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Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
42 posts
Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

Hi,

My group is planning to do the Miner's ridge and James Irvine trail through the Gold Bluff's Beach and Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek State Park.

Is there a chance that our feet will stay dry through the hike? We do not want to be caught with wet shoes during a 12 mile hike. Anyone know how much water is there at this time?

Any suggestions for other good hikes (~5-6 miles) in the parks in these areas?

Thank you

Edited: 8:13 pm, January 16, 2013
Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
6,598 posts
22 reviews
1. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

"Anyone know how much water is there at this time?"

Are you asking about trail conditions this month? If so, you should call the Visitor Center:

707-465-7354

Usually, there's boards set up to hike into the canyon to keep your feet dry in the summer but winter is quite different.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
13,351 posts
95 reviews
2. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

I'd plan on the feet getting wet.

Eureka, California
Level Contributor
484 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

Hi LuckyWorldTraveller

When I hike the trails in Prairie Creek State Park I can get away with non gore tex from late June till the middle of October but I hate wet shoes so I almost always wear light weight gore tex hikers. The redwood forest by it very nature is a moist damp enviroment. I am speaking about the trail to fern canyon. In fern canyon if the "boards" are not up you will have a hard time staying dry. In some cases during winter you can not even get into the canyon due to all the water in the creek.

Here is a good link for trails in the parks

http://www.redwoodhikes.com/

Have Fun

GP

Lewiston, California
Level Contributor
9,609 posts
73 reviews
4. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

I always wear Gortex lined boots. If it "Ain't" the rain it's the perspiration.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
42 posts
5. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

Thanks all...

Supercilious,

Thanks for the heads up. I called (707 465 7335) and the Ranger said that just in the Fern Canyon I can expect about ankle-deep to calf-deep water, while the rest of the park will mostly be moist and wet. It was almost poetic the way he rejoiced for the trees when he said all of that water goes into making these larger-than-life wonders thrive!

gp1,

My inspiration for the Miner's Ridge/Gold Bluffs Beach/Fern Canyon came from http://www.redwoodhikes.com/ . Bless the soul who took the time to compile all that info into this website.

The hike looks awesome, and I have a nicely worn in pair of Keen Voyager that I was planning on using. But, I was not sure if there was going to be a lot of water in the trails. Now I'll probably just do the drier sections of the trail or visit my local REI for some waterproof gear!

In any case, I would appreciate any other recommended trails to do in winter.

Thanks again!

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
13,351 posts
95 reviews
6. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

Get the waterproof gear and do the whole thing. You wont be disappointed.

Eureka, California
Level Contributor
484 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

Hi LuckyWorldTraveller

Last weekend me and the wife were out hiking in the groves and we both noted how we enjoy the redwoods in the winter. All the seasonal plants have died back and you can see across the forest which makes the redwoods stand out even more. If you get lucky and catch a sunny day, the sunlight interaction with the rising mist/steam is truly remarkable especially in the late afternoon.

If you have the time, nothing is better than The Bull creek area down in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The bridges across Bull Creek will not be up but you could try something this.

Using Redwood hikes as a guide do the Bull Creek flats trail from the trail head just past the Albee Creek campground. Hike it down to the Big tree area have a look around if your lucky might see salmon in bull creek. Then return the same way. Drive back to the Big Tree Day use and do the short hike up creek for about 1/2 mile. Then drive down the Mattole road back to Rockerfeller Grove and hike the loop and up the creek as far as you want. This is a full day set of hikes. After I do this set of trails I always have a sore neck from looking up all day and saying WOW.

Have Fun

GP

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
42 posts
8. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

Thank you very much gp1! Yes, I will do the Bull Creek North trail and few of the shorter 5* hikes in Humboldt State park. I'll consider it my lucky day if I see them salmons...

One final question: Is there anything to worry about while wading through the Fern Canyon? (snakes etc?)

Edited: 4:37 pm, January 18, 2013
Eureka, California
Level Contributor
484 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

Hi LuckyWorldTraveller

I have not been to fern canyon in at least 20 years, the time involved getting there either by hiking or driving is not worth it for me. I rather spend the time in the old growth or along another beach. If that creek was wall to wall in the small box like canyon I would never wade in to the creek for any reason. If you really want to do that you better check in with the rangers both at Prairie Creek State Park and the visitor center at Freshwater lagoon, I am sure they will tell you not to go there and wade if the creek is that high. In the summer it is a nice place but it is alot different in the winter.

Have Fun

GP

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
13,351 posts
95 reviews
10. Re: Do we need waterproof shoes for Fern Canyon Hike?

No snakes or anything to worry about. Just slippery rocks and logs.

I agree with gp1 that checking the trail conditions with the rangers before doing the hike is important - it is a narrow canyon and if the water is high, there really isn't anywhere to go except up or down stream. I suspect that conditions right now are pretty good since we haven't had rain for awhile, but if some storms come through before your hike, the situation could be vastly different.

I did really enjoy this hike though - I loved being in the canyon with all those dense ferns. It was one of my favorite hikes of recent memory.

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