Miner's Ridge and James Irvine Trail Loop

HARD 157 reviews

Miner's Ridge and James Irvine Trail Loop is a 12.4 mile loop trail located near Orick, California that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult and offers a number of activity options.

DISTANCE
12.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,545 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

views

wildlife

no dogs

Beautiful loop from Prairie Creek Visitor Center down to the beach along a ridge, then about a mile along the beach before heading back through Fern Canyon and up a couple of small river valleys and a saddle. From the visitor center follow the James Irvine trail for about 3/4 mile until the Miner's Ridge trail. It begins quite straight and level, alongside a small stream and through a relatively sunny valley with no large redwoods at first, not until a mile or so when it turns up a side canyon and starts to climb the hillside. Then the trees grow large, the sunlight decreases and the surroundings take on a more mysterious aspect - this is a particularly dense, Tolkienesque part of the forest. The path winds around side canyons and up some steep slopes then after about 2 miles leaves the valley and crosses a more open area, later descending into another valley and finally meeting the scenic parkway. The scenery is monotonous in some ways but always impressive. You can walk along the beach or take the inland dirt road for about a mile north until you hit the trailhead for Fern Canyon/James Irvine trail.

hiking
21 days ago

What a lovely hike. The trees are so tall, it’s really a must see! I thought the ferns along the James Irvine trail were much prettier than the scenery in Fern Canyon. So if you decide to turn around before you make it to the canyon, you won’t be missing anything. Very few people on the trail, lots of solitude. Well maintained and marked. The only thing strenuous about this hike is the distance. There is very little elevation change.

hiking
1 month ago

My absolute favorite trail. Even tho I thought my legs might fall off before we reached the end... I didn’t want it to end. Expect to spend 4-6 hours. Took us 5 and we are moderately fit for winos. I could stay lost in the beauty of this trail for days on end and never tire of it.

1 month ago

Perhaps my favorite dayhike in the world.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail, loved all the ferns. I definitely don’t think it is “hard”. Maybe if you are not a regular hiker or if you’re not in good shape it could be hard. I think you only gain about 500 ft or so. Best trail to get deep in the forest!

hiking
1 month ago

Stunning hike. Like stepping into a time before time. Prepare to be moved with reverence and awe at the glory of the ancient forest.

Bring waders or waterproof boots for the fern canyon, unless you like wet feet. Bring lunch and eat on the beach! What a beautiful sequence to go from woods to the sea and back to the woods.

Not too vertically challenging. Finished in 3 hours 50 minutes. Can be done fast if you want. Or take your time and really soak up the beauty. Either way, don’t miss this one.

3 months ago

great trail! loved it!

hiking
3 months ago

A very nice walk with amazing big Coastal Redwoods and then Fern Canyon- be prepared for water crossings. Then beach and back up into the old growth forest- just magical. We would rate this moderate only- the trail is excellent. Fern Canyon is slow going with the stream and multiple crisscrossing but great. 20 kms all up and 4 hours 43 minutes. A really lovely day out. So peaceful. Highly recommend.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike through spectacular redwoods. We started at prairie creek visitor center and headed toward fern canyon, which is a site to see in itself. Prepare for wet shoes if you decide to go through fern canyon instead of straight to the trail base. You’re basically walking through a creek surrounded by fern covered walls. From there we headed across the beach to the start of miners trail back toward prairie creek visitor center. Overall it took us about 6 hours to finish, which includes stopping to eat lunch and stopping for many pictures. Would definitely recommend for someone up for some adventure

hiking
4 months ago

Excellent trail condition with amazing views. Unique in that one sees so many different environments between old growth groves and the beach.

5 months ago

Very long trail (22km) but beautiful!!!!

hiking
5 months ago

An easy-to-moderate hike that takes in the redwoods and coast all in the swoop. Fern Canyon was the highlight and a great place to stop for lunch halfway, although it was fairly crowded because the site is accessible by road. There is some uphill hiking but all very doable if you are relatively fit, took me about 5.5 hours to do the entire loop. I sadly had only one day in Redwood State and National Parks, and I felt this was a great hike to see a bit of everything!

Only advice is when you are walking on the beach, there are no good landmarks to indicate when to turn inland. I downloaded the area on Google Maps on my phone and used my GPS to know when to turn (both Fern Canyon and the campground are on Google Maps).

