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How To Hike The Lost Coast Trail

How to Hike the Lost Coast Trail

In This Guide
  • How To Plan Your Lost Coast Trail Hike
  • Getting Permits for the Lost Coast Trail
  • Preparing for the Trip
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions
Total Distance (?)25.5 miles (41.1 km)
Hike Time2-4 Days (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)1,000 feet (305m)
Highest Elevation130 feet (40m)
Fees & PermitsPermit
Dogs AllowedOff Leash Okay
Alerts & Closures (?)King Range National Conservation Area
Park Phone707-986-5400
Weather & ForecastLatest Conditions
Stay SafeCopy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.
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Worthy of any hiking bucket list, the Lost Coast Trail offers a challenging adventure along California’s longest stretch of undeveloped coastline. You’ll hike along the boundary where the King Range Wilderness and the Pacific Ocean collide, showcasing nature’s beautiful and powerful forces. This guide will cover everything you need to know to make the Lost Coast Trail a reality, from planning to preparing and then doing the hike. There are several sections of Lost Coast Trail; in this guide, I’ll cover the most popular stretch from Mattole Beach to Shelter Cove’s Black Sands Beach.

Quick Lost Coast Trail Overview

Lost Coast Overview Map
The Lost Coast Trail has two sections, with the most popular section being the northern portion from Mattole Beach to Shelter Cove pictured here. This guide covers everything you need to know to hike this part of the Lost Coast Trail.

Planning Your Lost Coast Trip

Lost Coast Planning Sunset
The Lost Coast Trail is a place of magical moments and immense beauty, but you can’t just show up and hike. Planning your trip carefully is vital to smooth experience.

The Lost Coast Favors the PreparedBureau of Land Management

The King Range NCA and Lost Coast have many miles of trails. There are hundreds of itineraries and routes you could put together. There are inland trails (that don’t have water) where you could do a loop. There’s a southern section of the Lost Coast. And they’re all fun. But the classic “Lost Coast Trail Hike” is the section from Mattole Beach to Shelter Cove, which we’ll cover here.

How Many Days Do You Have?

Lost Coast Camping
The Lost Coast isn’t about bagging miles; it’s about enjoying magical places. You’ll want time to soak it all in.

First off, pick how long you’d like to take for the hike. Since this hike is so remote and difficult to line up, I’d recommend spending as much time here as possible. Here are my recommendations.

When Do You Want to Go?

Lost Coast Water Sources
One of the nice things about this trip is that the water is plentiful along the trail, even in the summer. Usually all the named creeks (on the map) will have water flowing to the ocean. Most campsites are conveniently located close to these rivers.

The “season” on the Lost Coast is April to September. During this time the weather is often dry and the temperatures are warm. And although it’s easier to bag a permit (there are 60 persons allowed per day from May 15 to September 15), it’s still very competitive to get a slot.

The off-season conditions on the Lost Coast are tougher. The weather can be stormy, the temperatures can go down to freezing, and there can even be light snow on the mountains above (but not on the trail). Occasionally after heavy rains the stream crossings are impassable. If you really want a challenge, attempting the Lost Coast Trail when it’s raining, with above-normal tides, and temperatures in the 40Fs has got to be up there. There are also only 30 persons allowed per day on the Lost Coast Trail from Sep 16 to May 14.

A sweet spot can be the shoulder seasons, which in today’s climate often have summer-like conditions. Mid-March to May 15 and September 16 to November 1st can be great options.

Note that whenever you visit the Lost Coast Trail, the weather can be horrible. This is a marine environment where the weather can be finicky. No matter how much planning you do, you can’t control the weather.

Planning For the Tides

How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 9
Steep slopes and high tides can make portions of the Lost Coast Trail like this impassable. Even when the tide is low, as pictured here, hiking through these “impassable zone” sections requires care and vigilance.

