Redwood National Park】Fern Canyon Half-Day Tour

Fern Canyon | Introduction

Fern Canyon is one of the major attractions in Redwood National Park. Redwood National Park is divided into several regions, with Fern Canyon being in the southern part of the park.Prairie Creek AreaFern Canyon is a canyon, the special thing is that the canyon is not surrounded by bare cliffs, but full of green ferns, walking in the canyon is very primitive jungle magical atmosphere. Because of this special scenery, Fern Canyon was the setting for the movie Jurassic Park.

Fern Canyon | Transportation

There are two ways to enter Fern Canyon, the easier way is to take the 101 highway to Elk Meadows Day Use Area and turn into Davidson Rd towards Gold Bluffs Beach. There are two things to keep in mind when taking this route, one is that during the summer vacation period (5/1-9/30) you need to make a reservation and have a permit to come in, because Fern Canyon is very popular and the line is usually months long. However, there are occasional cancellations, so there is always a chance to try. If you can't get a permit, another way to get to Fern Canyon is to take the James Irvine Trail west from Prairie Creek Visitor Center. This route is 5 miles long one way, so the round trip is 10 miles, which may take a day for normal people.

There is a gate to check the permit before driving into Gold Bluffs Beach. the road in Gold Bluffs Beach is a 7 miles unpaved road, although it doesn't look too long, but because of the poor road condition, you need to drive a bit slower. It took us about one and a half day to get in and out of Fern Canyon. In addition, there are a few places near the trailhead about 1 mile before the trailhead that pass through streams, and depending on the road and weather conditions, it may not be possible to wade in the water with a small car. If you are driving a car with a low chassis, you can park your car at the Day Use Area/campground parking lot near Gold Bluffs Beach and walk 1 mile in. The water was about 5 ft deep when we were there, and we had no problem getting into the water with our small car.

Fern Canyon Trail

After driving to the parking lot in front of the Trail head, the first section of the trail is a bit muddy, but you only need to walk 0.1 mile to get to Fern Canyon.Fern Canyon Trail starts from the bottom of Fern Canyon and circles around back to the original point, which is only about 1 mile away.

At the beginning of the entrance, there are some small wooden bridges on the ground. At this point, we are already at the bottom of the canyon, and the mountain walls on both sides are full of green ferns, which gives us the feeling of walking in a primitive jungle. There are often fallen trees on the way, so you have to climb over these obstacles a little bit.

The further you go, the more you have to climb, and in the middle of the trail, it starts to feel like an adventure, which is quite fun. However, after this point, normal hiking shoes will not work, and you will be walking in the water almost all the time. If you come to Fern Canyon, you'd better bring shoes that can wade through water (e.g.KeenSomething like that would be fine). If you only want to walk the first 1/4 of the trail, waterproof hiking shoes will do, and the middle 1/4 will require hiking up the stream. At the end of the trail, you will see a trail on the left that goes up the wall.

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Most of the people would not wade into the water, so there were few people on the trail after going up the mountain, which made it much quieter. The forest on the mountain is quite dense, and there are still many ferns growing on the tree trunks, so the scenery is different from the redwood forests in other popular tourist spots.

From this section of the trail, you can connect to the James Irvine Trail and Coastal Trail, and when you are walking to the end of the trail, you can see the bottom of the canyon on the overlook, and when you look at the wading route you just climbed through, it seems that it is not too hard.

Gold Bluffs Beach

If you want to see the ocean view or walk on the beach, there is actually a Day Use Area at Gold Bluffs Beach in front of Fern Canyon where you can play in the water. There is also a campground here. We came in to take a look and this campground is quite big. This place is called Gold Bluffs because in 1850, there was a small gold rush here. It is said that gold was found in the sand, which attracted some gold seekers, but it is said that only a few of them succeeded in finding the metal in the end.

Further reading

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