Climbers will know Fern Canyon from the Dark Shadows climb. Most climbers follow the upper path, which is a dirt/rock trail that works it way WNW under cliffs N of Pine Creek. If you enjoy bouldering, I highly recommend you follow the stream up the canyon instead or you could easily miss the many ponds, pools, ferns, and lush vegetation. Use the dead pine in the photo as a landmark for when to leave the dirt/rock trail and enter the streambed. Follow the stream PAST the climbers launch for Dark Shadows, and turn the corner heading W into the canyon as the cliffs narrow above (N of Mescalito). As the canyon narrows, continue bouldering (class II and III), or scramble up the many game trails (very steep and rocky) to the end of the canyon (ends in seasonal waterfall). Don't feel bad if you don't make it to the end -- this is about 6 miles RT from the parking lot and gets very rough in the end. Instead, enjoy the incredible sights and sounds, many rest/lunch spots.