For a limited time only, save 30% on a year of AllTrails Pro!
Get Started
Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Russian Gulch Fern Canyon and Waterfall Trail Loop

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(167)
Russian Gulch State Park

Russian Gulch Fern Canyon and Waterfall Trail Loop is a 6.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mendocino, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 6.2 mi Elevation gain 567 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

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

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (167)
Photos (439)
Recordings (140)
Completed (373)
Derek Pierson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

Tons of shade and lots of space to walk and see the environment around you. I’m a beginner and it’s long but not difficult. The waterfall and scenery throughout was well worth it. Will definitely hike this again.

Gretel .
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking

Entrance fee. Bathroom available. Took the north trail since the other side was closed. We made our way back using the north perimeter boarder trail. It was ok. Not as nice as going back inside the forest. Although the waterfall was small it was still a nice treat after the long walk. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable hike with lots of shade.

Sam Hendryx
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

The easier loop was closed when I went, so we had to take the longer loop. It was a little more intermediate, but enjoyable. The falls at the end is worth the hike. It was a really great hike.

Diane Scott
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

Great trail for nature lovers. Some steep terrain good exercise but not for folks who struggle. It is located inside the state park so park outside and walk in or prepare to pay $10 for day use. Waterfall is amazing. Dress is layers because it can be hot or chilly depending on tree cover.

Jonny Tindall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
HikingGreat!Washed out

A new favorite along the Mendocino Coast. Part of the trail is closed at current, alleviating an existing one-mile shortcut. Not a big deal. All of the series of trails around the waterfall at Russian Gulch are beautiful places to observe wildlife, from bugs to bucks. The North Boundary trail is also a nice, long, straight hill climb. Found myself wanting to loop through all of the trails twice, just to make sure I saw everything they had to offer. Worth the visit and the park staff were super kind too!

Victoria Whitehill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 30, 2020
Hiking

Fern canyon was closed so I did the North trail to the waterfall trail out to the waterfall and back.

View Victoria's Recording
Ava Mortier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 26, 2020
HikingClosed

When I went today (6/25) to hike Fern Canyon Trail, I found out the first part of the trail is currently CLOSED (sign said until November) for construction work. I took North Trail to where it meets the last .7 miles of Fern Canyon Trail instead for a slightly longer overall trip (7.5 miles) to still make it to waterfall! Would recommend.

Tip Lovingood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2020
HikingMuddy
View Tip's Recording
Ashlie Robinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2020
Hiking

This was such a fun hike. My favorite by far in the area. We did have quiet a bit of mud to trek through and had to climb over a couple of trees at one point in the trail but that added to the fun. I don’t recommend this hike for kids.

Roneisha Roberts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 25, 2020
HikingMuddy

Great hike with beautiful scenery. Peaceful out on the trail with lots of greenery and babbling brooks. The trail starts out paved and turns to dirt. There are some muddy spots to try and get around this time of year so wear shoes that are waterproof or you don’t mind getting dirty.

Joey Young
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 23, 2020
Hiking

I did the loop trail by adding on the North Trail on the way back for a change of scenery. It must have been about a five hour affair altogether, but it’s shady the entire time and elevation gain is very minimal. I did the trail on a Saturday and saw hardly any people except at the waterfall. The trail runs along a single track most of the way through consistent, lush, beautiful greenery. Lots of ferns, trees, and creek water nearby the whole time. Very quiet, no wildlife sightings. I can’t think of a single thing to complain about. I suppose the mud bear the beginning might be an issue for those with dainty feet, but I can’t imagine a forest hike getting any better than this one. A few bridges here and there, a little bit of up and down but nothing crazy. Dogs welcome. Something the whole family can enjoy.

B Sommer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 16, 2020
Hiking

First 2 miles on relatively flat tarmac with muddy spots along the way. Decided to take the fork in the road CCW and moderate to heavy traffic at the waterfall. Great views of vegetation and keep your eyes peeled for banana slugs! $8 parking fee, but since lot was full, we parked nearby and walked the mile to the trailhead for free.

View B's Recording
Jennifer de la Fonteijne-Barnett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 3, 2020
HikingMuddy

Great hike with beautiful views of greenery, ferns and redwoods. Just beware parts are muddy right now so wear proper shoes!

