California polypody ferns in a mossy, moist environment.
California polypody ferns thrive in a mossy, moist environment at Pinnacles.

NPS / Keir Morse


The dry climate of Pinnacles may seem like an unlikely place for ferns to grow. During the summer months, deep canyons provide shade for moisture-loving species, such as maidenhair and horsetail ferns. In fact, Pinnacles hosts the Giant chain fern, which usually grows in coniferous forests and other wooded habitat (think of Muir Woods National Monument). However, there are several other species that tolerate much drier conditions, such as the bird’s foot, three leaf tree foil, and the coffee fern. These smaller species are some of the few plants that can grow in the iconic, rocky barren parts of Pinnacles.

Explore the photo gallery below to help you identify the fern species you may see at Pinnacles.


Last updated: March 19, 2019

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Mailing Address:

5000 Highway 146
Paicines, CA 95043


(831) 389-4486
To contact the Pinnacles Campground, please call (831) 200-1722.

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