After you pick the dates you want to hike, you need to make sure that the tides will allow you actually to hike on those days. There are three “impassable zones” along the Lost Coast Trail that you can only cross when the conditions are right.

Lost Coast Tide Zones
Here are the three impassable zones, all marked in red. They are also on the interactive map (later in the guide) and in the downloadable GPX file. You need to plan on crossing these red areas when the tide is below 3 feet. There are usually two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours

To figure out when the tides are low enough to cross the zones, go to the NOAA website for Shelter Cove tides. Put your dates in, and then enter “3” in the “threshold value” box, and press “plot daily.” We’re entering 3 for 3 feet, which is considered the maximum tidal height to cross. Anything below 3 and you should be good. You’ll get something that looks like this.

Lost Coast Tide Chart
Here’s the tide chart with the threshold value set at 3 (feet). Wherever you see red, the tide will be too high for the impassable sections. A deep (low) dip means that the tide will be out far enough to pass. A shallow dip (like the first one here) is iffy.
Lost Coast Tide Chart 2
You have to make sure that the low tide (dips) are long enough for you to cross. Ideally you start crossing an impassable area as the tide recedes below 3 feet. In this case hitting the beginning of a zone around 1pm will give us 3 hours to cross, more than enough time.

Hikers have died in the tidal zones. If swept in the water, you will have a maximum of 20 minutes before you go hypothermic, have the clothes ripped from your body by the strong currents, and get battered against the sharp rocks. Bodies from those swept to sea are rarely recovered.

Plan a Rough Itinerary

Lost Coast Camps Example
Some campsites are within the impassable tide zone. These campsites are set back from the beach, often in a canyon carved by a river or stream. They serve as good bail-out areas if the tide sneaks up, but also can be peaceful overnight stops if you time the tides correctly.

Once you have your dates and know the tides, it’s time to plan a rough itinerary along the route. There’s an interactive map below with the impassable tide zones and campsites that you can plan with. The nice thing about the Lost Coast Trail is that there many options for camping. The campsites are all primitive and usually have several flat clearings for tents and maybe a fire ring. Outside of the marked campsites you can camp on the beach (where it’s safe from tides) or on any flat that isn’t private land (more later). Which campsites are the nicest? You can’t go wrong at any of them.

Lost Coast Trail Unnamed Camp
Outside of the marked campsites there are dozens of impromptu spots like this, especially on the non-beach flat areas. The only drawback of a spot like this is that you are not close to a water source.

Permits

Alright, by this point you have some dates, you know where you want to hike, and you have an idea of the challenges. So know you can get a permit. Well, hopefully get a permit.

First, you can only get a permit online at Recreation.gov. There are no walk-up permits or last-minute options; it’s online only. Next year’s permits are released on October 1st. So for all dates in 2023, the permits are all open on October 1, 2022. I’ve never had a problem getting the dates that I want if I go on the website very early on October 1st.

The maximum group size is 3 people. If you have more than 3 people, you need to get multiple permits.

You can also check the website anytime for random open slots. Don’t expect any in the high season, but you can usually find a few in off-season. And if you have a reservation and can’t make it, be kind, go online and cancel your reservation so that it opens up for others.

Lost Coast Trail Permit
When you get your permit, put Mattole as your start, Black Sands Beach (Shelter Cove) as your end.

Can’t get a permit? Maybe you can find an open slot with a guided tour like those from REI Adventures or Lost Coast Adventure Tours.

There is no formal check-in with the permit, but you will occasionally find rangers waiting at the shuttle drop at Mattole Beach to check permits. I’ve also heard of rangers doing permit checks at the Shelter Cove / Black Sands Beach parking area for backpackers. If you are doing a day hike on any stretch of the Lost Coast Trail, you do not need a permit.

Getting to the Lost Coast Trail

When you have your permit, you’ll need to book your travel. The Lost Coast Trail is remote; even the trip to the trailhead is a challenge. Unless you live close enough to drive to the trailhead, you’ll probably be flying in and renting a car.

