Fern Falls via Boy Scout Tree Trail

MODERATE 261 reviews

Fern Falls via Boy Scout Tree Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crescent City, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 4.8 miles Elevation Gain: 875 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

The Boy Scout Tree Trail ranks as one of the top showcases of old-growth redwood forests in existence with truly huge trees and several distinct redwood forest types. Part of the beauty of Jedediah Smith Redwoods is that it is the single least developed and most pristine old-growth forest around. The Boy Scout Trail has an honest feel of remoteness to it, with not a whisper of modern sounds to be heard. Catch this trail on a sunny morning and the filtered slanting rays reveal a stunning variety of textures and color variations on the redwood's bark. In the fogs of this region, the sense of mystery becomes astounding. This is an out-and-back hike and unlike other hikes, both directions are amazing, revealing a constant supply of sights you may have missed on the way in. It's really a toss-up over which direction is better. The trip to the trail head is an adventure as you walk through a magnificent old-growth grove on Howland Hill Road. Much of the route is on an old dirt logging road that's kept well graded. If you've never toured on logging roads, you should absolutely do it! There's a visceral something totally lacking on paved roads. This one's easily passable in 2WD. At the trailhead, located in a spectacular redwood grove, there's a little pullout that can accommodate about six cars.

hiking
16 hours ago

Such an amazing trail through the Redwood Forest. Definitely worth exploring!

Amazing trail!!!

hiking
muddy
15 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

Nice walk out and back to Fern “Falls.” Up and down but no real elevation gain. Several 50+ hikers, like us, on the trail the day we visited. Trail was in good shape but is pretty beat up in places. Lots of tissue discarded along the trail; pack it out people!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a thrill for someone from Minnesota. The next day we hiked the Tall Trees Trail, but this offered better vistas and some really awesome Redwoods.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a wonderful trail! It has plenty of beautiful huge redwood trees. It was not overcrowded at all. We walked the trail from 1:30 to 4:00 in the afternoon. There were a few mosquitoes. There was plenty of shade. The distance to the Boy Scout Tree is 2.8 miles. Fern Falls is another 1/4 mile down the trail. It was definitely worth the extra steps. There was still some clear cold water cascading down the rocks and several banana slugs!

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

This is a very enjoyable and popular trail. The Redwoods are so beautiful. I would highly recommend this trail if you’re in the area.

hiking
1 month ago

Enjoyed the walk and glad I had my trekking poles as there are plenty of roots to walk over the entire trail. Not sure if the distance is accurate as my fitness app logged more distance.

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous hike. Actual miles to the falls is 3.21 from the parking lot not the 2.8 the signs says. Definitely worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

We did this hike yesterday afternoon and loved it! There's a lot more traffic on this trail than many others that we have done here but we still managed to find peace in this forest. The waterfall at the end isn't much but the hike IS so enjoy the journey! We definitely did!

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Gorgeous hike. Lots of mosquitoes so wear bug spray. Lots of shade. Lots of roots to trip on so mind your step. It’s easy to miss the Boy Scout Tree if you don’t know what to look for. When heading down the path, there is an off-shoot trail to the right that goes uphill to the tree (before you get to the waterfall from the main path).

Decided to turn around early because we only had a limited amount of time. But the hike was beautiful regardless. Some construction on the trail however.

2 months ago

Stunning, massive trees, magical falls a great payoff with lovely lush forest along the way. Several families on the trail when I hiked it. Seems like a tough trail for younger ones. The trail is a tangle of low roots for miles, so it can get a little technical. It's mostly shady, but it can get surprisingly hot in summer, so bring water. Overall a great hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail. And the Boy Scout Tree was a great payoff at the end. The Falls were nice, too. Word of caution: moderate here means not for novices. My wife was not prepared for this hike and had to turn back. But I enjoyed it quite a bit.

