What? : Fern Canyon is
a quarter of a mile long canyon where the 50-foot high canyon walls are
completely covered by ferns and are dripping with moisture. The Canyon is
located at the ocean front of the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt
County. Fern Canyon was chosen as a location for filming Jurassic Park 2: The
This location is part of my "Redwood Parks at Northern California Coastline" road-trip suggestions and trip planner blog.
When? : Year round
visit. Summer temperatures range from 40 to 75F, but are cooler along the
coast. Morning and evening fog is common. Winter brings chillier 35 - 55F days.
Prepare for rain from November to May.
Due note 1: Dogs are
prohibited in Fern Canyon and on all trails within Prairie Creek Redwoods State
Park. Dogs are allowed on the beach and in campgrounds.
Due note 2: Davison Road
is narrow and limited to vehicles with a maximum length of 24 feet and width of
8 feet. No trailers are allowed.
Due note 3: Before your
visit, check for road and trail conditions throughout Redwood National and
State Parks visitor centers or on the park website at:www.nps.gov/redw
Due note 4: Gold Bluffs
Beach Campground is a large campground right on the ocean beach near the Fern Canyon.
Order your campground in advance because this is very popular campground.
Due note 5: Prairie Creek
Redwoods State Park is part several others redwood state and National parks
that stretch up at the Northern California's coast and protect the
remaining of the old growth Redwoods trees.
My thoughts: One of the
most rewording hikes I did in this area, easy, short, and amazing canyon covered
by fern. Although this hike is in the redwood park there aren’t any impressive
redwoods over here. You can connect this short hike to a much longer day hike
from the park main visitor center, see The James Irvine and Miners’ Ridge loop
at this blog.
Fern Canyon located
in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California Humboldt
County. The Park is managed in cooperation with other nearby redwoods state
parks and Redwood National Park. Fern Canyon is named and famous for the ferns
growing and covering the 50-foot-high canyon walls, through which runs Home
Spielberg chose this canyon as a location for some of the scenes in his movie “Jurassic
Park 2: The Lost World”.
Detailed driving descriptions:
miles north of Eureka on highway 101, from the small town Orick drive 2.8 miles
north on 101, take left turn into Elk Meadow (3.5 miles south of Prairie Creek
Visitor Center). Keep driving west onto a forest dirt road, from here 9 miles
Davison Rd. will take you west. This gravel road cross the shoreline hills to
the park ocean front.
Shortly after reaching
the ocean front, you will pay entering fee at the park kiosk.
along the shoreline, pass the campground on your left. Here the road cross
several shallow water streams (do-able by a regular car crossing) and keep
driving until you will reach the Fern Canyon parking lot at the end of the
parking lot trailhead hike ¼ mile north to the starting point of the canyon
Here you will
find that Home Creek has running water year-round so you will need to cross the
shallow stream by foot.
months, foot bridges are installed over the creek to make this trail easier
without the need to get your foot into the water. In any case plan to get your shoes
section of the trail of about half a mile long follows Home Creek as it courses
through the 50-80 feet deep canyon. The vertical walls covered with an amazing carpet
of green ferns and other moisture-loving plants and mosses.
The narrow canyon
is canopied by overhanging trees and vegetation from the above cliffs.
You can hike
into the canyon all the way to it end, this section is around ¼ of a mile long,
and back on the same way or continue hiking the trail that climbs out of the
If you decided
to do the loop trail, at the top of the short climb, turn left to return to the
canyon starting point above the canyon rim. Short forest hike above the canyon will
bring you back above the starting point, here you will take the trail down to
the canyon opening.
Another hiking option:
Fern Canyon can
be reached by a moderate five-mile hike on the highly recommended James Irvine
Trail. Beginning at the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park visitor center the
trail crosses Murrelet State Wilderness and it lashes Redwood Forest.
If you can
leave one car at the parking lot and one car at the main visitor center this
will be one way hike, else you will need to hike back to your starting point,
this will be 12 miles loop hike.