One of the most breathtaking places I've ever seen is a place called Fern Canyon. If you have just one more day, this is a must see thing to do.
We shared the experience with Kamp Klamath
owner, Aaron Funk and his friend, Carol. He told us the history of Gold Bluff and Fern Canyon and how it relates to the early gold miners. You can hear his explanation on RVdream.com in the video playlist marked Fern Canyon.
The entrance to Fern Canyon is just off Highway 101 by Prairie Creek Campgrounds, 3 miles north of Orick, CA. or south of Kamp Klamath about 25 miles. You may want to take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway whose exit is just south of Kamp Klamath and take the enchanting ride through the redwoods....which I recommend. (Drury Parkway is beautifully paved, surrounded by old growth redwoods featuring The Big Tree, The Corkscrew Tree and a multitude of well marked and maintained trails) We went through the redwoods going there, and took 101 going back to camp. Believe me, you do NOT want to miss this drive.
Either way you take, you'll come to Prairie Creek Campgrounds. One of the cool things about this area is the herd of Elk that call their pastures home. If it's cloudy, or overcast, you'll see hundreds of Elk grazing. If it's sunny, they will retreat into the brush. They don't like the sun or heat too much for the most part says the ranger we talked to.
Just north of the campgrounds is Davison Road, the access road to Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach. The dirt road has vehicle limitations 8' wide and 24' long. No trailers are allowed.
Davison Road goes back 8 miles to the ocean. Along the way you will see Gold Bluff State Campgrounds and picnic areas in the redwoods & on the beach. And FYI, there 75 miles of hiking trails, bicycle trails, a self-guided nature trail, plus accessible trails for individuals with physical or visual limitations throughout the Prairie Creek area.
Follow the road
until it comes to the trail head. At a couple of points, there will be little brooks you must ford with your vehicle. Depending on the time of year, this is not an issue but it is fun and kids will love it.
The path walking back to Fern Canyon from the trail head. Not a very long walk at all. The temperatures here range from 60-75 degrees but drop significantly when you hit the canyon.
The first view of the canyon. There's a little brook running through from the springs from the mountains that drip down the side of the canyon walls through the ferns to the canyon floor. The sound of the water dripping and rushing is quietly soothing.
Follow the boards across the bits of water and they will lead you back through the canyon. There are no planes, no trains, no traffic noise here. Just the sound of the water. Even the sound of other hikers is hushed and seem to disappear. Parts of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park"
was filmed in Fern Canyon. There's no doubt, when you're here, you just might run across a dinosaur or two.... In order to continue your hike at this juncture, you have to climb over this fallen redwood.
The canyon is really not that long... I would set aside at least 1.5 hours but you can spend more time by climbing the stairs at the end of the canyon...there are 97 of them...they take you to the top and you will have a beautiful view of the ocean.