6 months ago

Absolutely stunning. True moderate hike. Give yourself more time than you think you need, though...you’ll wand to be able to really soak in the sights along this loop.

hiking
6 months ago

We did it in about 6 hours with an 11 and 15 yr old. Definitely doable but its a long trail and some challenging vertical especially after 10 miles of hiking ... so bring food and hydration. The description doesnt do the beach leg justice. We did the Irvine leg first, exiting Fern Canyon to the beach and hiking south along/in the water for 1 mile to the Miner Ridge trail head. There is a campground near the Miner entrance with nice bathrooms and even a shower. Wish we started earlier, took lunch and swim suits maybe and hung out on the beach longer, we only spent about 30 mins. This is gorgeous California coastline. Walked left (north) out of campground on dirt road to the gated tsunami escape road back on to trail.

hiking
6 months ago

Great Hike! You will experience The Redwoods, High up Ocean-views, Prairie, Marsh , Fern Canyon named because of ferns growing on the 50-foot high walls, through which runs Home Creek (Fern Canyon recognized as a World Heritage site and an International Biosphere Reserve)and The Ocean ..... We seen Roosevelt Elk (Largest species of Elk family) it was amazing with his brown velvet giant antlers . You have to look closely because when they a feeding they blend with the tree branches...It took us about 8 hours to hike back to car, we took our time for picnic and sauntering

6 months ago

Beautiful hike, I split it for two days to really enjoy both parts separately. It really gives you a variety of different forests!

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful long hike through lots of different types of wilderness. The two stretches on Miners Ridge and James Irvine are the best parts.. hiking through the redwoods. There are a few steep sections, but they are fairly short. Fern Canyon was really neat, but they didn’t have the foot bridges up yet by late June, so your feet will get really wet if you try to go in too far, which is too bad. It would’ve been neat to see the entire thing. We ate lunch on the beach but opted not to hike it so we wouldn’t miss the turn in at Fern Canyon.

7 months ago

Solid! A little crowded.

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely recommend if you have a full day at Redwood. Gives you a full experience of the park, from giant redwoods to the coast. Mostly shaded hike (except coast part). If you decide to hike the beach part close to the water, it’s easy to miss the campground. We accidentally walked an extra mile— but the coastal views made it worth it. Start early and you’ll have the whole trail and foggy forest to yourself. Be ready to walk across makeshift bridges at fern canyon (or get your feet wet). Super fun trail!

7 months ago

This is a long trail that has a lot to enjoy. My guess is that this is rated hard due to the distance, not the technical difficulty of the trail. There are definitely some uphill parts but they're gradual. It is very secluded until you reach Fern Canyon. Fern Canyon is a huge draw, families and kids everywhere. But sooo beautiful that is worth the crowds. I highly recommend this trail to anyone who is interested in a 6 hour hike.

hiking
8 months ago

What a beautiful hike, I went the full loop with my cousin and mother and it was a blast. Tons of wildlife, trees, and adventures await anyone who might be looking to do this hike! I vlogged the whole thing, you can check it out on youtube! --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGjE49vslpU

8 months ago

love this park , every trail here is a blast !! can go wrong ,...this one is a great overall coastal redwood experience.. easy miles too , for most ,not a ton of elevation change , ground is soft , contours well and amazing views , so miles roll by ...

trail running
8 months ago

Ran this loop with a couple friends. We were not fast because we had to keep stopping to soak in the stunning scenery. Beautiful loop!

hiking
8 months ago

Great long trail thought the trees. Pretty quiet, most of the people I ran into were on the beach or in fern canyon. Bring sandals for fern canyon, I went barefoot through the water and it worked out. Hard to make good time because I always had to stop to look around.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail with some of the tallest redwoods. Best part of the trail was Fern Canyon. It was fun to traverse through the fallen trees while crossing the canyon. I’d recommend waterproof shoes for this part of the trail.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, I wouldn’t consider this a hard hike, if you did it as a day hike like I did maybe it could be rated as hard but, regardless it was amazing and seemed fairly easy

backpacking
8 months ago

Backpacked this trail on 5/6-5/7, we actually took Miner's Ridge to Gold Bluffs beach about 5 miles in 5 out. Very gorgeous trail. Lots to see every corner you turn, i actually backpacked to Elam Camp via Orick Horse Trail the same day 8 mile out, even tho i was tired i still enjoyed the hike. Being able to have a change of scenery from the mountains to the beach was very soothing, the beach and ocean was phenomenal especially during sunset. There is also a herd of elk there so becareful.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail! Great deal of bees however and I was stung on the trail. Would absolutely hike it again.

hiking
9 months ago

great long hike loved fern canyon nothing like it do bring waterproof boots or water shoes or just take off your shoes to not get your socks wet also walking stick helps while crossing the logs over the creek in the canyon

trail running
9 months ago

The James Irvine - Miner's Ridge loop is great for trail running (or hiking). Approximately 10 miles total. If you enter at Park Headquarters, there's no fee. If you enter at the Fern Canyon, there's a $5 vehicle fee. From Headquarters, hop off the James Irvine to Miner's Ridge for some really fun downhill running, and then you have a little less climbing on James Irvine back to the start. There is no drinking water available once you leave Headquarters, so be sure to pack accordingly. Also, depending on the season, if the creek is running high through Fern Canyon, you're going to get wet feet.

One of my absolute favorite places to run.

9 months ago

Long but totally worth it. What a magical expenditure!

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