FATMAP by Strava

Fern Canyon

Get a taste of Jurassic Park in this prehistoric fern-lined canyon.

Hiking Moderate

1.6 km
45 m
45 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
7 m
High Point
44 m
Fern Canyon Map

Fern Canyon looks downright prehistoric, and as you hike up the narrow valley, you'll be forgiven for listening for the cry of pterodactyls. In fact, it was famously used as a backdrop for some scenes from The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and has subsequently become a destination for Jurassic Park fans from around the world.


This hike into Fern Canyon is a quick 1-mile round-trip route from the trailhead. But since it is so popular, you might have to park further down the road, turning this into a longer hike. While the trail is short and there isn't much elevation gain, it gets a "moderate" FATMAP rating due to some of the tricky footing in Fern Canyon. To work your way up the canyon, you'll have to negotiate some creek crossings, slide between trees, cross downed logs hop across wet stones, and more. Kids are guaranteed to have a blast exploring the beautiful canyon!

The canyon gets its name from the fern-lined walls. The "30-foot-tall cliffs are rich with lush leaves, ranging from five-fingered ferns to sword and lady ferns," according to Alison Bowen in the Chicago Tribune. While a fern-covered cliff isn't a rare sight in the Pacific Northwest, here, the ferns continue on and on throughout the entire canyon, without a break. It's truly a sight to behold!

Note that you'll have to pay an $8 fee in cash to enter the park if you don't have a California state parks pass. While some California state parks will accept a national parks pass, that didn't fly with the person working the station when I tried to reach Fern Canyon myself.



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area