The Lost Coast Trail: Brief Overview

What’s Up

Butterfly and I attempted a SoBo Thru-Hike of the AT in 2016, but we ended abruptly do to injury and theft (my pack was stolen & butterfly got stress fractures). During our hike Poet from Shaw’s Hiker Hostel in Monson, ME told us about the Lost Coast Trail (LCT) . Since the we have read a few articles and realized that this was going to be our next trail.

Lost Coast Trail (LCT)

The trail lies just west of Highway 1 in Northern California. It covers a 50 mile stretch of rugged terrain along the Pacific Ocean. Majority of hikers only attempt the northern section from Mattole Beach to Shelter Cove. This is a 25 mile section that winds its way south along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. What attracted us to the LCT is, “there are no roads on this section of the coast–the terrain is too rugged. There is no cell phone coverage. And we saw very few people.”(

Most people only hike the northern “beach walk” section of this trail. Once you reach the small village of Shelter Cove has the option of a short road walk east to rejoin the trail to hike from Chemise Mountain Road to Usal Campground. The southern section runs through Sinkyone Wilderness State Park and the northern section runs through King Range National Conservation Area.

This trail, although short in distance does not lack in its difficulties. The northern portion hikers have to plan their days around tidal charts where there are three impassable sections during high tide. In the north you are also hiking mostly on the beach which can also provide certain challenges. In the South (AKA the “ridge walk”) hikers encounter red wood forests, and drastic elevation changes as one wanders down the coastal ridges and valleys.

For this short trail there are a few regulations in which users must follow:

  1. Bear Canisters are Required
  2. Permits are Required (FREE for Kings Range and $5/person/night in Sinkyone)
  3. Copy of Tide Charts for the North Section


I am very excited to start blogging on The Trek and cover some shorter trails, my gear choices, and some tips from last seasons attempt to thru hike the AT.

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