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Fern Canyon Scenic Trail is a 8.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Little River, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 8.3 mi Elevation gain 826 ft Route type Loop

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Muddy

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (173)
Photos (263)
Recordings (116)
Completed (345)
Ken Caldeira
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Hiking
View Ken's Recording
Chris Morgenstern
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HikingGreat!

Amazing trip. Loved stopping off at the back country camping sites. We took a right at the fork. Definitely some elevation gain there, but a perfect way to get your blood pumping. We took the long way back after checking out the self guided pigmy forest boardwalk trail. Finished off at the ocean. A favorite of ours now.

View Chris's Recording
Gretel .
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingFeeMuddy

Múltiple bathrooms. Entrance fee. Super chill walk through the forest floor next to a stream. Lots of shade and beautiful sights. When you get to the loop if you make a right you’ll do the steeper yet quicker way up. To the left is a really slow but long incline up to the top. Muddy in a few spots but there’s small pieces of wood you can hop over.

Dustin & Tara N.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

We went on a Thursday and had the trail pretty much to ourselves. A few muddy spots to navigate. Made the full loop and added in the Pygmy Forest Boardwalk-totally worth it. We’re pretty sure we saw an American Mink on the trail ahead of us chasing a rabbit! It was the craziest thing I’ve seen! There is a sign that they’ve seen mountain lions in the area, but no luck on our trek. Will definitely do this one again.

Nayomee Maas
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Hiking

My favorite hike on the Mendocino coast

View Nayomee's Recording
Jonny Tindall
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HikingGreat!Muddy

One of my favorite shady trails in Northern California for years and I often find my way to Mendocino just for this trek. Easy hike, with a few steeper/challenging spots. Beautiful and cool the entire way.

Kristin Hills
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Hiking

Van Damme State Park has now opened this trail. I was there this last Saturday (5/23) and it was just perfect: shady trail along a creek and then just a touch of elevation at the loop. There are plentiful wildflowers, some left over mud puddles, and abundant butterflies/birds. A must!

B Sommer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 15, 2020
Hiking

Absolutely beautiful hike. Very mild beginning and moderate incline after the 3 miles of trailhead. Went CCW at the crossroad and recommend walking a bit further (0.1 mile) past the return/loop back sign post in Pygmy forest to see a fun boardwalk/maze into the various trees.

View B's Recording
Jan Alex
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HikingFloodedMuddy
View Jan's Recording
Jason Grove
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Hiking

great trial with beautiful scenery and plenty of shade to keep you cool.

China Rider
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Hiking

We parked near the Pygmy Trail head and hiked down into the canyon. The trail is easy. The environment is damp, lush and quiet. We saw few other hikers.

View China's Recording
Andrew Schmidt
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Hiking

Fast and easy. Nice trail, crisscrossing a few rivers. Lots of ferns. No real views. Beach across the street for a cool down afterward.

Johannes S.
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great trail but long if you do the loop back.

Robert Allen
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Hiking

A great representation of the good the CCC did during the Great Depression, this trail is a really enjoyable stroll along a winding river that leads out of the NorCal hills into the Pacific ocean. I'd love to come back and do a trail run here as the flag pole out to the loop is worn but relatively flat while the loop would be a great leg burner on the ascents. We really appreciated the micro-climate changes as we hiked inland and uphill.

Karan Chugh
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HikingBlowdownMuddyOff trailWashed out
View Karan's Recording
Brandon Baize
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Hiking

Went after a storm so a few branches on trail, awesome Forrest views great trail path. Must do if your on the coast.

View Brandon's Recording
Jackie Paisal
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Hiking

Gorgeous hike through the forest. There are NO ocean views despite the photos here, so please keep that in mind. It was beautiful anyway and we were almost the only ones hiking on a Saturday.

Kami Davis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2018
Hiking

Fern Canyon Trail is by FAR, THE MOST beautiful forest I have ever had the pleasure of walking through. Breathtaking and magical are the words to describe these enchanted woods. I’ve gone twice, one on a clear sunny day and the other when foggy and rainy. Hands down it was so mystical being there in the fog and light rain. I was waiting for a fairy to jump out at me from out of the mist! Nothing short of a mystical fairytale awaits you when visiting this dreamlike forest!

Morgan Lemos
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Fabulous walk through the coastal woods of Little River. Worth the trip! We started at the coast (free parking) then walked through the campground to the trailhead. After walking to the first Y in the trail, we chose to hike the 1.2 miles to the Pygmy Forest, this incline was pretty steep. After viewing the Pygmy Forest - which is too cool! - we walked the 2.3 miles back which was much more gradual. There are 20 beautiful bridges to cross over creek.

Tom Knowles
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Backpacking

So the website will tell you the trail is closed but it is not. When I finally reached a real person at the park I informed them that the website was incorrect. They didn’t seem concerned. Subsequently the backcountry camp was empty. It is beautiful. Like camping on Endor. The hiking is easy but cool and shady. We flew a small plane to Little River airport and hiked in from the Pygmy forest. I recommend parking at the top parking lot and you can avoid the inept state employees. They will never know you are there because they don’t leave the main campground on Hwy 1. We made a day hike to the beach while leaving our camp set up. Camp number 4 is the best. Nice fire pit and table and lots of interesting forest all around. Also don’t miss the blow hole located behind the little river cemetery. It is amazing and you can climb down inside using ropes!

Jay Samarov
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Loved the trail. Quite easy though. I preferred the north trail next to it.

N G
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such a pretty hike with lots of colorful mushrooms :)

Gil Sisneros
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Running

Ran the trail from the Little River Inn on Friday, February 17 at 7am. Wow, amazing foliage that includes towering Redwoods and the gateway to possibly fern heaven. I have never seen so many ferns of all shapes and sizes. But wait there’s more. A gorgeous creek with boulders accompanies you the entire journey as you meander through the canyon. Finally, you will encounter at least eight bridges each individually numbered as the trail crosses over the creek numerous occasions adding to the experience. I will definitely return and highly recommend this trail. A botanist’s delight.

Matt Belben
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Backpacking

Very cool trail, I'd rate it above the Russian Gulch fern canyon and below the Prairie Creek fern canyon, though it has the advantage of the pygmy forest and the backcountry campsites out there. If you're planning on staying at the park I'd recommend checking those out if you have the backpacking gear - two miles out from the trailhead, $25/night (compared to $40/night at the campground), trash cans, picnic tables and fire rings, questionable pit toilets...

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