool in June.

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Lewis Thompson
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RunningOver grown

If I could give this 6* for trail running, I would.

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Amanda Masula
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Hiking

We ended up taking the Fern Canyon trail to the North Trail on our way back from the Waterfall. We love adding in as many steps as we can! Much better than taking the asphalt trail on Fern. North Trail is quite a bit longer but totally worth it. There’s a small elevation climb for the first 1/2 mile or so but when you reach the top of the mountain it’s fairly smooth sailing. There’s a few muddy spots but nothing you can’t jump over...or better yet, just get dirty! Enjoy!

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Janet Alvarez
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HikingMuddy

Nice hike...moss growing on trees, nice trail.. muddy in a couple of places...beautiful waterfall!

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Kimchi Jigae
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Hiking

This trail went above the fern trail and was nice but didn’t provide much extra

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Hayley Young
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HikingMuddy
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Grace Wu
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Serene redwood-lined trail; very easy to hike with just a bit of an uphill climb at the start. Highly recommended!

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Carolina Roberts
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Hiking

We did the Fern trail going in ad returned on the North trail. The water fall is amazing and worth the hike. The North trail is challenging at first but then is pretty flat and down hill after all the up parts. Very green and we had a great time

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Bob Sanderson
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Great trail. lots of elevation changes. Wet in the winter but that only makes it more interesting

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Maria Edible
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Hiking

Bring cash. There's an $8 day use fee. The entrance station was unmanned when we came but there were envelopes. You just fill out the tag, place it in the envelope along with the cash and drop it in the dropbox, keep part of the tag, and place it on your windshield. Make sure you grab a map! The trail was beautiful and very peaceful. Few people. The trailhead started at the campground (just past the bathrooms) and was well marked. Parking was limited and unavailable at the trailhead but we drove back toward the entrance and found a slightly larger lot. Use the helpful map as it will show you all the parking areas, trails, and bathrooms.

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Sukki Kamisetty
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Nice hike. Crazy number of rhododendrons in spring.

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Amanda Wilson
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Hiking

Gorgeous trail and loved the changes in terrain. We followed Nicole Zanni’s advice and took the North Trail, to the North Boundary, to the East Trail, to Fern Canyon. We were moving pretty quick and it took 2.5 hours.

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Nicole Zanni
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Hiking

Beautiful trail. A little elevation at the beginning but you reach the top pretty quickly. I recommend starting out on the North Trail then connect to the North Boundary Trail. You get to see a really crazy looking Pygmy forest. Jump off at the East Trail then connect to Fern Canyon which takes you to the top of the waterfalls. Beautiful! If you finish the hike continuing on Fern Canyon it’ll be a 6.75 mile hike. Really pretty with lots of different vegetation in a short amount of time.

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Jay Samarov
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Hiking

One of the best trails! #Redwoods

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N G
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so beautiful! lots of mushrooms, ferns, and redwoods

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