Fern Canyon Loop Trail
The Fern Canyon Loop Trail boasts one of the most unique hiking experiences in the state. This magical adventure through the Redwood National and State Parks guides eager adventures along the Home Creek bed through a narrow canyon, bounded by walls of lush ferns. There is truly no other scene quite like Fern Canyon—this surreal trail is a must-add to your hiking itinerary.
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Route Description for Fern Canyon Loop Trail
The Fern Canyon Loop Hike boasts a surreal experience, traveling amongst towering walls cloaked with vibrant ferns. Due to the area’s beauty and rarity, this is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike—so expect to share the trail. We encourage you to head out in the early morning as the trailhead parking lot usually fills by 10 AM! If you are slow-moving, no worries, but you may have to wait at the gate to get in. The Fern Canyon Loop Trail gives those who want to wander along the creek bed a chance to do so for an immersive experience. If you choose to do this, be prepared to do some wading through ankle-deep waters—but it's completely worth it, in our opinion. Note: this trail is located in a day-use area, so a fee of $8USD is required.
This scenic trail offers a sensory experience, boasting fresh smells, soundproof walls, water wading, stunning scenes, and more—the Fern Canyon Loop Trail checks all the boxes. Used as a filming location for the 1997 film—The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the primordial ambiance of the verdant valley is unparalleled. A cornucopia of diverse flora and fauna, you may notice frogs, salamanders, monkey flowers, American dippers and more as you venture this amazing route. Though busy, the beauty and wonderment of this hike are well worth it. Don’t forget your camera—you'll regret not taking photos of this enchanting environment.
Your adventure along the Fern Canyon Loop Trail begins from the trailhead off Davison Road. Setting out from here, you will track north along the Fern Canyon Trail. This segment of the route will guide you alongside bluffs on your right hand side and the coastal meadows offering views of the ocean on your left. As you hike further along this route, the trail will become increasingly forested by lush vegetation. Note the terrain may be boggy in this area. Soon you will be diverted over a small footbridge, crossing over Home Creek. At this point, you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of the lush canyon that stretches eastwardly. Roll up your pant legs; you’re about to do some wading!
Hike the Fern Canyon trail along the creek bed, leading you amongst the fern blanketed walls that form the corridor. If the water is low, you can persist along the valley floor and reconnect with the route later, but the Fern Canyon Trail diverts southward, climbing up the valley walls. As there are no railings, it is important to be mindful of your footing on the delicate terrain. Soon you will reach an overlook of the canyon—admire the natural beauty and the uniqueness of this impressive geological feature. From here, the path will again descend into the valley, affording you yet another opportunity to get your feet wet!
After exploring the canyon’s flooded floor and marveling in the 50ft fern walls, continue your adventure by tracking east to the James Irvin Connector Trailhead. This section of trail will guide you up along a winding path and up a staircase. You will then encounter another wonderful overlook of the canyon before heading northwest through mixed forestlands and meadowlands by way of boardwalks. After the boardwalk, you will begin a downgrade back towards the canyon. Here, you will reconnect with the Fern Canyon Trail. Wander this path south, retracing your steps all the way back to the trailhead.
Fern Canyon is one of the most incredible places in the country. Located within the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt Country, California. Named due to the lush ferns that grow on the 50ft walls that bound the canyon, through which runs Home Creek. The ambient valley was used as a local for filming the 1997 film—The Lost World: Jurassic Park. This beautiful canyon is recognized as a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the Fern Canyon Loop Trail?
The Fern Canyon Loop Trail is a 1.8 km hike in Redwoods State Park.
Do you need a permit to hike the Fern Canyon Loop Trail?
No, you do not need a permit to hike the Fern Canyon Loop Trail, but visitors are required to pay an $8USD day-use fee.
What should I wear in Fern Canyon?
Though there are footbridges, you may still get your feet wet, so wear a pair of waterproof shoes with good traction and consider bringing an extra pair of shoes for after your hike.
Insider Hints for Fern Canyon Loop Trail
- Wear waterproof footwear
- The trailhead car park is usually full by 10 AM, so make sure to head out early
- The dirt road to the trailhead is not suitable for large, recreational vehicles
- Do not go near, or disturb the Roosevelt Elk, they can be aggressive
Getting to the Fern Canyon Loop Trail Trailhead
Access the Fern Canyon Loop Trailhead from the Fern Canyon Car Park off Davison Road.
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