Eagle Fern is a beautiful park that boasts lots of family friendly activities, various access points to Eagle Creek, and a series of trails. The park is beautiful and the trails seem to be well maintained—it's a great place to spend a day!
A parking pass is required. You can buy a day pass on site for $6.
Start off by buying your day pass at the booth, $6 for the day, then head over to the suspension bridge that will take you across Eagle Creek to the trails. Be sure to grab a trail guide before you cross so you can check out the various nature markers on the first leg of the hike. Cross the bridge (it's a little bouncy) and take a right, stroll along a nice wide flat ADA path with various points that correspond to your trail guide.
Once you pass marker #12, be on the lookout for a narrow trail off to the right, which will take you on the upper loop. Don't let the picture on the trail guide fool you—Loop A
is not a flat oval like the picture might lead you to believe. It's a steep-ish climb with lots of switchbacks taking you towards the top of the giant trees in the forrest (I am a hiking novice and got a little intimidated at first, but it was worth it and totally doable).
Be on the lookout for a couple of small downed trees that you'll either have to climb over or under. Dogs will easily go under both, while people may be more comfortable going over the first one and under the second one. These may be cleared away as we get closer to the busy season.
Once you reach the top, you begin the descent, which also includes a bunch of switchbacks. As you get closer to the bottom the creek becomes a more prominent soundtrack. There is a nice lookout point towards the bottom as well. You'll pop back out onto the nice flat path to finish the nature loop and head back across the bridge to where you started.
Lots of forest flora and fauna are visible on the nature loop and on the trail. Be on the lookout for various kinds of ferns including Licorice Ferns, Sword Ferns, Bracken Ferns, and Lady Ferns; you can also find shamrocks scattered through the forest floor.