Gold Bluffs Beach & Fern Canyon Day-use Reservations

An image of Fern Canyon. A river bank flows through a small canyon. The canyon walls are covered in Ferns.

Step 1: Learn about the Gold Bluffs Beach Area

The Gold Bluffs Beach area offers many recreational activities such as walking the Fern Canyon Trail Loop, picnicking on the beach, fishing in the ocean, and so much more.

  • Fern Canyon reservations are separate from Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area reservations, the day-use area parking is before the campground and offers you easy beach access. Fern Canyon reservations allow you to continue out Davison Road to the trailhead where you can park and easily walk into the canyon.
  • Vehicle Access: The Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area is located off of U.S. Hwy 101 about 5 miles out on Davison Road. RVs over 24 feet and trailers are not permitted on Davison Road.
    • For Fern Canyon Reservations please allow at least 2 hours to complete. Be prepared to drive through two (2) stream crossings and get your feet wet.
  • The Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area is a fee area. You may pay using $12.00 cash/check (no cards accepted), America the Beautiful Passes, California's State Parks Annual or Poppy Pass, or a current California State Parks campground reservation.
  • Pets can be walked on a 6-foot leash on Gold Bluffs Beach. Pets are not permitted in Fern Canyon, service animals exempt. Learn more about where you can take your pet.
  • Gold Bluffs Beach and Elk Prairie Campground Campers - Visitors with a current Gold Bluffs Beach or Elk Prairie Campground reservation do not need to apply for a Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area or Fern Canyon reservation.
A black box with rounded edged. A white graphic calendar with a check mark is inside the box.

Step 2: Make a Reservation

Reservations are only issued online. Reservations will not be issued in park visitor centers and often fill up quickly in the summer. Plan ahead in order to have the best chance to secure a reservation.

  • The Gold Bluffs Beach entrance station (kiosk) will be checking reservations and taking fee payments. The government-issued photo ID associated with your permit must be shown to gain access.
  • Your reservation is for the entire day (9:00 am to sunset). You may access your reserved location at any time within the designated hours. You do not have to arrive right at 9:00 am for your reservation to be valid, anytime during the day is fine.
  • Reservations are being issued by our non-profit partner, Redwood Parks Conservancy.

There are three types of reservations available:

Location Fern Canyon Trailhead Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use
(no parking at Fern Canyon Trailhead)
Reservation Name In-Advance Reservation Day-Before Reservation Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use
Availability Available starting am 12:00 am (PT)
6 months prior to May 15th, 2024
Must be reserved by 11:59 pm the day before.
Available beginning at 9:00 am the day
before your selected date
Reservations are reserved very quickly, often filling
shortly after 9:00 am.
Available starting am 12:00 am (PT)
6 months prior to May 15th, 2024
Must be reserved by 11:59 pm the day before.


Step 3: Take your Reservation to the Park

Check your junk / spam folders for an email from Redwood National and State Parks. The Gold Bluffs Beach entrace station will be checking reservations and taking fee payments. The government-issued photo ID associated with your permit must be shown to gain access.


Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area & Fern Canyon Reservation FAQs

The implementation of a reservation system will allow Redwood National and State Parks to: 

  1. Provide a high-quality visitor experience in which overcrowding of parking lots and trail systems will not deter visitors from having the ability to seek out recreational experiences that allow for a connection to the natural environment.

  2. Reservation system during peak summer months will allow for the protection of natural resources

  3. Provide adequate ability for law enforcement and emergency services to provide responses during emergencies which was impeded by un-restricted parking and overcrowding of roadways.

No, you do not need to reserve both in order to visit Gold Bluffs Beach. If you have a Fern Canyon reservation then you can access the beach from this parking area. 
If your permit is for the Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area you will have to walk up Davison Road or the beach to get to Fern Canyon, it is not accessible from this day-use area. 

May 15 – September 15th. From September 16th to May 14th, day use at Gold Bluffs Beach will be unrestricted.

Any park visitor driving to Gold Bluffs Beach for Day-Use access who wants to park at either the Gold Bluffs Beach picnic area or Fern Canyon. There will be no restrictions to visitors walking to Fern Canyon from the Prairie Creek Visitor Center or along Davison Road during that time. Campers at the Gold Bluffs Beach or Elk Prairie Campground will not be required to obtain a day-use reservation for access (must show a current campsite/campground tag).

Find an available date and time and reserve your spot. A confirmation email will be sent to you immediately after booking your permit, and will also be re-sent to you 24 hours before the date/time of your reservation. Visitors will be required to either print out this confirmation email, or take a screen shot, and present this at the time of arrival at the Gold Bluffs Beach entrance station. The person whose name is designated on the permit must be present in the vehicle at the time of arrival, and show a valid proof of identification.

There will be several reservations available to visitors.

  • 100 In-Advance Fern Canyon Trailhead Reservations
  • 50 Day-Before Fern Canyon Trailhead Reservations
  • 25 Gold Bluffs Beach Picnic Area Reservations

In-Advance reservations will be available beginning in November 2023 for the 2024 reservation season. 
Day-before reservations will be available starting at 8:00 am the day before the reservation date.

After booking your reservation on you be given the option to save this event on your calendar (from the booking website) and will also immediately receive an email confirmation. Please check your spam/junk folder if you don’t see this email in your primary inbox. This email will be sent from Redwood National and State Parks.

Please read this confirmation email thoroughly as it will pertain important information to help you plan your visit. After reading your confirmation email, and visiting the permits page on, if you still have questions, you are welcome to visit any of the Visitor Center locations within Redwood National and State Parks. You are also welcome to call (707) 464-6101 (general park information line) but 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.

Proof of reservation will be required upon entry to the Gold Bluffs Beach Day-use area. The reservation holder must be in the vehicle and will be required to provide their name and a valid photo ID.

Yes, you can cancel or change your existing permit using the email confirmation you receive immediately after making your reservation. Please save this email.

If you are unable to visit on the day of your reservation, please take the time (less than 2 mins) to cancel your reservation. Limited reservations are available and we appreciate your assistance with ensuring that as many visitors as possible are able to get a reservation.

Yes. You will still be able to access Fern Canyon via trails within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The hike is approximately 10.4 miles round-trip from the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, located off of the Newton B. Drury Parkway, via the James Irvine Trail. If you plan to hike to Fern Canyon, please start your hike early and be prepared by planning ahead.

No. Once a reservation is reserved with a name, that person will need to be present in the vehicle upon your arrival to Gold Bluffs Beach to gain entry. You are required to show the government-issued photo ID coorelated with your permit in order to gain entry. No ID, no reservation.

The Gold Bluffs Beach reservation will allow a vehicle to enter Gold Bluffs Beach Day-Use Area via Davison Road. Parking is permitted only at the designated parking area listed on the reservation along Gold Bluffs Beach and the Fern Canyon parking lot.

Visitors with a Gold Bluffs Beach or Elk Prairie Campground reservation will not need to apply for a day-use reservation. Campground reservation must be current, at the entrance station you need to show your current campsite tag.

Last updated: May 6, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1111 Second Street
Crescent City, CA 95531


707 464-6101

Contact Us