Lost Coast Trail
The Lost Coast Trail offers one of the few coastal hiking experiences in the United States. Hikers will be treated to exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities such as sea lions, elephant seals, river otters, eagles, bobcats, deer and more. Tidepools, teaming with life, line the coast. In spring spectacular arrays of wildflowers cover the hillsides and bluffs.
Know Before You Go
The northern section of the Lost Coast Trail, from Mattole to Black Sands Beach, is 24.6 miles and moderately level. Allow at least three days to accomplish this hike.
- Wear sturdy hiking boots.
- Water sources are plentiful along the beach.
- Be aware of the tide! Carry a tide table and hike these stretches during an outgoing tide of three feet or less to avoid being trapped.
- The area near Punta Gorda; from Sea Lion Gulch to Randall Creek; and from Miller Flat to Gitchell Creek, may be impassable during high tide.
- Avoid private property along the trail.
- No Camping at Black Sands Beach Trailhead!
- Camping is allowed North of Telegraph Creek.
The southern section of the Lost Coast Trail, from Hidden Valley to Needle Rock in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, stretches 9 miles with a moderate elevation change.
- The south section of the Lost Coast offers a different scenery than the northern section.
- Hikers can continue for 19 more miles through the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park if they wish.
- NOTE: Sinkyone Wilderness State Park has different regulations regarding trail use and camping.
Overnight camping along the Lost Coast Trail requires a Backcountry Permit. Permits can be obtained through Recreation.gov, on the King Range Wilderness Permits (Lost Coast) page. No walkup permits are available. Before planning your visit or booking a permit, please visit the King Range National Conservation Area page for information such as maps, tide safety, condition reports, and regulations.
The King Range National Conservation Area (NCA) is located about 230 miles north of San Francisco and 60 miles south of Eureka. All roads leading to the King Range NCA are narrow, steep and winding. Allow plenty of time between destinations, have a full tank of gas, and be alert to oncoming traffic.
All main roads are normally accessible to passenger cars except during heavy winter storms. Primitive roads may be closed seasonally. Directional signs mark all major intersections in the King Range NCA giving the road name and distances to primary recreation sites.
NORTH ACCESS: U.S. 101 to the Ferndale exit. Once in Ferndale, follow signs to Petrolia. One mile past Petrolia, turn right on Lighthouse Road; it is 5 more miles to the Mattole Recreation Site. Allow 1 1/2 hours for the 42 mile trip.
CENTRAL ACCESS: U.S. 101 to South Fork - Honeydew exit. Follow the signs to Honeydew (23 Miles). Turn left in Honeydew to Honeydew Creek Recreation Site and Smith-Etter Road. Allow 1 hour for the 24 mile trip. Turn right to Mattole Beach and Trailhead. Allow 45 minutes for the 18.5 mile trip.
SOUTH ACCESS: U.S. 101 to the Redway/Garberville exit. Follow signs to Shelter Cove/King Range NCA. Allow 45 minutes for the 22 mile trip to Shelter Cove.
Accessibility Description (ABA/ADA)
No user fee