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.