U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Arcata Field Office|
King Range National Conservation Area: Trails
ALL TRAIL DISTANCES/ELEVATION CHANGES LISTED BELOW ARE FOR ONE-WAY TRAVEL BETWEEN THE POINTS LISTED.
Lost Coast Trail-North (Mattole - Black Sands Beach)
24.6 miles, mostly level
Much of the trail is beach hiking with several stretches of 1-2 ft. rounded boulders. Wear sturdy hiking boots. Water sources are plentiful along the beach.
Stream crossings may be impassable during/after heavy winter rains (no bridges). The area near Punta Gorda; from Sea Lion Gulch to
Always be aware of the ocean. Large sets of waves can occur at any time, sweeping unsuspecting hikers into the ocean. Large waves and/or high winds will amplify the effects of tides, causing areas normally passable at a particular tide to become impassable.
Several privately owned cabins exist along the
9 miles, 875 ft. climb 2,600 ft. descent
Mountain meadows, old-growth forests and ridgetop vistas through coastal chaparral offer hikers an interesting contrast to the northern leg of the Lost Coast Trail. Hikers can also continue for 19 more miles through redwood groves and fern clad glens of
Chemise Mountain Trail (Wailaki or Nadelos Campground -
1.5 miles, 800 ft. climb
One of the easier hikes in the
Horse Mountain Creek Trail (Horse Mountain Creek Trailhead - Beach)4.2 miles, 300 ft. climb, 1,700 ft. descent
This is the most gradual trail connecting the ridge to the beach. It also has several water sources. The trail climbs about 300 feet and drops 1,700 feet between the Horse Mountain Creek Trailhead and the beach. Passing through the forest with a few grassy openings, the trail joins the beach about 0.2 miles north of Horse Mountain Creek.
Lightning Trail (Lightning Trailhead -
3 miles, 1900 ft. climb
This shortest trail to
Buck Creek Trail (
4.5 miles, 400 ft. climb 3,300 ft. descent
Infamous as having one of the steepest grades of any Northern California trail,
King Crest Trail South (
5.6 miles, 1,200 ft. climb
A gradual climb through a mixture of chaparral and forest, topping off with the spectacular
King Crest Trail North (
5.8 miles, 800 ft. climb
Much of the trail corridor burned in 2003. This has added endless vistas of the
Rattlesnake Ridge Trail (King Crest Trail - Beach)
5.7 miles, 3600 ft. descent
Most of this trail burned in 2003. Vegetation on this ridge regrows rapidly so hikers may have to bushwhack. This trail heads off of the King Crest Trail 2.8 miles south of the North Slide Peak Trailhead. It is recommended only for adventurous backpackers who don't mind some bushwhacking and stream crossings. Follows brushy Rattlesnake Ridge before descending through old-growth forest to Big Flat Creek. Ferns and mosses line the boulder choked channel of Big Flat Creek, which you must cross twice on the way to the coast. You will find a year-round spring at Bear Hollow Camp after leaving King Crest Trail.
Kinsey Ridge Trail (Kinsey Ridge Trailhead - Beach)
4 miles, 2300 ft. descent
Follows a dirt road to the heart of the
Spanish Ridge Trail (Spanish Ridge Trailhead - Beach)
4.7 miles, 300 ft. climb, 2400 ft. descent
Steep descent to the beach along a grassy ridgeline. Excellent views, especially to the south. No water.
Cooskie Creek Trail (Punta Gorda - Spanish Ridge Trailhead)
12.8 miles, 2400 ft. climb, 2300 ft. descent, 2300 ft. climb
This trail currently has a break where it crosses private property about 1 mile north of the Spanish Ridge Trailhead. The 11 miles south of the private land climbs up and down grassy ridges with clumps of windblown Douglas-fir, offering great views of the coast.
Saddle Mountain, Rattlesnake Ridge, Buck Creek Loop (Saddle Mountain Trailhead)
20.9 miles, 1200 ft. climb, 4,000 ft. descent, 3,300 ft. climb
This 2-3 day moderate to difficult hiking loop is a great alternative to the popular Lost Coast Trail, as it climbs to King Peak (4,088 ft.) and descends to the beach. Park at the Saddle Mountain Trailhead and a gradual climb through a mixture of chaparral and forest, topping off with the spectacular
Hidden Valley-Chinquapin-Lost Coast Trail Loop (Hidden Valley Trailhead)
8.3 miles, 900 ft. climb, 600 ft. descent
From the Hidden Valley Trailhead, the route (Lost Coast Trail-South) crosses grassy open meadows before climbing through a Douglas-fir forest to the top of Chemise Mountain (2,598 ft.). The Chinquapin Loop Trail drops off the west side of Chemise Mountain before rejoining the Lost Coast Trail. It provides beautiful ocean vistas while also accessing Nick's Camp, a backcountry campsite with year-round water nearby.