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Fern Canyon Loop Trail

Intermediate
 4.6 (27)

An unforgettable loop through a canyon whose 30-ft cliffs are covered in an amazing array of ferns.


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Map Key

0.7

Miles

1.1

KM

Loop

293' 89 m

High

89' 27 m

Low

206' 63 m

Up

198' 60 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (7°)

33%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views

Family Friendly Kids will love scrambling along the stream while exploring an area that looks like a scene from Jurassic Park (dinosaurs not included).

Winter floods periodically sweep through this canyon, and seasonal bridges only exist in the summer.

Description

The Fern Canyon Loop Trail is not to be missed if you are in the area. This short loop trail takes hikers through Fern Canyon, a stunning canyon whose 30-ft walls are lined with ferns. These ferns, which cover the canyon walls, are an ancient species with an ancestry that dates back to nearly 325 million years ago.

To access the Fern Canyon Loop Trail, park at the nearby Fern Canyon parking area off of Davison Road and head north on the Coastal Trail for a short ways before taking the right-hand turn onto the Fern Canyon Loop Trail. The trail starts with a short, easy uphill trek before leveling off in the canyon as you hike along the streambed of Home Creek. There may be some trees along the way that you'll have to climb over or under.

This section of the trail is absolutely stunning, as you hike through an area straight out of prehistoric times. This large canyon is completely covered with ferns - dark, green sword ferns, velvety five-fingered ferns, and delicate lady ferns. Small sections of the trail are on a boardwalk, and dirt paths meander through this giant canyon.

The trail then climbs out of the canyon to a junction with the James Irvine Trail; stay left to continue on the loop. The trail meanders through equally lush forests to rejoin its start not far from the Coastal Trail.

Flora & Fauna

You'll see a variety of ferns along this appropriately named canyon - sword ferns, five-fingered ferns, and lady ferns just to name a few.

Contacts

Shared By:

Kristen Arendt

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 27 votes

#128

Overall
  4.6 from 27 votes
5 Star
70%
4 Star
19%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#11

in California

#128

Overall
34 Views Last Month
6,693 Since Dec 22, 2016
Intermediate

15%
19%
58%
4%
4%
0%

Photos

Steep walls lined with lush ferns grace the Fern Canyon Loop Trail.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
Fern Gully? Nope, Fern Canyon.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
Fern Canyon has a trickle of a stream rolling through it.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
Dancing down the wonderful Fern Canyon Loop Trail makes for a great way to enjoy the moment.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
Seasonal bridge at Fern Canyon Loop Trail.
Oct 16, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
The end/entrance to Fern Canyon is spectacular and pretty unique.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA

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Check-Ins

Sep 21, 2021
Scott S
1.2mi
Aug 6, 2021
Anran Tu
May 13, 2021
Kristy Van
stream runs through the canyon. needed water boots, luckily the visitor center warned us.
Apr 3, 2021
Bobby Scroggs
Seasonal footbridges are gone, so expect to get your shoes wet. Galoshes or tevas/chacos would be solid. The water is cold, but the trail isn't lon…
Jan 2, 2021
Michael Cho
Children really loved the obstacle course nature of the place, especially my middle child. Got very lucky with weather. Only minor sprinkles at start
Aug 16, 2020
Naree Kae
Aug 1, 2020
Nick Smith
Very cool "playgrounds" on this trail. Make sure to wear boots or water shoes because your feet will get wet. 0.7mi — 1h 00m
Jun 16, 2020
Lesley Hazleton
Last hike of the day. — 19h 58m