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Fern Canyon Trail

Intermediate
 4.8 (4) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A nice creek-side trail that ascends through a lush forest.


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Map Key

8.4

Miles

13.5

KM

94%

Runnable

691' 211 m

High

256' 78 m

Low

878' 268 m

Up

878' 268 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

20%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Views

Overview

This run is relatively flat for the first 2.5 miles as it follows alongside the Little River. At the end of this section is a sign showing the way up Fern Canyon. You can return via a fire road for a nice loop run. This route is perfect for both long runs, or a long trail run.

Description

Runners will start this trip at the Van Damme State Park parking area which is located at the end of a campground.

The first part of the run follows Fern Canyon Scenic Trail (name according to park map), which is a dirt road where motor vehicles aren't permitted. I found this portion to be very enjoyable and easy running, as the road follows a stream. This section is especially scenic when the banks are filled with lush ferns. There are about six picturesque bridge crossings where it is pleasant to view the stream that passes below. This first part of the trail is 2.5 miles long and relatively flat. It ends where two trails split to create a loop.

The Fern Canyon Scenic Trail will become the Fern Canyon Trail, and this route continues uphill for another 2.3 miles, where it ends at the Pygmy Forest Parking area. This section is quite nice, but the trail becomes singletrack and is steeper. Take the Old Logging Road Trail to head down the mountain from the Pygmy Forest, and back towards the Fern Canyon Road. This section is about 1.2 miles long.

All told, the total distance would be about 8.5 miles. This distance is easy to calculate, as there are sign posts at each mile. However, conflicting information from my GPS (8.8 miles) and a park ranger at the gate (7 miles) makes the official distance a bit confusing. Just be prepared for a long run. The highlight is Fern Canyon Road which is flat, and would make for a pleasant five-mile trip as an out-and-back by itself.

Contacts

Shared By:

John Maurizi with improvements by Blake Ferguson

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 4 votes

#1422

Overall
  4.8 from 4 votes
5 Star
75%
4 Star
25%
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#209

in California

#1,422

Overall
193 Views Last Month
6,576 Since May 3, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

The stream alongside Park Road/Fern Canyon Trail.
May 3, 2017 near Fort Bragg, CA
Heading into the woods on Park Road/Fern Canyon Trail.
May 3, 2017 near Fort Bragg, CA
Dense vegetation grows along Little River on the Fern Canyon Trail.
May 26, 2017 near Fort Bragg, CA
Little River from the Park Road/Fern Canyon Trail.
May 3, 2017 near Fort Bragg, CA
Park Road/Fern Canyon Trail.
May 3, 2017 near Fort Bragg, CA
The bridge on the Fern Canyon Trail.
May 3, 2017 near Fort Bragg, CA

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