Black stone under your feet. Constant waves on your right. Cliffs and trees on  your left. You are alone along the undeveloped California coastline called The Lost Coast. It is removed enough to feel remote, but has the infrastructure to make it accessible.

This is a 24 mile trail along rugged and undeveloped coast. A shuttle take you from your car at the Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cover, up to Mattole Trailhead where you will begin the hike.


Each day you will hike between six and twelve miles, depending on how you choose to divide your days. There are two passes along the way that are impassable during high tide. Use the provided maps and information to have a successful hike.


Print out these logistics, rules, and maps. There are a lot of details such as where to camp, relieve yourself, impassable areas during high tide, and others. Make sure you have a copy with you during the trek.
Phone Number: 707.986.9895 or 707.502.7514
To do the Lost Coast Trek, a shuttle will take you from Shelter Cove to Mattole Trailhead. Contact Blu Graham and schedule your shuttle as soon as you decide to hike the trail. When at the trailhead, there is little or no cellphone service, so you want  to ensure that everything is scheduled and set before you get there.

Visitors camping overnight in the King Range National Conservation Area (NCA) are required to carry and use hard-sided bear resistant proof canisters. Information on approved models is available online at The canisters must be of sufficient size to permit storage of all food, trash, toiletries, sunscreen, dog food, surfboard wax, insect repellent, and other scented items for the duration of the trip. Each person must possess a minimum of one canister. Visitors failing to use canisters are subject to fines (43 CFR 8365.1-6)

Canisters may be rented from the following locations:

King Range NCA Project Office
768 Shelter Cove Road, Whitethorn


The Hours are 8:00am to 4:30pm and the canisters cost $5 per trip.
Petrolia General Store
40 Sherman Avenue, Petrolia


The Hours are 7:30am to 7:30pm and the canisters cost $20 per trip. The store is right off the road to Shelter Cove.


Along the coast are springs every mile or so. We really liked this because it meant you never had to be carrying more than a bottle of water and a filter. Drink as much as you want and refill whenever you can.


The first day you will take the shuttle for just under two hours, then hike about six miles. Hike to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse and then another mile to camp right before the tide zones.


Day two will be around eight to twelve miles. The more you hike on day two, the less to the finish. Again, camp close to the tidal zone. There will be plenty of coves past the flats where you can camp.


Day three is whatever mileage you have left, something around eight to ten miles. This is the most straightforward day. You will probably want to start early to make sure you get your bear canister back.

During the summer months you can take an easy hammock or bivy sack. We stayed every night in Hammocks. We found plenty of trees in all of our camp sites. While camping, try to leave no trace. Camp where other people have camped before to leave the smallest impact possible.


You will be hiking around three to six hours a day. We ended up with some time to sit in our hammocks and read. It was calm and pleasant.


Don’t forget to keep all scented items in the bear canister away from your camp. We woke up to bear tracks down the beach from where we slept.

With plenty of water along the trek, freeze dried dinners were very easy to carry. They don’t weigh much or take up a lot of room. For breakfast and lunch we had granola bars, snacks, and meal bars. Whatever you want to carry is up to you. We chose as simple of meals as possible so we could have more time for exploring the scenery.


Weight is so important on how you feel during a backpacking trip, as is the quality of sleep you get. We found that The Original Neckrest was great because you could inflate it as much or little as you want and only took up three ounces of weight and virtually no space. Probably the best all around comfort with the least amount of space and effort.
During the winter months, The Lost Coast is one of the rainiest places in the United States. During the summer, it can be dry. We decided not to take chances on any rain and packed everything into this 40 liter Waterproof Day Bag. It is adjustable and works like a regular backpacking pack, only waterproof.
You never know when a rain storm might come. We took the Nylon Poncho with us for a few reasons: This poncho is waterproof and lightweight, It folds into itself into a pouch on the inside, and there are loops on the inside so that in case of rain you can tie it to some trees to make an 80 x 56 inch long rain shelter.