Jumping Back in Time on the Fern Canyon Trail

Close to the border of California and Oregon, a short drive north of Eureka California, lies a location that looks like something straight out of the age of dinosaurs.

Here at Fern Canyon in California, five different kinds of fern hug onto the sides of a canyon to create a sight that seems otherworldly.

Not surprisingly, there were a few scenes filmed from Jurassic Park at the iconic Fern Canyon due to its unforgettable look.

Fern Canyon is located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. To get to Fern Canyon, you have to hike your way along Fern Canyon Trail. The trail starts at the end of dirt road that turns into a parking lot.

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Starting on the 101 Highway, you’ll first exit onto Davison Road. Davison Road winds through forest all the way past Epsa Lagoon to Gold Bluff Beach.

Continuing along this road, you’ll pass by the Fern Canyon camping area known as Gold Bluff Beach Campground. You may have to go through a few small streams by car, but persist!

Depending on what time you get to the parking lot area, you may have to park on the side of the road. We parked on the side of the road a few feet from the parking lot entrance after circling around and just missing the last few spots.

After putting on sunscreen, we headed to the Fern Canyon Loop Trail. The beginning of the trail looked like the above photo: small trees amongst plains of grass.

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Soon enough, the pathway started getting wetter and the brush more dense. Because the trailhead to canyon is about 1/4th of a mile, it wasn’t long before we got to the canyon.

I loved seeing the plant life change and noticing how the temperature became noticeably cooler.

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Eventually you make it to the beginning of the canyon. You know you’re there when you reach the babbling stream. Follow the stream into the canyon.

Makeshift bridges of plywood dot the landscape allowing hikers to cross the stream, that runs in the middle of Fern Canyon, more easily. Going deeper down into the canyon making the next corner, my jaw dropped.

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Wow.

Photos definitely don’t do Fern Canyon justice. The way the ferns create walls that seem to scale towards the sky without end, paired with the river, make this an unforgettable sight to behold.

There’s so much moisture in the air, you can smell it. Some of the ferns even seem to create a slowly dripping shower of water along the sides of the canyon.

We didn’t continue along the canyon, but the the trail continues turning into a stairway that climbs out of the canyon. Here you can gain a new perspective into the canyon and the prairies which were formerly a gold mine—albeit an unprofitable one as there was just gold dust. This also explains the namesake for Gold Bluffs Beach.

There are a few ways to travel, by car, north into Oregon. If you’re going along the 101, don’t forget to drop by and prepare yourself to take a jump eons back in time.

Fern Canyon (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park)

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