Click Here To View

Guided tour groups generally do their pickups from Sacramento Airport because they have decent airline service and are away from Bay Area traffic. Your best flight options will be into San Francisco (SFO), but you might have to fight through some traffic on an already long drive. The other airports in the area are all small with limited service and limited rental car options. The closest airport, in Eureka, is known for fog. In fact, the Navy built that airport specifically to test conditions for landing in fog. And even Eureka is still two hours away from Shelter Cove.

If you are going to overnight before or after the hike, I highly recommend staying in an inn at Shelter Cove instead of some of the other farther away options. Shelter Cove is a quiet little town perched next to the ocean where, as one local says, “no one comes here without intending to come here.” The lodging and dining options are limited compared to more developed areas, but they are all friendly, clean, charming, and generally lovely.

Bucket list backpacking trip, but harder than you think. Shelter Cove is a great little town, and Gyppo Brewery is a must-stop. Don’t tell your friends about this trail.Recreation.gov Reviewer

Lost Coast Trail Trailheads

The southern trailhead for this hike is in Shelter Cove, CA. You can leave your car here if you have a permit, and you pick up the shuttle in this parking lot. Use this trailhead address:
Black Sands Beach Trailhead, 865 Beach Rd, Shelter Cove, CA 95589

The northern trailhead (if you’re doing your own shuttle) is:
Mattole Campground, 3750 Lighthouse Rd, Petrolia, CA 95558

Trail Logistics & Shuttle

Lost Coast Trail Shuttle Map
This guide covers the point-to-point hike on the Lost Coast Trail from Mattole Beach to Shelter Cove in the south. Although only 21 miles apart as the crow flies, the drive takes more like 2 hours and involves steep and winding roads in various states of existence.

Even if you have two cars, I’d recommend taking a one-way shuttle to the start at Mattole Beach. Why?

I’ve used Lost Coast Adventure Tours shuttle service and they’ve always been great. They can even rent you bear canisters (more on that in a bit). Book your shuttle as soon as you bag your permit; the shuttles can sell out as well.

Tipping Tip: It’s customary to tip the shuttle driver 20% or so.

Gear For the Lost Coast Trail

How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 20
You must have a bear canister if you want to hike the Lost Coast Trail. Luckily there are some options if you don’t have one already.

Gear for the Lost Coast Trail is pretty straightforward and luckily you don’t have to lug a lot of water around. But you do hike through wet sand, over slippery rocks, and across some boulders where carrying a pack can be tricky. Overall try to stay as light as possible and you should be okay. There are no outfitters in the area; your should buy your gear before arriving and practice with it at home.

For specific gear recommendations, check out my gear page, which was last updated May 2022.

New Osprey Exos

Best Overnight Backpack: Osprey Exos 58
This is a popular backpack with thru-hikers for a good reason: it’s light, durable, and roomy. This pack only weighs a fraction more than my daypack (under 3lbs) and carries 58 liters, enough for a long tripAnd the back is well-ventilated so it doesn’t become a soaked mess.

Osprey Aura AG 65: REI | Amazon
Osprey Exos 58: REI | Amazon 

Rei Half Dome Sl 2

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent
I use this tent all the time and love it. It’s easy to set up, relatively inexpensive, not too heavy, and durable. If you take the tent components out of the bag and put them in my backpack individually, and it packs down to nothing.

Latest Prices: REI

Garmin Inreach Mini 2

Garmin InReach Mini 2
I’m a firm believer in carrying a satellite communications device which works where cell phones don’t. I use a Garmin InReach which lets me send text messages back and forth to my family to let them know that I’m okay or if my plans change when I’m out in the backcountry. It also has an SOS subscription built-in so that you can reach first-responders in an emergency. The devices also offer weather reports, GPS, and navigation functionality (what’s the difference between a GPS and satellite communicator?). For a few hundred bucks they could save your life, so for me it’s a no brainer to have something like a Garmin InReach. If you use a smartphone to navigate and want a more affordable option that integrates with your phone easily, check out the ZOLEO.

