Frolicking Amongst the Ferns: Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek National Park, NorCal

Never take what you have for granted

Home. A beautiful, four letter word that makes you feel whole, loved, and at peace. That’s how I feel every Christmas when I make my way North to Eureka, California.

I never appreciated Eureka until I moved away for college. I guess it’s something you learn as you get older – to appreciate the little things like groves of trees, crisp air, clean water… You get tied up in what could be versus enjoying what is.

I couldn’t wait to go away to college after I graduated from high school. 18 years spent behind the Redwood curtain – seeing the same people, doing the same things. I wanted something new! Little did I know that I would one day crave something old; something I only get but once a year at best.

One place in particular will always have a place in my heart, and it’s a place I strongly encourage all of you nature enthusiasts to visit: Fern Canyon.

My Amazing Family on the Canyon Floor.

Northern California – Fern Canyon

Getting to the Canyon

The setup for arriving at the canyon entrance is magical: you drive through groves of beautiful trees and greenery and along the ocean – Gold Bluffs Beach to be exact! Then, to make things even better, you park your car, begin the hike in, and BAM! You’re greeted by a gorgeous canyon!

View of Gold Bluffs Beach from the Trailhead.
Entrance of Fern Canyon.

Commence “Hiking”

I’ve never hiked anywhere more beautiful! And for all you trail lovers out there like myself, there are plenty of solid trails.

My family chose the easiest trail: the Fern Canyon Loop Trail. We’re not all at the same intensity level, and we wanted everyone to have an enjoyable time.

The trail is rated as “Easy” on All Trails, and I assure you it lives up to that difficulty level.

The Fern Canyon Loop Trail is much more of a walk than it is a hike. However, it provides you with all of the highlights: walking through the canyon, heading up above the canyon to walk through groves of trees (there’s even an amazing meadow I highly recommend going slightly off trail for – it’s part of the trail so you’re not endangering the land), and then back down to the entrance of the canyon.

Soak it all in

There’s something for everyone in Fern Canyon as long as you can take a few moments to yourself and shut the world out.

Maybe you take off your shoes and dip them in the cold creek water. Maybe you stand next to a trickling waterfall, and let the moisture bounce off the moss onto your face. Maybe you just sit and take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are to be alive.

Fern Canyon is perfect for any of these. See for yourself:

Ferns Line the Canyon Walls from Top to Bottom.
Natural Waterfalls Trickle Down the Moss and Ferns Lining the Canyon Walls.
Looking Down the Canyon.

Up Above the Canyon

Once you’re done exploring the canyon floor, you head up a short flight of stairs through groves of trees.

Candid Shot by My Baby Sister, Brynna.
Groves of Trees Above the Canyon.
Looking Up Towards the Tops of Trees Reminds Me of How Little We Are in Such a Grand World.

Fun side note, my dad and brother milled some of the planks you walk on. A couple winters back some redwood trees in my parent’s yard fell because of how bad the storm was – I can research the year if anyone would like to know. It’s nice to see a natural disaster benefiting nature lovers.

Dad, Kenny, and Brother, Garth, Admiring Their Work.

And when you’re out of the groves of trees, you can carefully approach the edge to get an insane view of the canyon from above.

View of the Canyon Floor Entrance From Above – Looking Right.
View of the Canyon Floor Entrance From Above – Looking Left.

Visit Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon is an amazing nature spot that should be on everyone’s list to visit. Hopefully these pictures inspire you to plan a trip!

These photos are from late December. I recommend going any time of year as long as there isn’t a flash flood or storm warning. You can easily check the current weather conditions of Prairie Creek State Park through the National Park Service.

If you go in the winter time, I highly recommend waterproof shoes. My dad had to carry my sister the majority of the canyon because she only had basic running shoes.

Shout out to my Salomon hiking boots (men’s and women’s)! I wore these bad boys the entire time, even in ankle deep water, and my feet did not get wet. I also recommend pairing the hiking boots with Darn Tough Vermont socks (men’sand women’s). I’m a full cushion fan, but there are lots of different types and they truly stand-up to any hiking challenge. I refuse to put anything else on my feet when I’m on my nature adventures.

Summertime is perfect if you’re concerned about getting your feet wet – I don’t blame you! – the National Park Service installs foot bridges – makes waterproof shoes a luxury and not a requirement.

I’ll be sure to do a summertime Fern Canyon post next time I’m able to! This place is a true gem, and I try to visit every time I venture home. Maybe I’ll even camp next time! Let me know if you think I should in the comments section below:)

I Have Major Waterfall Obsessions.

Reminder to Just Say Yes and Follow Me!

As always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!

Click on the links below to follow me on my social media accounts, and definitely subscribe to my blog for more exciting Yescapades!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid by any of the above linked sites. This review is solely mine without any monetary compensation. I will however receive a kickback from the affiliate links if you choose to make a purchase.


Published by yesmaamaly

Aly Bonomini is the creator of the blogs Yes Ma'am! & Cheesy Vegans. She is an avid adventurer, experience enthusiast, and motivator who lives her life by the motto: "Just say yes!"

2 thoughts on “Frolicking Amongst the Ferns: Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek National Park, NorCal

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