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Fern Canyon Loop Trail

Intermediate
 4.5 (20)

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

68%

Runnable

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

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

Runner Notes

The section through the canyon is along a creek - you may encounter trees that you'll have to climb over or under. Plus you'll have a hard time focusing on your footing as you try to take in the amazing sights of the fern-covered canyon walls reaching far above your head.

Description

The Fern Canyon Loop Trail is not to be missed if you are in the area. This short loop trail takes runners 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 run 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 run 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

  4.5 from 20 votes

#196

Overall
  4.5 from 20 votes
5 Star
70%
4 Star
15%
3 Star
10%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#22

in California

#196

Overall
56 Views Last Month
6,343 Since Dec 22, 2016
Intermediate

16%
11%
68%
0%
5%
0%

Photos

Steep walls lined with lush ferns grace the Fern Canyon Loop Trail.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
The end/entrance to Fern Canyon is spectacular and pretty unique.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
Weather, terrain, and scenery varied greatly over three days exploring the area.
Nov 10, 2019 near Westhav…, CA
Entrance to Fern Canyon. I arrived around 1pm, which gave me half an hour of excellent light.
Nov 10, 2019 near Westhav…, CA
Summer stream crossings in Fern Canyon.
Jul 10, 2016 near Westhav…, CA
Fern Gully? Nope, Fern Canyon.
Dec 21, 2016 near Westhav…, CA

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