When we first decided to go to the Redwoods we asked people we knew what the must see attractions are. We were surprised that one of the hikes they recommended had nothing to do with giant trees. Fern Canyon is like a giant crack in the rocks near the coast, with a veritable treasure trove of vegetation and wildlife hidden away inside.
Location: Start at the Fern Canyon Day Use Area, just north of the Gold Bluffs Beach Campground. Hike up the California Coastal Trail for about half a mile until you reach the Fern Canyon trailhead.
Difficulty: 3/5 This is a flat hike through a canyon, but there are some rough patches along the way with small streams, and fallen trees on the path.
Kid-Friendly: Yes. We brought our toddlers and a baby in a sling and they had a blast. Just make sure they’re wearing good shoes for scrambling over logs and crossing small streams. We didn’t make it all the way to the end of the canyon because it was getting dark, so I’m not sure if the whole trail would have been too long for them.
Stroller/ADA Accessible: No, the path is gravel and there are just too many obstacles.
Description: This was honestly one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever been on. The canyon is narrow with rocky walls rising 40 to 50 feet on either side. These walls are literally covered in a thick carpet of ferns. It almost feels like stepping back into a prehistoric jungle. In fact, a scene for one of the Jurassic Park movies was filmed here. It was truly an incredible sight.