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James Irvine to Fern Canyon

 4.9 (13)

11.9 Miles 19.1 Kilometers


91%

Runnable

1,610' 491 m

Ascent

-1,610' -491 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

509' 155 m

High

10' 3 m

Low

Shared By Kristen Arendt

Conditions


All Clear 83 days ago
Some Mud, Fallen Trees History

Getting forecast...

A truly spectacular run through some of the most unforgettable areas in the park.

Kristen Arendt

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views

Winter floods periodically sweep through Fern Canyon, and seasonal bridges only exist in the summer.

Overview

This run has it all—massive redwoods, a scenic stream, a fern-covered canyon straight from prehistoric times, and a chance to dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean. If you have the time to spend a day on the trails, this run is not to be missed.

Description

From the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, head out on the James Irvine Trail which can be accessed from the Prairie Creek Trail to the north of the visitor center.

The James Irvine Trail is one of the quintessential redwood trails in the area, and offers visitors an unforgettable journey through an old-growth Redwood forest.

This moderate trail can be accessed at its southern end near the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. The trail has a gentle climb for the first 1.5 miles, passing a junction with the Miners Ridge Trail on the left. Stay right to continue your run.

After this, the trail meanders on a short half-mile descent, taking you nearer to Godwood Creek, and a more mellow section of trail that carries you through the majestic Redwood forests. You'll will be dwarfed by the massive trees, as the singletrack trail winds through the lush undergrowth.

The trail ends at the world-famous Fern Canyon and Home Creek. At the Fern Canyon Loop Trail, stay to the right to head along the top of the canyon until you come to the junction with the Coastal Trail. Take a left, and follow this trail until you pop out on the beach. This is the halfway point of your run, and a great chance to take a break, have a snack, and dip your toes in the ocean before continuing on.

When you are ready to move on, retrace your steps along the Coastal Trail, this time taking the first junction you come to onto the Fern Canyon Loop Trail, and be prepared for a spectacular section of the run through Fern Canyon.

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 where you can retrace your steps to head back to the visitor center to finish your run.

Flora & Fauna

Redwoods galore, banana slugs, and tiny mice. Surprisingly, the forest floor is a very silent and unpopulated with forest critters. You'll also see a variety of ferns along the way - sword ferns, five-fingered ferns, and lady ferns just to name a few.

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May 29, 2017
EugeneK
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Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 13 votes

#282

Overall
  4.9 from 13 votes
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Rankings

#51

in California

#282

Overall
148 Views Last Month
1,968 Since Dec 22, 2016
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