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic hike with gigantic redwoods the entire way. I saw one review mentioning a short side trail to see the actual Boy Scout Tree so I kept my eyes open for some signage. Sadly none appeared, but about a quarter mile from the fern falls on the right side some kind hiker scrawled an arrow into a tree. Follow the arrow for 50 ft and you will find the Boy Scout Tree. It is magnificent and enormous. Well worth a quick detour. I highly recommend this hike!

hiking
3 months ago

Thanks to the last review, we made sure to drop off our luggage at our Airbnb before we drove out to this trail for fear of our rental car getting broken into. This was certainly a highlight of our time in the redwood forest. We only ended up hiking about 1 1/2 miles up, but it was wonderful. Scenic the whole time we were on the trail and could be cut short while still being enjoyable. Highly recommend going in the later afternoon, we passed numerous groups driving and hiking down the road / trail which made it easy for us to find parking and then had the trail mostly to ourselves.

hiking
3 months ago

BEWARE! The trail itself is amazing. The redwoods are gorgeous and it's a moderate hike. Amount up and down both ways but the roots can be tricky. YOUR CAR CAN GET BROKEN INTO! We had our car broken into, presumably by locals of the area. They broke the driver side window and stole my fiance's suitcase and her shoes. They also broke into another car in the same parking lot the same day and hit another car at a different location. From what I've heard, they target rental cars. This has been an on going issue in the area which was told to me by the local police. It's a real shame but it's hard to recommend this place with how unsafe the area is, especially Crescent City. Hike at your own risk.

hiking
bridge out
muddy
4 months ago

It started railing that morning. We should have known the challenge ahead after passing 2 road closings due to mud slides. DON'T let the rain deter you. The beauty is still there. In fact, the water seemed to bring out some amazing color. BE PREPARED! We were geared up for the rain. Poles were helpful in deep muddy areas and yes there were a few trail washouts on our return! We did not make it to the waterfall. The trail was washed out. Beautiful hike rain or shine!

hiking
4 months ago

Trail was a beautiful stroll through old growth Redwoods. Highly recommend boots for mud as it was pretty goopy in some spots, but all part of the fun for this time of year. Stunning and picturesque.... I highly recommend this trail.

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

Nice, easy walk through old growth. Absolutely beautiful. Be careful not to miss the path to the boy scout tree, love that it is discrete.

5 months ago

Loved it! Easy, refreshing! :)

hiking
6 months ago

Gorgeous and quiet trail! It was a very peaceful hike to do with my husband. We were the only ones on the trail, which was so refreshing. It was raining a little bit, but we were able to stay dry for the most part. I feel like we went at the best time of the year. When we got to the turn around point, the waterfall was flowing strong and was so peaceful.

6 months ago

The quiet is unbelievable! Only a crow or two on the way out interrupted the silence. The hike itself was easy, all flat except for a few stairs toward the end and a small climb up to the Boyscout Tree itself. Wear shoes with good grip if you hike in the rain, the roots from the redwoods are scattered across the trails and provide poor traction. The waterfall at the end of the trail is a must see, keep going past the Boyscout tree! There is a nice spot to sit at the base of the falls that is perfect for a snack and rest before returning. There are so many old redwoods on the way in that it almost steals the thunder from the Boyscout Tree, but it is worth hiking all the way to see the giant. Howland Hill road itself provided a surreal drive in, fairytail-esque.

7 months ago

This trail is best to hike after a heavy ran to see the waterfall in full swing. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Some of the most beautiful redwoods I've seen, no noise pollution, cool fungi, and beautiful ferns.

hiking
7 months ago

Stunning! Nice hike... without over doing. The tree is magnificent. Something very magical about being surrounded by so many old redwoods... so much greenery. We don’t see this sort of thing on the east coast. Highly recommend! We’ve hiked 6 days straight and this is my 2nd favorite trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely the best trail we hiked all week. Started early in the morning for our first hike through the redwoods. We were the only people on the trail until our return so it was very peaceful hike no outside sounds just the forest . I felt very humbled and blessed to walk among these majestic trees.

8 months ago

We hiked this trail on Thanksgiving Day. It's an easy to moderate hike, with beautiful, striking scenery. It took us just about three hours, with quite a bit of picture taking on the way in, and a pretty good pace coming out.

9 months ago

beautiful trail, immerses you right in the middle of the Redwood forest. Lots of roots on the trail, but I highly recommend this trail!

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely stunning trail...don't miss this one! The forest here was not dense, so the Redwoods clearly are the star. Really stunning. My heart is longing to go back. Like the other reviews, this moderate trail was on the easy side. It shows 875 ft elevation gain but I didn’t really feel it as it was gradual. Stunning!

Load More

Featured Trails