Miner's Ridge and James Irvine Trail Loop is a 10.7 mile loop trail located near Orick, California that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult offers a number of activity options.
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.
One of the best, if not the best, in the park. The only negative is the coastal road you have to walk on but even that is beautiful especially with the road being closed. I only came across 2 other hikers all day and they were contemplating whether to cross a pretty large stream across the road that I had just waded through. It was cold and wading through Fern Canyon with my lab was a blast. There are some great trees in this portion of the park and Fern Canyon is the gem of the park. The only reason the trail is and should be rated difficult is the sheer distance of the hike and I added another 2.8m to it. There really aren't any real steep or difficult climbs. When I left my car it was in the high 30's but got a little warmer but my feet were still numb for 10 minutes or so coming out of Fern Canyon but Altra running shoes and Darn Tough socks did their job well. The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 is the absolute best trail shoe I've ever worn and grip and drain extremely well. Highly recommend them and this trail. So far only Rhododendron can rival it...
Started at the Miner's Ridge trail and hiked back up to the ranger station on the James Irvine trail which was a total of 11.7 miles. This trail is not nearly as strenuous as it may seem, it's length just takes up a lot of time if taking frequent breaks for pictures, food, rest, etc. Worth every minute though as it was a true adventure. From a recent storm passing through, multiple trees had fallen on different parts of the trail. Not just small easily walked around trees but massive redwoods which at one point completely blocked the trail. This required walking up hill over large splintered pieces of wood to find where the trail resumed again. The streams cutting across the unpaved road to Fern canyon were flooded and a massive mud slide cut across this road as well so being able to maneuver around these obstacles was necessary. All in all, this trail was incredibly satisfying and exploring it is a must for anyone looking for a true adventure.
I worked as a park ranger at Redwood National Park and this easily became one of my favorite trails. A wonderful opportunity to see the redwoods, potentially wildlife, and Fern Canyon, one of the most beautiful areas of the park. Trails will be relatively empty except for Fern Canyon. I can't wait to get the chance to take some of my friends on this trail to explore the beauty of the Redwoods!
Had a beautiful day hiking this trail from the Prairie park hq. We did the loop out Miners Ridge to the Gold Bluffs Beach and north to return by James Irvine trail.
We got lost after miners ridge ended at beach road and bushwhacked across prairie grass and dunes to the beach. Also missed connection back to the Fern Canyon trail from the beach. Outside of that the trail was very well marked.
The changing landscapes from Redwoods to the beach keep it interesting. Old growth like whoa! Majestic. Looking forward to doing this one again!
Amazing trail. I would do it again in a heartbeat
Enjoyed this hike with my family (we did the James Irvine loop). I actually like the James Irvine trail a little more. Great hike and wonderful views.
As others have pointed out, great hike. The redwoods are 2,000 years old and breath taking. I had 3 of my kids with me and they also enjoyed. Not a lot of elevation gain which was nice after some of our recent hikes.
Great trip!! Kind of a short hike for me but overall amazing. The old growth is great and the coast is scenic. Would recommend for sure
Started in Prairie Creek Campground and took the James Irvine to the Fern Canyon loop. Stopping at the ocean was a nice midway break to cool off and have a snack.
We did this as part of the Miner Ridge Trail. We started at the Prairie Elk Campground and it took us about 5 hours. It ended up being about 13 miles total, we took a turn that lead us over to Fern Canyon without going down to the beach. We had a lot of fun but it can be a strenuous trail. That is not to say that you shouldn't do it. You just need to allot plenty of time for breaks and sightseeing. And finally watch out for the Elk! A very large bull male stopped us on the return hike. He was grazing on the trail and although he didn't seem interested in us, we were very interested in not getting attacked since we were so exhausted at that point. Would definitely do it again if it wasn't for the 6 hour drive to get there. One day is not enough. Great place to spend a week especially if you have kids.
This was such a beautiful trail! We started around 9:30 am and hiked to Fern Canyon, walked towards the parking lot to see the ocean, then headed back on the James Irvine trail. We stopped for lunch on the bridge with two chairs. If you look off towards the side with the chairs, there's a very small waterfall down below. We got to Fern Canyon around 11:30. It was very busy, but mostly from people who parked nearby and didn't hike to it. We went on the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but the trail itself was still quiet. On the way to Fern Canyon, we only passed 2-3 groups of hikers. On the way back, we saw more hikers but it still wasn't that busy. This hike was perfect. It was mostly in the shade, was extraordinarily beautiful, and had the perfect combination of small rolling hills. Would be very nice to trail run, but it's more like 10 miles from the trailhead to Fern Canyon and back. It took us 4.5 hours including a lunch break.
Fantastic on the out and back, but the Fern Canyon loop in the middle was a bit hectic on the holiday weekend. mostly way deader than any bay area parks or Muir Woods on a holiday. Still a pinch of mud out there in late may.