With so many of California’s best-known natural wonders loved to death, we decided to look for less-traveled alternatives across the state, especially in Northern California. First up:
Seven different varieties of fern including the descendants of species dating back millions of years line the steep walls of a narrow gorge in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The short loop trail takes you past hanging greenery, tiny waterfalls and moss gardens.
Claim to fame: Steven Spielberg filmed a scene from “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” in the canyon.
Special considerations: It’s a wet hike. Waterproof boots or river sandals are recommended.
Camping: Gold Bluffs Beach Campground and Elk Prairie Campground are nearby.
Getting there: Moderately difficult. While Fern Canyon isn’t really remote compared to other destinations on this list, the 10-mile drive over unpaved road from Highway 101 at Orick helps keep the mobs away. Cost to enter: $8 per car.
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