Lost Coast Camp Sites

One of the biggest issues we had with finding information for our trip was understanding common camp grounds along the Lost Coast.  With the exception of a few places, most of the campsites will have water or creeks available. Below is a quick guide to some of the popular camp sites along the northern stretch of the coast.  Sites are listed north to south.  Each site will have information including type of camp site, size, conditions of soil, natural wind protection, and water availability.

Size will be broken out by Large (6+ sites), Medium (3-5 sites), Small (1-3 sites) established camp sites.  There are plenty of viable sites along the trail, but we chose to use established sites for LNT (leave no trace).

Matolle Beach Camp

Type: RV Camp Ground
Size: Large
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack
Protection: Trees
Notes: Matolle Beach is a busy “car” camp ground.  It is also the common start point for many hiking North to South.  Suggestion to hike in a bit to get away from the crowds.

Matolle Beach

Punta Gorda/South of Lighthouse

Type: Primative/Beach
Size: Medium
Water: Yes, seasonal creeks
Soil Type: Sand
Protection: No
Notes: We camped here our second night just south of the light house along the beach.  Areas along the trail have a lot of poison oak.  Winds are high and area is exposed.  We spotted about six solid sites between Punta Gorda and Sea Lion Gulch along the trail and beach.

Punta Gorda

Sea Lion Gulch

Type: Bluff
Size: Medium
Water: Yes, creeks in between campsites
Soil Type: Hard pack and sand.
Protection: No
Notes: The campsites here are all sloped, making it uncomfortable.  We passed on the series of camp sites here.  The area is too exposed and gusts were strong enough to push us aside as we hiked.  Some camp sites were available by the abandoned cabin just south of Sea Lion Gulch, but an immediate water source is a hike away from the area.

Sea Lion Gulch

Cooskie Creek

Type: Creek side
Size: Large
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack and sand.
Protection: Yes
Notes: The campsites are situated inside the canyon.  Only problem is access is difficult due to high tide.  There seems to be an unmarked trail that leads to Cooskie Creek above the ridge line and bluffs.

Cooskie Creek

Randall Creek

Type: Bluff and Creek side
Size: Medium
Water: Yes, creeks
Soil Type: Hard pack and sand.
Protection: No
Notes: We saw four camp sites visible from the trail.  Two on the bluff, two by the beach/creek.  The campsites on the beach are probably not usable during wet season.  Creek side camps are well protected, bluff tops are exposed.

Randall Creek

Spanish Flats

Type: Bluff
Size: Large
Water: Yes, creeks in between campsites
Soil Type: Hard pack
Protection: No on bluff tops
Notes: The campsites here are scattered.  Starting from Randall Creek and on, there are plenty of sites that are very exposed along the flat. Not recommended on windy days and nights.

Spanish Flats

Spanish Creek

Type: Creek side
Size: Medium
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack, gravel, and sand
Protection: Yes
Notes: The campsites are scattered close to the creek.  We saw about four good camp sites.  About two are well protected from wind.

Spanish Creek is just to the south (right on the photo). Continue past the debri field.

Spanish Creek is just to the south (right on the photo). Continue past the debri field.

Kinsey Creek

Type: Creek side
Size: Small
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack and sand.
Protection: No
Notes: Visually, we saw three good camp sites, all exposed with no natural barriers and protection.

Kinsey Creek

Big Creek

Type: Creek
Size: Large
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack, gravel, and sand.
Protection: Yes and No
Notes: The campsites close to the beach end do not have natural barriers.  If you hike in a 1/4 of a mile, there are good camp sites with tree coverage.

Big Creek

Big Flat – Big Flat Creek – Miller Creek

Type: Beach and Creek side
Size: Large
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack, gravel, and sand.
Protection: Yes and No
Notes: We lumped this area together since they are all close together.  There is an air field here.  Plenty of camp sites creekside for tree coverage.  More exposed areas by the beach have good camp sites as well.  A very busy site.

Big Flat

Shipman Creek

Type: Creek side
Size: Medium
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack, gravel, and sand.
Protection: Yes
Notes: Popular camp site, locked in during high tide.

IMG_20150901_175204

Buck Creek

Type: Creek side
Size: Medium
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Hard pack, gravel, and sand.
Protection: Yes
Notes: Popular camp site, locked in during high tide.  Just past Shipman creek with similar terrain and lay out.  Unfortunately, no photo is available.

Gitchell Creek

Type: Creek side
Size: Large
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Sand
Protection: Yes and No
Notes: Popular camp site with addition space inside the canyon.  Visible campsites with some wind protection on the beach.  Large group space for unprotected camping.

Gitchell Creek

Pepperwood Spring

Type: Creek side
Size: Small
Water: Yes
Soil Type: Sand
Protection: No
Notes: Small site.  We saw one established camp ground.  There is another site just passed Pepperwood Spring that would make a decent camp site if you are too tired to head in or out to Black Sands Beach.  No photo available.

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