Latest Prices: Amazon | REI

Here’s my complete camping gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated May 2022.

My May 2022 Top Camping Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Lost Coast Trail Camping

How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 15
I’d rate camping along the Lost Coast Trail as some of the best in the world. Expect ocean views, sunsets, and a salty breeze.

Good campsites are found, not made.

Camping is pretty straightforward on the Lost Coast Trail. Here’s the deal.

Considering bringing a dog? They are allowed and I often see them on the Lost Coast Trail, but it’s a tough slog, so make sure your pup is energetic and that you have paw pads. And leashes are required between Punta Gorda and Sea Lion Gulch to protect the marine wildlife (and your dog).

Lost Coast Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

To access this guide when out of cell phone range on the trail, simply save the webpage on your phone ( iPhoneAndroid ).

How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 16
You’ll see a few trail markers, but not at all the junctions.
How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 7
Always look for trails up to the bluffs or grass like the one here on the left. The hiking is much easier in the grass area than on the beach. The harsh maritime climate can sometimes make these turnoffs hard to spot, so it’s always good to consult the GPS maps and be on the lookout for upcoming portions that lead off the beach.

Landmarks on the Hike

Some impassable zones have “bailout” sections where you escape the tides, usually at the mouth of a creek. They are marked on the interactive map as campsites. Similarly, any campsite in the tidal zone is safe.

LandmarkDistanceLow Tide Only
Mattole Beach0no

Tide Zone 1 Start

1.5yes

Tide Zone 2 End

2.2no

Punta Gorda Lighthouse

3.2no

Sea Lion Gulch Camp

4.5no

Tide Zone 2 Start

4.7yes

Cooksie Creek Camp

6.6yes

Tide Zone 2 End

8.6no

Randall Creek Camp

8.7no

Spanish Creek Camp

10.6no

Kinsey Creek Camp

12.2no

Big Creek Camp

13.8no

Miller Flat Camp

16.8no

Tide Zone 3 Start

17yes

Shipman Creek Camp

18.6yes

Buck Creek Camp

20yes

Tide Zone 3 End

21.4no

Gitchell Creek Camp

21.6no

Horse Mountain Creek Camp

23.6no

Black Sand Beach Parking Lot

25.5no

Weather

Lost Coast Beach Advisory
Don’t just use any weather app, because it won’t have info like this. Use the NOAA links below to make sure you get a complete version of the weather. If the conditions are like this, you might be sipping beers in Shelter Cove for a few days. Your shuttle driver is also a good source of weather advice.

Start checking the long-range forecast for Shelter Cove to get an idea of the general conditions. As your date gets closer, I like to use the marine forecast for the Lost Coast to get an idea of the wind direction, wave intensity, and precipitation. A northwest wind is favorable as it will be at your back.

Challenges on the Trail

How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 6
The Lost Coast Trail is generally pleasant if the weather isn’t extreme and you’ve planned the tides correctly. You’ll likely see rabbits, mule dear, sea lions, seals and other cute creatures.

Plan to get yourself out of the situations you put yourself into.Lost Coast BLM Ranger

How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 4
Keep your eyes peeled on the shore and in the tide pools for interesting finds. Here’s a massive (about 14 feet across) Giant Pacific octopus that washed up minutes before we arrived. Leave everything you find behind; take only photos and memories.
Lost Coast Bail Out Trails
If conditions are poor and you can’t wait them out, your best bet is to take one of the (often primitive) trails up and away from the ocean. There are about 8 ways to bail out and off of the trail along the way. Just hike back to the road and hitch back to town.

Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

We’ll start the directions from Shelter Cove, at the southern terminus, assuming you will park here, shuttle up to Mattole Beach, and then end back at Shelter Cove.

Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 2
Head for the Black Sands Beach Trailhead in Shelter Cove to park before the shuttle. There’s a small handicapped lot down by the water, but the actual hiker parking is up on the hill.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 1
The lot is a decent size and you should be okay to find a spot. This parking lot gets a lot of traffic and is relatively safe.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 3
There are bathrooms and a water fountain at the lot.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 4
Then enjoy your shuttle ride to Mattole. The ride has lots of twists, turns, and bumps. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, you’ll want to prepare accordingly for this ride. Don’t forget to ask your drive any questions that you may have.

The land you see on the drive was once full of old-growth lumber, long since felled. Since then, the area has been a haven for marijuana growers. In 1990 one of the most extensive drug raids occurred here (and in other spots along the coast). It was called “Operation Green Sweep,” but the bust was a bust, and growers sued the BLM and federal authorities. There was even a planned photo-op for President Bush to wade onshore at Shelter Cove.

Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 5
Welcome to the Mattole trailhead!

Mattole is named after the native peoples who first lived here. When Europeans arrived in the 1880s, there were about 1200 living here. Twenty years later, they were gone.

Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 6
If you’d like to overnight here, there is a first-come, first-serve campground.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 8
There are also primitive toilets.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 7
Check out the trail board for any notices and then head through to the gate.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 9
Here’s the official start of the Lost Coast Trail. Hike through the gate.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 10
Bear left and start hiking down the coast. Hopefully the wind will be at your back.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 11
You might see cattle grazing on the hills. This is a National Conservation Area, which allows for mixed-use, including ranching. Two-thirds of the Kings Range NCA is a designated wilderness area where no human imprint is allowed.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 12
Keep hiking down the beach. Usually there are footprints that you can follow, but note that they don’t always take the correct route, sometimes missing a turnoff.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 13
You’ll notice that the beach gets much narrower as you enter the first impassable tidal zone.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 14
And then widens out as you see Punta Gorda Lighthouse in the distance.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 15
You’ll pass a private cabin, the first of several on your hike. They belong to folks who didn’t want to sell their land when King Range became a the country’s first National Conservation Area in 1970. Don’t camp around private property or go into the cabins.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 16
By the cabin you’ll have your first crossing, Fourmile Creek. Take it slow and know that underwater rocks can be very slippery.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 17
Take the trail up from the beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 18
And enjoy walking on a “trail trail” that’s much easier than sand.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 19
And here you are at Punta Gorda Lighthouse, built in 1911 and closed in 1951. The remote location, known as “the Alcatraz of lighthouses” required it to be largely self-sufficient. In the 1960s squatters lived here, and eventually the government destroyed some other buildings here to discourage the squatters.

You’ll see a few old metal fuel tank pieces along the trail. Those are from shipwrecks that are over 100 years old.

Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 20
There’s also a USGS survey marker here if that’s your thing.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 21
Continue on, crossing the gully at Willow Creek.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 22
The trail continues along the  beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 23
And then starts to climb.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 24
Off to your right is Sea Lion Rock, usually covered with sea lions and cormorants. If you camp at Sea Lion Gulch, expect noisy sea lions barking for most of the night.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 25
And then you reach Sea Lion Gulch camp.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 26
Now you enter the second tidal zone and have some boulders to cross.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions E1
Once you enter this tidal zone, look for a gulch up ahead where you can find a trail that bypasses an impassable boulder scramble on the beach. This is a good time to consult the map and GPX file that I provided.
Lost Coast Impassaable Boulders
Here’s what the section looks like on a map. Hike up the creek, find the trail, and then continue south.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 29
If you miss that last turn, expect a tough scramble up these huge boulders called Hat Rock. The official documents list this area as impassable at all tide levels. Stay safe and take the detour.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 30
Pop back out on the beach and walk over these large cobbles. Some of these rocks can be wet, covered in algae, and very slippery.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 31
When you see the canyon on your left, it’s Cooksie Creek Camp. If you need a rest or want to bail, this is your only option in this tidal zone. Otherwise continue along the beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 32
Here’s what the Cooksie Creek area looks like. The tent sites are further back.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 33
Continue hiking through the second tidal zone and over the cobbles. There are numerous narrow points that require care when passing.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 34
And then you reach Randall Creek Camp, the end of the second impassable zone. Although there is another impassable zone later, it’s not nearly as tough as the one you just went through. The day will be easier from here.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 35
Continue down along the beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 36
And then hop up onto the bluff along an area called Spanish Flat.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 37
You’ll pass some nice tent sites (without water though).
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 38
At one of the few marked junctions (with the Spanish Ridge Trail), continue straight along the beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 39
The hardpack and flat trail along Spanish Flat will be a welcome experience after the last tidal zone.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 40
Continue right past the private property on the left.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 41
You’ll pass by a private cabin.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 43
Bear right at the junction with the Kinsey Ridge Trail.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 44
And then pop back down to the beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 45
Now you have some pleasant sand hiking along the beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 46
Pass by Big Creek Camp.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 47
And then look for a trail heading back up onto the bluff.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 48
Now you have a very easy section along Big Flat.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 49
There’s a small rise and then a descent down to the main part of Big Flat.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 50
The section of trail here is used as an airstrip for the house on the left. You’ll notice a windsock along the trail.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 51
This is the fanciest house along the hike. You might notice the frisbee golf baskets. The house, a private retreat owned by people rich enough to fly in and out, is host to an occasional, invite-only disc golf tournament. During the tournament the baskets are set up all over Big Flat and the beach.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 52
Just past the house make the right turn toward the beach at the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail junction.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 53
Look up Flat Creek for nice views of King Peak, the highest point in the range at 4,088 feet.

The King Range is young and actively growing, getting about 1 inch taller every 20 years.

Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 54
You’ll find a lot of campsites around Big Flat. It’s a popular place for surfers to hike to from Shelter Cove. Here people have made art out of old whale bones.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 55
When you cross Flat Creek you’ll be at Miller Flat. There are tent sites on both sides of the creek. You can sometimes see big salmon heading upstream to spawn here.
How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 5
Miller Flat, just across from the last photo, has some nice tent sites tucked out of the prevalent northwest wind.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 57
Continue straight over Miller Flat. These bluff sections are a great place to spot whales as you hike.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 58
And then dip back down to the beach to start the last impassable tidal zone.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 59
Now we start hiking along the lat tidal zone, which is about 4.5 miles.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 60
There are some narrow pinch-points after Miller Flat.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 61
You’ll pass Shipman Creek, the first refuge if the tides are coming in.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 62
And then beach gets sandy. No more big rock cobbles. You’ll also be able to see Shelter Cove, the point at the end of the hook. That’s the end of the hike.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 63
And you’ll pass Shipman Creek, another refuge and campsite.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 64
And then you’ll reach Gitchell Creek, the end of the last impassable tidal zone.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 65
From here it’s only about 4 miles until the end at Shelter Cove.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 67
You’ll pass Horse Mountain Creek.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 68
And then pass large boulders that rolled down here many years ago. This area is on the Mendocino Triple Junction where three tectonic plates meet. There’s frequent seismic activity.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 70
Once past the boulders you’ll be on the very wide Black Sands Beach. The end of the hike is up from shoreline, under the house on the hill.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 71
Turn in at Telegraph Creek and follow it up.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 72
And now you’re on a trail.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 73
And then you’re at the trailhead. Hike up the street to the parking area.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 74
Make the first left.
Lost Coast Trail Hike Directions 75
And here you are, back at the start.
How To Hike Lost Coast Trail 2
Thank you for using the guide and thank you for your support, I hope you enjoy the Lost Coast Trail as much as I do!

This guide last updated on April 17, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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