Summary: Everything you need to know to visit Fern Canyon, where to stay, Lost World Jurassic Park filmed here, nearby hikes. This is a must if you’re visiting the redwoods! It’s such a unique area, so different than anything I’ve seen anywhere else in the world.
I don’t revisit places very often as a travel blogger. There’s so much to see in the world. Fern Canyon though? I’ve visited 3 times and know I’ll be back for more.
Land Acknowledgement: Yurok Tribe. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land!
Getting to Fern Canyon
- Distance from San Francisco: 6 hours
- Distance from Portland: 6 hr, 45 minutes
Google Maps to Fern Canyon will get you there without any problems. After you pass Trillium Falls Trailhead, the road will turn into a dirt road and get decently bumpy. There are a few spots with standing water that will be no problem for any average vehicle. I’ve done this in a Prius.
At the trailhead there is a decent sized parking lot with rustic bathrooms. This spot can become very crowded during summer weekends. I recommend going early if possible.
Park Fees and Passes
Since Fern Canyon is part of Redwoods National Park, the America the Beautiful Pass is honored here.
You may also pay $8 cash for day entry. Update (2022) I believe it is now $12 and still CASH only. No cards are accepted.
New Permit Reservation System
As of 2022, Fern Canyon is trialing a permit system. It was pretty successful and as far as I know, it will be continuing from now on. Here’s what you need to know:
- May 1st to September 30th is when the reservation system runs. If you are visiting outside of these dates, you do NOT need to worry about getting a reservation.
- Permits can only be acquired online (up until 11:59pm the night before the day you’re wishing to travel there). Reservations are NOT being given at visitor centers or at the entrance.
- The permit is FREE, but you still need to pay the entrance fee upon arrival in cash ($12)
- Find the Reservation site HERE
The Hike to Fern Canyon
- Length: 1.1 miles roundtrip (views of the canyon in the first .25 miles)
- Elevation: 118 ft
- Route: can be done in a loop or out and back. See Trail Map on AllTrails HERE
- TIP 1: Go just after sunrise – it will be way less busy and you’ll have time to explore. It does take a little bit for the sun to reach the canyon in the morning.
- TIP 2: Do the trail as an out and back so you can see a different perspective of Fern Canyon on the way back. The loop trail goes into the forest without views of the canyon, so I typically just do the canyon section, not the whole loop.
- TIP 3: WEAR WATERPROOF SHOES. The water above ankle deep in sections and it is very chilly water. It’s worth wearing water proof boots to really be able to explore. Click HERE for my favorite waterproof boots.
Unfortunately pets are NOT allowed in Fern Canyon.
Fun Ferny Facts:
- The second Jurassic Park film ‘The Lost World’ was filmed at Fern Canyon
- There are over a DOZEN fern species in Fern Canyon!!! I use a plant identifying app called PictureThis to name plant species!
- The fern covered walls have ancestry dating back 325 million years *mind blown*
Where to Stay
There’s a lot to explore around Fern Canyon. Make a weekend trip out of it by staying overnight and explore more of the Redwoods!
- Gold Bluffs Beach: $35, 5 minute drive from trailhead.
- Elk Prairie Campground: $35, 35 minute drive from trailhead
- Patricks Point State Park: $35, 50 minute drive from trailhead
- Jedediah Smith Campground: $35, 1.5 hour drive from trailhead
Nearest Cities for Airbnb and Hotels:
- Crescent City
Nearby Hikes & Attractions
While you’re here…
- Trillium Falls Trail: on the same road as Fern Canyon. Towering Redwoods and a small waterfall are on this hike!
- Length: 2.6 miles
- Elevation 433 ft
- Route type: Loop
- Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail: one of my favorite hikes in the Redwoods
- Length: 1.3 miles
- Elevation 75 ft
- Route type: Loop
- See Roosevelt Elk!! : On the same road to Fern Canyon is a popular hang out spot for the Elk. Elk Meadow is just off Highway 101 on Davison Road right before Trillium Falls trailhead and has good viewing spots for Elk!
If you’re heading North, Check out my Blog Post: 6 Best Photo Spots on the Southern Oregon Coast
Also, be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Redwoods.
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