Fern Canyon Scenic Trail

MODERATE 125 reviews

Fern Canyon Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately 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.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 826 feet Route Type: Loop

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

no dogs

hiking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

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

5 months ago

great trail but long if you do the loop back.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
off trail
washed out
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

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

hiking
Fri Nov 02 2018

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.

hiking
Wed Oct 10 2018

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!

Mon Sep 03 2018

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.

backpacking
Tue Jul 10 2018

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!

Wed May 02 2018

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

Wed Feb 21 2018

such a pretty hike with lots of colorful mushrooms :)

running
Sat Feb 17 2018

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.

backpacking
Sat Nov 18 2017

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...

hiking
Thu Sep 07 2017

This is a great trail

Mon Jul 10 2017

Love the Fern trail beautiful and a good incline to get the blood pumping

Thu Jun 01 2017

trailhead and back took 3.5 hours with lunch at the waterfall included. great hike with an awesome campground!

hiking
Sat Dec 10 2016

I've taken this exceptional walk many times. One more important than all the others combined. Many years ago when I fell in Love with the most wonderful person I've ever met in my life, Vickie! Unfortunately I managed to screw things up a few years later and lost this person. The moment will always be one of my most precious memories. The beauty, atmosphere and wonder all set a magical moment.

hiking
Tue Dec 06 2016

It was a really fun hike on a trail with a ton of great views. We decided to walk the entire trail, and it was a lot of fun. We ate lunch on the trail, but at a nice pace it still took us a little over 4 hours to walk. Keep that in mind if you get there late. Bathrooms are also located throughout the trail, which was nice. All in all, it was tons of fun, and I'd love to go back and walk it again.

Sat Oct 08 2016

Amazing hike through an ancient forest. Very thick and lush, was a little creepy at times :)

Wed Aug 31 2016

I parked just outside the gate and walked in so I didn't have to pay the 6 bucks to park. I had a great day and took my time.

hiking
Sat Aug 20 2016

We walked along the boardwalk through the Pygmy Forest and then hiked along Fern Canyon trail (2.3 miles) & then back by way of the Old Logging Road trail (1.2 miles) = 3.5 miles total. There is free parking at the Pygmy Forest trailhead off of Little River Rd. The Fern Canyon trail is a beautiful walk through an old forest. There were so many old massive trees that had been burnt down. It was amazing to see how big they once were and how old they are. There are a few bridges along the trail and a small waterfall - that would probably be pretty nice in the spring.

Thu Aug 04 2016

Nicely shaded complete with gurgling brook. Not very trafficked, though the height of the season. Would love to do this again in a light rain with the ferns glistening...

hiking
Mon Aug 01 2016

It was a beautiful, peaceful 3+ hour hike. Got there about 9:30am on a Sunday and there was hardly anyone else on the trail. It was lovely.

Sun Jun 12 2016

This hike was everything I expected. Beautiful. The weather was perfect with this shaded hike. The trail crosses over the creek many times and has many well maintained and quaint bridges. The trees are stunning with the ground covered in ferns and green shrubbery. The hike is actually 8.5 miles if you do the whole loop and worth every inch of mile.

hiking
Wed May 25 2016

Beautifully built and maintained trail with steps, bridges and wayside markings. Walk along the Little River with plenty of ferns, old and new growth trees, wildflowers and small waterfalls. We loved this trail.

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