Permits are required May 1st to September 30th in order to visit the Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area including the Fern Canyon Trailhead. This is effective as of May 2022. Permits are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis and can be reserved up until 11:59 pm (PST) the day before. We highly recommend booking your permits in advance.
2023 permit reservations will available starting April 15th, 2023. Please check back to make your summer 2023 reservations for Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Permits.
Although the online permit is free, day-use fees are required at Fern Canyon and will be collected at the Gold Bluffs Beach kiosk. You may pay using $12 cash/check (no cards are accepted), America the Beautiful Passes, California State Park Annual Pass or Poppy Pass, or a current park campground reservation. Visitors with a current Gold Bluffs Beach Campground reservation do not need to apply for a permit.
Fern canyon is not a wheelchair accessible trail and pets are not permitted. Service animals are welcome. Pets are allowed at the nearby Gold Bluffs Beach if they are on a 6-foot leash.
Expect to get your feet wet! Fern Canyon is a 1-mile ‘lolly-pop’ loop with an elevation gain of 150 feet taking at least 30 minutes. Visitors also have the option to hike a quarter of a mile into the canyon and turn around for a shorter adventure.
Bring your water shoes! There is no trail inside of Fern Canyon and you must cross the stream to experience the canyon. Even with seasonal footbridges in the summer, visitors often get their feet wet. Expect to get your feet wet!
Fern Canyon is in a remote area of the park. Cell reception is not guaranteed.
Fern Canyon Trailhead has pit toilets, picnic tables, trash cans, and beach access. There is no potable water or concessions at the trailhead. Remember to bring water and food with you!
• Davison Road is a 7.5-mile windy, dirt road and is recommended for passenger vehicles only. Trailers and large RVs are prohibited.
• Parking is not available along Davison Road if you are unable to secure a permit to Fern Canyon. Vehicles parked along Davison Road will be subject to citation.
• There are two stream crossing you will have to drive through 1.3 miles from the Fern Canyon Trailhead. Be prepared to cross the streams in your vehicle or walk the additional 1.3 miles. High clearance, 4-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended, especially in the early summer.
Apply for the Gold Bluffs Day-Use Permit. This permit allows you to park at the Day-Use parking area only.
Prepared visitors can take an all-day hike to Fern Canyon! Park at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park near the visitor center and hike into Fern Canyon via the James Irvine Trail (4 to 8-hour hike, 10 miles round-trip)
Email [email protected] or call the park's general information line at (707)464-6101
*please be advised that this phone number is not always staffed and your best place for information regarding your permit will be either the email confirmation or website.
Permits for the 2023 summer season will be available starting April 15th, 2023.