Stop 1: Fern Canyon
I read in some blogs that this is the best 1-mile hike in California and was skeptical about it. But it is absolutely gorgeous! Btw, Jurassik Park was filmed there.
Fern Canyon is located in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, not far from our camping location. Seven different types of ferns grow on the 50 foot high walls, they create perfect environment for some of ancient species and amphibians. Home Creek runs through these walls.
The area is wet due to all running streams. We were prepared to get wet and put on our hiking boots, however, when we got there we saw small wooden footbridges installed across all streams. They made it very easy to walk though the canyon and not get wet. This hike is a 1-mile loop, but we decided to go back the same way to enjoy the canyon once again.
To get to this place take Davison Road from Highway 101. It is 8 miles of unpaved dirt road, but totally worth doing it. There are several streams on the road and you’ll need to cross them. Their depth depends on the season, but they were small this time. We crossed all of them with our small car. Some people left their cars by the stream and hiked additional 1 mile.
Beginning of the trail, it is 0.1 mile to the canyon:
Some of my favorite pictures of the canyon:
Tiny waterfalls dripping from the walls:
Fern Canyon hike starts from the Gold Bluffs Beach, we stopped there for a stroll and to take these pics:
Stop 2: The Big Tree
This tree is estimated 1500 years old and has a circumference of 68 feet. It is located on the Newton Drury Scenic Parkway near the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. There are no clear signs on the road, we parked next to the first sign saying “Trailhead parking” and we found a sign leading to the tree. There are several larger hikes in the area too.
Stop 3: Crescent / Enderts Beach
On the way to these beaches we also stopped at Klamath River Overlook, but we couldn’t see anything due to the heavy fog. If you take Enderts road along the Crescent Beach you’ll get to the Crescent Beach Overlook point. From there a short 0.75 trail goes to the remote Enderts beach.
Stop 4: Howland Hill Road
After Fern Canyon this is my favorite part of our trip. Howland Hill Road is an unpaved one lane 10-mile road in-between of giant redwoods. Sometimes the road gets very narrow and you need to squeeze in between 2 trees. Passing is a fun part, especially in hiking areas, like Stout Grove. We stopped a little further from that area to avoid traffic and walked to the hiking trails. We made 1-mile loop trail, but there are several longer routes as well.
Not the best picture, but gives an idea of how the road looks like:
Stop 5: Summit Lake North campground in Lassen Volcanic National Park
To avoid repeating the same road we went up to Oregon and drove to Lassen Volcanic National Park via Mount Shasta area. Mount Shasta is seen on the bottom picture. It was unexpected to see it covered in snow. But even more surprisingly was to see more snow in Lassen Volcanic.
Summit North Lake campground is also nice. The only disadvantage is mosquitoes so don’t forget to take anti mosquito spray if you decide to camp there!