About the Site
Redwood National Park  


Park History

Redwood Trees

LBJ Grove

Roosevelt Elk

Northern Coast

Central Coast

South Coast


Jedediah Smith SP

Prairie Cr. Redwoods SP

Cathedral Trees

Fern Canyon

Klamath River

Smith River

Redwood Creek

Redwood Creek Overlook

Lost Man Creek

Bald Hills

Crescent City



Plants & Animals


Fern Canyon

One particularly interesting place in the Redwood National Parks complex is Fern Canyon, which is located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Fern Canyon is a gorge which runs through the coastal bluffs with steep walls covered with a large number of ferns and other plants. There is a trail which runs through the canyon and provides access to its unique sights.

Fern Canyon is known for the plethora of ferns of several varieties. These include lady fern, wood fern, five-finger fern, deer fern, leather leaf fern, and sword fern.

Fern Canyon itself is actually not a "natural" canyon. It was formed as a result of hydraulic mining during the gold rush in the Gold Bluffs area, which is described elsewhere on this site. Mining of the beach sands for gold took place near the canyon. Hydraulic mining involves washing away the topsoil with high pressure water cannons.

Home Creek, a shallow stream with a gravel bed, runs through the canyon. This creek eroded a channel through the Gold Bluffs.

A section of the Fern Canyon wall is shown below.

The walls of Fern Canyon reach a height of about 40-50 feet. The five-fingered ferns are especially plentiful on the walls of the canyon.

The trail which runs along the bottom of Fern Canyon crosses and recrosses the creek. Temporary plank bridges are provided for the convenience of visitors.

The Fern Canyon section of the park was acquired in 1965, along with the entire Gold Bluffs area, and was added to Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. Fern Canyon was donated by Pacific Lumber. In 1994 an agreement took place between the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, providing for "cooperative management of these lands as a unified natural and cultural resource" (Story Behind the Scenery, 1999).

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  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

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