22 votes

Fern Canyon Hike

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Orick, California 95555 USA

Open Now
Wed 6a-6p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair
  • Public
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“filming location for The Lost World”

Imagine walking through a narrow canyon where the walls are completely covered by luxuriant ferns and mosses and are dripping with moisture. That describes Fern Canyon, an unforgettable natural wonder that Steven Spielberg chose as a location for Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. This level trail of about one mile follows Home Creek as it courses through the forest. This modest stream has over the eons carved a deep (50 to 80 feet) canyon through the sedimentary soils. The vertical walls sprout an amazing variety of ferns (five different kinds) and other moisture-loving plants and mosses. Depending on the time of year, there is a constant drip-drip of water trickling down the canyon walls. During summer months, foot bridges are installed over the creek to make this trail easier (and dryer), but it is generally passable year-round if one is nimble and can tolerate getting damp. One can hike into the canyon and back, or continue on to a trail/stairway that climbs out of the canyon. At the top, turn left to return along the canyon rim, with fine views into the canyon and other interesting sights. A verdant prairie is the site of a former mining camp from the days when Gold Bluffs Beach was, in fact, mined for gold dust (a venture that was never very profitable).

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Reviewed by
Kori and Brian Truono

  • Road Warrior
  • 78 Reviews
  • 160 Helpful
May 13, 2014

They filmed a few scenes from Jurassic Park 2 in this canyon - and once you are in it, you can see why!! You just keep expecting a raptor to jump out from every turn. Scientists estimate that some of the fern species in this canyon date back millions of years. Expect to get your shoes wet unless you are an excellent stream crosser.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
June 27, 2016
Rated 5.0

I had wondered what I had gotten into when we started out on the unpaved logging road. However, we stopped to snap a picture of Roosevelt elk antlers poking out of the grass. Then, as we walked to the canyon, other hikers kept telling us, "It's worth the journey," and, "You'll love it!" They were so right. The only thing I would add to the other reviews is that, unfortunately, our shoes didn't get wet. Many places were dry creek bed, and the park service did have some little foot bridges to help in places. Lastly, this might have been the only spot on our vacation where we needed bug spray. Mosquitoes were vicious in mid-June.

We took a few minutes to walk out to the shore and got a beautiful shot of a great blue heron. So very worth that twisty road that made me bite my nails!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
H. Adam Lenz

  • 6 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
August 08, 2017
Rated 5.0

A really beautiful spot. You will have to drive on a dirt road which is well packed, occasionally you will have to drive through a shallow stream. 2-3 inches tall. Don't be scared, I saw a fiat drive through it. Wear shoes that can get wet, flip flops are better if you have good ones with traction. Some of the people looked like they were taking more dangerous routes while trying to keep their shoes dry.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 332 Reviews
  • 185 Helpful
September 30, 2014
Rated 5.0

If you've ever wanted to walk between 50-foot walls of ferns then this is the place for you. Not a long hike and expect your shoes to get a little wet.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 401 Reviews
  • 274 Helpful
August 21, 2014
Rated 5.0

Redwoods State Park is probably one of the most beautiful parks in California. Especially the Fern Canyon is a great place for anyone looking for an adventurous hike in misty and wet landscapes that are surrounded by tall trees.

The whole scenery in some place reminded me of tropical rain forest, and is no wonder why some shots of Jurassic Park were filmed here !!! Don't forget to take your camera with you, you will be pleasantly surprised of how beautiful this place is!!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 15 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
August 12, 2018
Rated 5.0

Amazing destination! You have to drive 6-7 miles on a gravel road that is one lane in several places to get here, and you even have to drive across a stream, but it's totally worth it! Amazing flat hike through a canyon with a creek running through it. Unlike anything else I've ever seen! At the end of the canyon we walked up the short set of stairs and then through the wooded trail on the way back.

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Reviewed by

  • 19 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
June 18, 2017
Rated 5.0

Everyone's favorite hike spot. We had an awesome time exploring.

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Fern Canyon Hike

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Orick, California
95555 USA


Open now until 6:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 6:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Outdoor Seating
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