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The Lost Coast Trail

A 24 mile three day backpacking trip along California's most undeveloped stretch of shoreline.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 24 miles
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  The Lost Coast is an 80 mile stretch of the California coast where the builders of Highway 1 decided to go around because it was too... more »

Tips:  This is a one way hike, so bring a car to shuttle.
A shuttle exists for $$$ See the links for details.
Buy a map and a tide table for ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Mattole Trailhead

This is the start of the trip! Starting from here and hiking South keeps the wind at your back as you hike. You start off on course beach sand and the footing is not good. You quickly get a hint of how tough this trip is going to be.

There is a bathroom here and a water spigot to fill your bottle.

You must fill out a free backcountry permit... More

2. Start Hugging The Beach

After the first stretch hiking between dunes, you come out onto the beach next to the cliffs for some beautiful hiking.

3. Punta Gorda Lighthouse

An old abandoned lighthouse.

4. Impassable at High Tide

This rock juts right out into the water at high tide and the waves beat on it. We were here about an hour after high tide and sat and rested for about a half hour. Some braver souls came along and got around, so we followed. You'll get wet (I did!) but there is not much to go till the first night's campsite.

5. First Night's Campsight

This is Cooskie Creek, a great place to camp the first night. You can move in out of the wind and camp near the creek for water. There are good sites on both sides of the river.

6. Second Day of Hiking

This stretch is all beautiful with so many different surfaces to hike on. You find yourself analyzing the surface you are walking on. There is fine sand, which is tough walking, pebbles which are worse, rocks, which are alright, and big rocks which are treacherous! Take your time and enjoy the hike.

7. Second Night's Campsite

This is a nice big wide open area with plenty of camp sites. There are shelters built up along the ocean and flat areas inland where you can get out of the wind. There's also fresh water from the stream.

8. Pacific Ocean

Take some time and soak your sore feet in the Pacific Ocean. The trip is done and you just spent a lot of time avoiding the water. Well don't forget to walk out into the water and feel the sand under your feet. There's a tiny creek up near the trailhead where you can rinse your feet and rinse the saltwater off, so live it up!

9. Parking Lot

This is where you need to park your car. There is no way up and down to the beach from the back of the lot, so don't bother looking. If you are starting from this end, hike down the road you came in on and then around to the true trailhead by the beach. You can drive around and drop your gear off at the trailhead also.

There are bathrooms with... More