View Jennifer's Recording
Ruth C.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 28, 2019
Hiking

We did an extra loop to the falls. Nice relaxing hike

View Ruth's Recording
Tina Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 27, 2019
Hiking

Russian Gulch State Park is the best hike in Mendocino. Late morning on (Nov/24/2019), I went for 7 miles RT at Fern Canyon Trail so I can see waterfalls and woodlands. The hike was easy at first, about one mile with tar road,( if I have a bike, will safe me sometime). Hiking up another mile,with Green Ferns and mushrooms everywhere,(so living). My next mile,was along with the creek, the sound of the creek and runoff likes Mother Nature singing to my ears. The next half mile, trail gets a little switch back, up hill, narrow,and muggy, but it still very green and pretty. Last half mile take you to the waterfall. it is steep, rocky and wet, (hiking boots should be better). I was a little bit late, not much water flowing but still enough to got my feet wet. ( I love to dance with the waterfalls). I took the loop on the way out, more up, ups,and a little longer distance, but I’m able to hike in the meadow. See a lot of tall trees, some new trees are growing on the death tree,(it gives me sigh of NEVER GIVE UP) If you get out the same way you were in,( your legs will thank you later). I will come back to his park again for different hike.

David Dix
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 24, 2019
HikingFeeMuddy
View David's Recording
Stacy Pua
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 23, 2019
HikingFeeMuddy

Waterfall was nice!

View Stacy's Recording
Jerzy & Magda Klosin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2019
Hiking

This is truly glorious trail - the best We’ve ever experienced! On our way back we used North trail - this way we didn’t have to repeat the same trail

Christoff Michael K.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful waterfall !!! You have to pay $7 @ the entrance and lots of parking space. Tall redwood trees

Donna Eckert
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2019
Hiking

We enjoyed the hike very much. The first part of the lollipop (before the loop) is paved for bike traffic. It is lovely, but I enjoyed the loop part even more because of the trees. The waterfall was lovely! And I likeed that the trail to you to the both the bottom and top of the falls. There were some muddy patches, but nothing to deter you. If I had to do it again I would have brought a picnic to eat at the falls.

China Rider
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2019
Hiking

Very enjoyable hike out to the waterfall and back. You amble through lush greenery, including lots of berry bushes, alongside the creek. There is a short climb of a few hundred feet that adds a nice but easy workout to the mix. The newer trees growing out of the stumps of fallen giants was a particular highlight.

Scott Beverlin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 8, 2019
Hiking

Nice hike ... clear Trail some parts still a little muddy..incline last .7 mile to waterfall but beautiful once there... we did full loop and a little more incline but then easy decent back to fern trail.. will explore more hikes here.

Cindy F
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 22, 2019
HikingMuddy

Nice foliage on trail but muddy at times. Not crowded (June). No dogs allowed but most of trail allowed bicycles. Some elevation changes but nothing too strenuous.

Laurin Muller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2019
Hiking

It’s a beautiful waterfall.

Aaron Meyers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2019
HikingMuddy

The hike to Russian Gulch falls was gorgeous today! It started out a little muddy, which actually surprised me given it hasn’t rained too much. If I had brought my hiking shoes I wouldn’t have thought twice but I left them at home and the sneakers go wet the second they hit anything with water. There were a few spots that were hard to avoid any mud, despite the trail being partially paved. It was an easy 2.5 miles out to the fork at a moderate 16.5 min/mile pace, completely flat... though the app seems to say it was a very slight uphill for all of that (it didn’t seem that way). I noticed a few small patches of poison oak along the way so I was careful while we had to avoid the mud that I didn’t land in a patch of poison. Departed the hike around 10:45 and arrived at the falls by 11:35. The sun was already high enough to splash lots of hot spots on the falls and foliage around. Along the trail we didn’t really see anyone but there were 4 other families at the falls when we got there. We opted for the left fork, the 0.7 mile quicker route to go straight to the falls, then continued on the loop, up the ridge and back around. We continued onto the North trail on the way back so we could mix it up. Beautiful along that home and avoids all the mud. It had a couple hundred feet of climbing but I’d call it quite easy - didn’t even break a sweat getting up. Most of the flowers on the trail are gone. There are no more rhododendrons on the lower trails. We saw a few at the higher elevations, especially on the North trail. I don’t expect they’ll last more than a few days... we saw lots of Rhodi petals on the ground. Really loved this trail and I may go back in the morning to photograph the falls with my real camera.

View Aaron's Recording
Michiel Callens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 27, 2019
HikingMuddy
View Michiel's Recording
Kathleen Ramos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 8, 2019
Hiking

I hiked Fern Canyon trail and Waterfall loop. Quite beautiful. If you’re out by yourself as I was, you become aware of the utter silence around you. It’s quite peaceful. I chose to follow the waterfall path to the left. It can be difficult in places because of the incline. I feel like it’s the better approach because you first see the waterfall full on rather than from the top. There is a wood bench where I sat for a bit to take it all in. I call it Contemplation Bench. The water is crystal clear and cold. A perfect beautiful spot! The way out moves away from the water somewhat and guides you through the silent forest.

Showing results 1 - 27 of 167