We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“It should be on everyone's bucket list” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon
Ranked #527 of 8,579 things to do in California
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This secluded canyon, home to many ferns, makes for an interesting hike.
Akron, Ohio
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“It should be on everyone's bucket list”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013

Fern Canyon is a gem! It is part of Prarie Creek Redwoods State Park in California. It's easily accessed from the parking lot so a long hike is not involved. Once inside the canyon, take your time and enjoy the beauty. It can be crowded on weekends but it is still worth the trip. Wear clothes and shoes that you can get wet - really wet - so that you can walk the canyon past most of the other folks visiting. Fern Canyon is a short drive from Trinidad and Arcata, Ca. but if you are visiting from out of the area, consider camping at one of several local campgrounds. Children will especially love climbing over the fallen trees that zig-zag through the canyon.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Roadtripper315
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

195 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    164
    25
    3
    1
    2
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Korean first
  • Any
English first
Stillwater, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
45 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Amazing - go early to have to yourself”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2013

Worth the short drive and short walk. We went around 8 or so in the morning and we had the whole amazing canyon to ourselves. Keep walking and go into the canyon as it gets better as you go in. There is a herd of elk that we noticed waking up as we walked out just next to the parking lot so be careful if you walk around near there as to not walk into them. Very fun to get close and get some pictures.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank LaRae P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
238 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 259 helpful votes
“Possibly the most gorgeous place in California”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2013

I wasn't sure what to expect after seeing photo, but honestly, photos don't do Fern Canyon justice. It's an experience. A five hour drive from San Francisco had my expectations ratched really high: four or five dozen giant elk seen at close range exceeded these. I know, you aren't supposed to get near the elk, but they boxed in our car crossing in front and in back on a narrow dirt road, so we had little chance to argue. The drive out is mind-bendingly beautiful trek through some very dense redwoods, and while we were wary to cross two streams in the car, after watching a few other drivers, we went for it without incident. A quick picnic lunch purchased at a good market in Trinidad on a flat, understated beach that was nice, although I strongly prefer the beaches a bit South for the high drama. However, the hike...

The hike...

It's not a long hike, which is the most unfortunate part about it, and the day we went, there were a hundred people in the canyon or more, so that was a little buzz kill. But entering into the humid canyon, ferns tower over you on both sides with water trickling down in small waterfalls everywhere, moss growing on everything, and many fallen trees. I enjoyed climbing up and over these since they presented a sort of obstacle course. The entire place feels quite like the tropics and is verdant, lush, and I wanted to hike much further. Alas, no time since the park was nearing closing then. Driving back, I noticed the majesty of the huge seaside cliffs which, despite their grandeur, blend into a landscape filled with so many superlatives.

So yes, it's well worth the drive. Coming home and eagerly viewing my photos, I was genuinely disappointed at how impossible to capture on film it was, although maybe that's part of what makes it so incredible of a place.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Aqusite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brea, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Amazing hikes”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013 via mobile

Fern canyon is the most memorable part of my vacation up north. It is so beautiful and peaceful. It is quite a drive into the canyon so plan accordingly. Make sure to wear clothes and shoes that you don't mind getting dirty and wet. Be prepared for some climbing over tree stumps and jumping over creeks. Have fun!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Sara C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A Wonder World of Ferns and Water”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2013

The eight mile drive to the trail head can be as memorable as the canyon itself. The ride is a fine example of a primitive road. When I first started up the dirt road I backed down thinking "This can't be the road I must have made a wrong turn." Starting up the road for second time I wondered if my little car would survive. Steep up and downs, dusty turns, and near misses with on coming cars. After 4 miles we came to a pay station and followed a bluff along the beach. As we neared the trail we were treated to the excitement of fording three small creeks. Once in the canyon you follow a small stream that flows throughout the canyon. Great fun is had crossing plank bridges, climbing over trees or stepping through the shallow creek. As you move through the canyon the walls are covered with ferns that gently sway in the breeze. Our trip to Fern Canyon was capped by heard of elk grazing along the road as we left the trail head.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Theselana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Fern Canyon also viewed

 
Orick, Humboldt County
 

Been to Fern Canyon? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing