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Fern Canyon
a
Kamp Klamath
Adventure




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph of three visitors at fern tapestried cliff inside Fern Canyon.

Sixty Foot cliffs tapestried with ferns and misty waterfalls

You may have already viewed portions of this natural wonder if you watched the movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park or the British Broadcasting Company's Walking with Dinosaurs or IMAX'S Dinosaurs Alive! Fern Canyon was selected as the set for these films because of its otherworldly effect it has on those who enter it.

Photograph of driftwood on Gold Bluffs Beach.

Shortly after turning off Highway 101 at Elk Meadow, paved Davison Road transitions to an often dusty graded and sometimes narrow single lane. After eight miles of winding through new growth fir and redwood trees, the road emerges at Gold Bluffs beach. A State Park employee will happily accept the $8 entrance fee of a few dollars and offer updates on the beach road and the Canyon. As you pass the kiosk, the beach to your left was once the location of a short-lived gold mining camp that sported a sprinkling of tents and a plank-on-two-barrels open-air saloon.

Photogreaph of Roosevelt Elk bull.

As you travel north along the beach, you are likely to see a number of Roosevelt Elk bulls as they graze on the roadside. By the time tourism season arrives, most elk cows have been claimed and rounded up by the dominant bull and these also- ran fellows wander the meadows in anticipation of next year’s opportunity to once again vie for the ladies’ affections. Truly a "Stag Party".

Cartoon of gold miner holding nugget.

Rising to your right are cliffs of sedimentary deposits composed of rounded stones, pebbles and sand. This is the remnant of an ancient river, perhaps an ancestor of the Klamath River. It is the gold which eroded from these cliffs, along with the amber tint of the clioff gravel, that gave Gold Bluffs Beach its name.

Shortly after gold was discovered in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, seekers of the precious metal begin prospecting in distant areas of California. Three of these explorers, working their way south from Crescent City discovered a thin layer of fine gold coating the beach sands here. As the waves crashed into the bluffs, they tore away some of the rocks and gravel and dragged them, along with minor amounts of gold, back towards the ocean. Because gold is five times heavier than the beach sand, it hung back as the sand was washed away and down into the ocean, leaving a single layer of golden residue that gleamed in the sun.

The three prospectors wrapped their excitement in a pledge of secrecy as they made their way to San Francisco. They spent their treasure there on supplies and mining equipment and not just a little on whiskey at a local cantina. The alcohol soon un-stitched their lips, sealed earlier by a blood-brother promise of secrecy, and their gold strike quickly became the talk of the town. Shortly after their return to Gold Bluffs Beach, the trio was overrun by prospectors arriving on foot, on horseback and upon passing ships, from which they jumped and swam in, eager to share in the wealth.

Unfortunately, although touted by Bay Area newspapers as the new California gold rush of historic proportions, the fine flakes of gold soon panned out and the only profits to be made were by those who brought in supplies,
whiskey and women.

After passing though a couple of shallow creeks, Davison Road ends at a paved parking lot. There are rest rooms here along with picnic tables. A sign reminds visitors that dogs are not allowed along the Canyon trail. Another sign reveals some of the more interesting facts about the Canyon and its unusual plant and animal residents.

Photograph of ancient tree at entrance to Fern Canyon.

"Old man" tree alongside the trail leading to the canyon entrance.

Photograph o Piggyback plant in Fern Canyon.

"Piggyback" plant growing alongside Home Creek in Fern Canyon.

Photograph of fern covered walls of Fern Canyon.

The trail to and through the Canyon is a half mile of photographic delight. The trail crosses Home Creek numerous times over seasonally-placed foot bridges. Check with Park rangers or call Kamp Klamath for placement updates.

Photograph of woman resting on large tree root in Fern Canyon.

There are a number of great photo opportunities along the canyon stream.

Photograph of couple at the side trail waterfall in Fern Canyon.

This seasonal waterfall is located at the end of a short side trail in Fern Canyon.

Photograph of iris flower patch in the Lincold Flat Meadow above Fern Canyon.

Upon reaching the end of the canyon trail, you may retrace your steps to return to your car or you may opt to return via the canyon rim trail. Rising to the left at the end of the in-canyon trail are ninety-two steps cut into the hillside leading up to the rim trail. As you follow this path you will enter a forest of tightly-packed Douglas fir trees, each reaching desperately skyward to capture their share of life-giving solar energy.

Soon, the trail passes a meadow on the left. This is the site of Lincoln Flats, a nineteenth century gold mining camp. Until the Redwood National Park took possession of the site, there remained remnants of miners' cabins and gold recovery sluice boxes. These were demolished and burned in a public safety and "back-to-nature" restoration program.

Photograph of wild iris flower in Lincoldn Flat Meadow.

The Lincoln Flat meadow is now home to the occasional Roosevelt Elk and large patches of wild Iris.

The far edge of the meadow drops straight down into the canyon, offering an excellent aerial view of this massive gash in the forest floor.

The trail continues through the mixed species forest, then downwards to its juction with Home Creek and the trail back to the parking area.

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Kamp Klamath RV Park and Campground
1661 West Klamath Beach Road / P. O. Box 99
Klamath, California 95548

TEL 707.482.0227 / TOLL FREE 1.866.KLAMATH / FAX 707.482.014

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