Fern Canyon (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA)

Steven Spielberg saw its primeval potential for Jurassic Park 2, the backdrop for the T. Rex chase scene. Fern Canyon is an impossibly verdant gorge, carved out millions of years ago by a retreating sea, its vertical walls literally covered with walls of ferns, five species of them, and mosses. Water seems to seep out of the sides throughout the year, providing a very moist environment for these plants to flourish. The stream that cuts through the canyon sometimes gets high enough that wooden planks must be placed down at strategic points to prevent hikers from getting their shoes too wet. It’s worth the diversion off Hwy 101 to take this short but spectacular 1-mile hike.

Five-fingered Fern, one of 5 species in Fern Canyon

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