Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fern Canyon of Northern California

     Fern Canyon is located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.  And it just so happens that Prairie Creek is located within Redwood National Park.  I know, I know... it’s more than a little confusing.  But you’ll be able to find it- I promise!

     To get to Fern Canyon, travel about 2 miles north of Orick and then turn left at Davison Road.  You’ll continue on through Elk Meadow until you reach a dirt road.  Now, this is no ordinary dirt road.  It’s steep and bumpy.  4WD is recommended but not needed if you go slow enough.  I once did this drive with my Volkswagon Beetle, so I firmly believe that if the little bug could do it- any car can.

     This dirt road melts from the National Park into Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, so have your money ready when you reach the kiosk.  It’s 8.00 a car.  Continue on past Gold Bluff’s Beach for another 2 miles.  Depending on the season and how much rain the park has gotten, you are going to have to cross some deep streams in the road.  The SUVs can drive right through but the water is enough to make a small car hesitate.  But like I mentioned earlier, if my bug can do it.. any car can!

     Fern Canyon is an incredibly popular hike.  The parking lot will fill up quickly and stay busy all day long.  I would recommend exploring Fern Canyon early in the morning or on a weekday.  

     The Canyon has been carved by Home Creek, creating vertical walls completely covered in several different kinds of plants and mosses.  

     In certain places, water drips down constantly.

     Around every bend there is a new view waiting for you.  

     Here are a couple of fern-falls, as I like to call them:

     The water is perfectly clear and ice cold.  If you slow down and peer into the water, you’ll notice little fish swimming among the colorful rocks.

     Where the creek’s pebbled ground gives way to rushing water, there are foot bridges to help you across.  Don’t expect to get all the way through this hike without getting a little bit wet, though!

     Here is a view looking up through the top of the canyon to the sky.  Trees grow right on the edge of it.  Over time, many have fallen down into the canyon and have made this hike into a sort of obstacle course.

     This is one of those places that I like to refer to as a “time-warp”.  You start off on your hike and involuntarily lose track of time.  Before you know it, the minutes have turned into hours and you’re still immersed in exploring all the beauty.

     Fern Canyon is absolutely stunning.  If you’re visiting Redwood National Park then you must make a detour to admire this green paradise!  

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