Overview of the Lost Coast Trail, California

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UPDATED October 26, 2016

Over the next month, we will be reporting on our trip through the Lost Coast.  The posts will include our daily trip diaries, food preparation, and current conditions and tips.  We plan to revisit and update the posts as we think of new ideas and new resources.

The Lost Coast trail is located in Northern California in Humboldt County. The shoreline at the southern end of the trail is so seismically unstable, the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) had to be moved miles inland.  Out of all the trekking trips on our to do list, the Lost Coast trail has long been on the top of the list. Being Californians, we felt this was a classic trail we had to tackle.

The 11 hour drive from Orange County has always been the main deterrent for us. However, due to the high number of fires in the Sierras, we had to cancel our week-long section hike of the John Muir Trail (JMT) and immediately jumped into planning the Lost Coast Trail after we heard a rumor about a potential quota restriction next year (see Permits and Restrictions for more details).

The Quick and Dirty:
Location: 
Located in Humboldt County, California.  The Lost Coast is broken into two sections, the Kings Range Wilderness and the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. The Kings Range Wilderness section, which is the most popular stretch of the Lost Coast Trail, is located at Mattole Beach to Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove.
Distance: 25 miles on the north trail, one way. We hiked from the southern end to north and back (50 miles total). While flat, the trail was tough because of the rocky terrain and soft sand.
Best Time: Year round, the area gets around 100 inches of rain every year. 
Duration: About 3.5 days with early mornings and afternoon breaks to wait for low tide. 
Permits and Restrictions: Permits can be obtained at either Matthole Beach or Black Sands Beach trailhead until January 8, 2017. Beginning January 9, 2017, advanced backcountry permits will be required.  Click here for more details. Make sure to obtain a fire permit online or at the ranger’s office if you plan on using a stove for cooking. A bear canister is also required for this trail and available for rental at the local BLM office.  As of September 2015, The ranger stated their may be a quota implemented in 2016.  Dogs are allowed on the trail. We did not bring Dakota with us because we were concerned the coastal terrain would be too hard on her paws.

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Trail Report: The Wave, Arizona

After spending a day hiking around Zion National Park, we spent another night in Hurricane and left early Sunday morning and headed towards The Wave, in Arizona.The drive from Hurricane to The Wave is about 2 hours. One thing we forgot to take into account was the time difference between Utah and Arizona, since this was before day lights savings time, we actually gained an hour going from Utah to Arizona and made it to the trail head around 7:30 AM. Once you turn off from Hwy 89 onto Red Rock Canyon Road, the road becomes unpaved and this last 10 mile stretch will take about 30 minutes depending on the road condition and weather. Based on our permit, a high clearance, 4WD vehicle came highly recommended but since there was no rain in the recent forecast, we decided to test out the road with our 2WD. The trail was surprisingly well maintained and luckily, we arrived at the trail head with no problems.

My recommendation for anyone who wants to drive a 2WD to The Wave is to check the weather forecast and make sure there is no rain predicted in the forecast. The  soil is fine and clayey on the road, with rain, it would be VERY easy to get stuck.

The Wave

The start of the trail, note the bright pink permit I had to hang off my backpack. Only 20 people are allowed on this trail per day.
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Trail Report- Zion National Park Angel’s Landing and Canyon Overlook Trail

Back in July, I was selected as one of the lucky lottery recipients with a day hike pass to the Wave, in Arizona. For more details of how I applied for the lottery, see old post HERE.

On the last weekend of October, the trip to The Wave finally came. Since our day hike for The Wave was on Sunday, we decided to string on a couple stops to make the weekend trip more memorable. First stop was an old favorite, Zion National Park to hike the famous Angel’s Landing.

Zion National Park

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