Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA
Fern Canyon, in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, still within the boundaries of Redwoods National and State Parks is one of the beautiful natural wonders in the area. If you noticed in most of my redwood pictures, there are a lot of ferns lining up the trail and also covering the ground. What is special about Fern Canyon is that some of the ferns clinging to the steep cliffs are ancient species whose ancestry can be tracked 325 million years ago. 
Experiencing the canyon felt like going back in time. I was not surprised to learn later that this canyon was used as location for The Lost World: Jurassic Park and BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs because of the pre-historic feel when we were traversing its trail.
The hike to Fern Canyon is on an easy almost flat trail, with very little change in elevation. It passes through a moss filled forest, though devoid of redwoods trees, but pretty on its own.
Hiker @ Fern Canyon Trail
After this is a trail intersection, where the Fern Canyon is to the right, drained by Home Creek.
Home Creek to Fern Canyon
In a very short distance after making a right turn, ferns surround and cover both sides of 30 ft canyon, some parts of the canyon could reach up to 50 ft high. 
First View of Fern Canyon 
What can I say, maybe my pictures are not enough to describe the sense of awe and wonder when I was in this place. It is something different, there are no curvaceous and colorful rocks typical of the canyons I see in the desert Southwest, but the feeling of awe is just as great. It really is a beautiful sight. We saw a lot of water dripping on the canyon walls, though it is hard to take them a picture, but here is one anyway.
Water Dripping from Canyon Wall, With Moss and Ferns
The canyon goes narrow in some areas, and it makes it more interesting. For about a half mile stretch, we were walking through 30 ft dripping wet canyon walls covered with healthy and green ferns on both sides.

How was this canyon formed? For a little bit of history, here is an excerpt I took from Redwood National and state Parks site.
"Millions of years ago, a retreating sea left this coastal bluff behind. Waters draining to the ocean sculpted the rocky formations into sheer canyon walls. Some of the exquisite ferns now clinging to the walls are ancient species whose ancestry can be traced back 325 million years. Seeping waters supply year round dampness for the dense foliage and provide habitat for a diverse mix of moisture loving creatures."
 Ferns Up Close
There are some wooden planks placed along the stretch of the trail for walkers to avoid getting wet. Though I wished there were none of them so the hike would be more fun :) .
Wooden Planks to Cross Some Wet Area
Here are some more pictures we got from the 1 mile loop hike at Fern Canyon.
Salmonberry ( this is edible, just like raspberry)
Wild Iris
( ? ) - sorry, I still have to find the name of this one
Dried Wildflower
( learned to take this shot from ICY, who beautifully captures every stage of a flower)
For more information about the hike, please visit the park site here
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  1. betchai, these photos look like oil paintings they are so gorgeous and I really love the wild iris. I never see enough of those.

  2. looks like fun walking on the plank, bethsky, haha! and thank you for the interesting history!

  3. Unbelievably gorgeous and awesome! I can't image canyon walls covered with ferns up so high and dripping water and also wild berries and iris, wow!

  4. The ferns are so much gorgeous than those over here, they are so steep and so many. Can't resist to love them.

  5. That's amazing to see the fern on both sides of the cliff, and the flowers photos, love it! Gorgeous pictures, betchai, and thanks for the mention!

  6. The fern wall looks like those in the fairy tale garden. Must be an awesome feeling just to be able to walk by and admire those plants, not to mention the range of exotic flowers grown there.

  7. Wow! Awesome! Can't get my eyes off the photos.

  8. My son would love this place. He loved the Jurassic Park movies. I have never heard of that berry, is it only found there, and do they taste good?

  9. Those ferns are really awesome. I love places like that. It's neat that they made a way for people get actually get close to them. Of course I would be wanting my field guide to know what kind of ferns they are!

  10. i jumped here from another blog...rainfield i think.. these pics r so stunning . lovely. omos like pieces of art... the flowers r lovely n all that but most ppl post lovely flowers.. the awesome pics are the pics before the flowers

  11. Wow...that's a whole lot of green ferns!

    The salmonberry looks like little salmon egg clusters..haha. The dried wildflower is a dandelion isn't?

  12. Amazing! Wonderful creation of nature! This sis the first time I am seeing this..Thanks Betchai for sharing this!

  13. thanks a lot everyone.

    @ Melissa, yes, they taste good just like raspberry, they are found only in the pacific northwest.

    @ Mei, yes, I believe it is a dried dandelion :)

    @ Sharkbytes, I will answer your question on my next post :)

  14. Hi beth, i see my name among the flowers!

    the place is very ideal for such films, it has a "jurassic" feel hehe

    i agree with you betchai... the hike would've been more fun if you were walking by the waters =) reminds me of the pinatubo hike before

  15. These are beautiful images. I live in the UK now but am a No Cal native. These images make me miss the amazing forests there, lovely.

  16. cool blog.i like these type of blog.thanks for sharing it...

  17. I have always thought that ferns reminded me of something from a primitive fantasy land.

  18. It does have a pre-historic feel! just looking at the photos makes me feel dinosaurs around :) love those flower shots Betchai...my favorite is that of the wild iris...I would love to have a taste of the berry! :D

    P.S. so love the blue background here at TJOSL