Trailheadin’: Lost Coast Trail

We’re all made differently. There are parts of our personalities that are drawn to activities and hobbies for specific reasons. One of my own favorite pastimes is hiking; the more secluded the trail, the better. Getting away from traffic and bustling city life, and making my way through a quite forest or secluded ridge grants me time to think and relax, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Today’s Trailhead is one that hikers who share my love for quite trails will want to seek out. Keep reading to learn more about California’s Lost Coast Trail.

While California is well-known for its big cities, there are still rugged, untouched areas where outdoorsmen can find solitude and a brief retreat from city life, such as the Lost Coast Trail. This 24-mile stretch of trail resides within the King Range Conservation Area and gets its name from how secluded it is. It starts at Black Sands Beach and spans north to the Mattole River, meandering along the coast, but most hikers who plan to make the entire trip will park at one trailhead and get a shuttle to the opposite one.

You’ll want to wear quality hiking boots on the trail, since most of it is beach hiking with several stretches of boulders to cross. There are a few streams that may be difficult or even impossible to cross during the rainy seasons, and also a few areas that may be impassible during high tides. Use a Tide Table to try to time your hikes to catch the outgoing tide if you’re unsure. Be advised that the Lost Coast Trail is not a simply hike. The sandy/rocky terrain is not for the inexperienced, but those willing to endure the hike will be rewarded with views of wildflowers, tide pools, and even sea lions.

It takes roughly three days to hike the trail, so you’ll need a backcountry permit if you’re planning on backpacking it. Water from the streams is safe to drink, but be sure to purify it before doing so. Also, bears, rattlesnakes, and ticks are not uncommon along the trail, so be cautious and safe.

Even the most urban regions have great hiking opportunities if you travel a little ways from the city. Those willing to work for it will find the Lost Coast Trail to be a rewarding, secluded experience. I know what it’s like to just want a little peace and quiet away from the city now and then, and anyone who shares that mindset would do well to check out the Lost Coast Trail, one of California’s hidden treasures.