Fern Canyon Trail

Orick, CA
Length: 1.10 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 1    Average: 4/5]

Described by Steven Spielberg as “an unforgettable natural wonder,” this place is truly magical.  The canyon is aptly named due to the abundance of flora that surrounds it.  You’ll quickly see why it was chosen as a filming location for Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World.  The park is a designated World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

With minimal elevation gain, this 1.1-mile trail is a short excursion from Gold Bluffs Beach that leads you through a 50-foot deep walled canyon. The creek bed that leads through this canyon creates a bit of an obstacle course with downed trees and stumps. Navigating through will likely mean your feet getting wet, so come prepared. Small footbridges are installed during the summer.

This is an out-and-back trail unless you want to continue onto the James Irvine Trail which will lead you to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park visitor center. This is a 5-mile moderate trail.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, and Summer
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 118 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Beach, Camping Nearby, Creek / River, Mud Puddles, Natural Play Area, Shaded Hike, Tree Climbing, and Wildlife Viewing

Wear sandals or shoes you can get wet. Bring extra dry clothes
Bug spray recommended
Check online for current conditions- Canyon may close after heavy rain
Frequent Elk sitings
Winter hike not recommended- Water levels rise and the ferns die off
The access road closes off-season which will add more distance to the hike

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $8.00

$ 8.00-day use fee (cash or check only). California State Park and National Park Service passes are accepted.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 1    Average: 4/5]

Being outside is how I re-charge. It gives me perspective, fills me with gratitude and provides an opportunity to disconnect from the chaos of everyday life. I am fortunate to share this passion with my amazing husband and our son.  I was born and raised in the PNW but I love exploring any area I can get to. One of my favorite things about Hike it Baby is that I have a built in community of friends to provide trail suggestions anywhere we go.

Trail Head


Trail Map

Getting There

From Hwy 101 south, drive approximately 2 miles north of Orick. Turn left onto Davison Road and follow it through Elk Meadow onto the dirt road. Follow for approximately 6 miles before entering Gold Bluffs Beach park.  Continue another 3 miles until you reach the parking lot.