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Lost Coast Trail, CA

SOLD OUT! (Put me on the waiting list)


Important Notes

Until our permit is awarded, we are unable to guarantee that our trip will begin on the proposed date. If we are denied that particular day, we will request a window of 3 days before and 3 days after to begin the trip, with +/- 1 day being requested before +/- 2 or 3 days.

Much of our hiking will be on the Pacific coast. Although beach hiking is flat, the sand can retard progress. We also need to pay careful attention to tides as parts of the coast become dangerously impassable during high tides.

Because there are black bears in the area, we are required to carry bear canisters. Bring yours if you have one (and let us know you're bringing one) otherwise we will be able to provide you with one.

Warning: Large unexpected waves have caused drownings. Never turn your back on the ocean!


Back in the 1930s, California built State Route 1 along the Pacific Coast. When civil engineers reached the steep and rugged shores of Mendocino County, they decided it was too steep, rugged and costly to continue building the road along the coast so they brought it inland.

This neglected coastal land became known as the "Lost Coast" because of its undeveloped remoteness and difficulty of getting there. Over the years, not much has changed the character of the wild Pacific Coast. This has made it quite a destination for backpackers like us.

Our trip will begin about 6 hours from San Francisco at Mattole, a tiny campground on the remote Pacific coast near Petrolia, CA. We'll head down the coastline for a few days past the Punta Gorda Lighthouse, being ever careful to avoid high tides that prevent passage. Then we'll turn inland where even fewer hikers go. We'll summit King Peak to see sweeping views of the Pacific (if the fog will allow). Then we'll stay high up on the ridge before descending back to the beach and the Lost Coast Trail. If you've never seen the Pacific Coast (or an endangered Marbled Murrelet) this is the trip for you.

Here is a map of the area


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 60s and 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s & 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures as high as 80 and as low as 30 or several days of rain. Here is the historical June weather. On a the July 2009 Fatpacking trip to Redwood National Park (reasonably nearby), the weather was so mild and clear we were able to sleep out under the stars almost every night, but of course you never know what's in store for us when we're there.

Probable Trip Leaders

Rick Romine
Steve Silberberg
Thomas Bono


$1350 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from San Francisco (SFO), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, backcountry permits, campground fees, 7 days of trail meals, ground transportation and 2 awesome guides.

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Important Note
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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Fly or drive into San Francisco, CA (SFO)

Take the free airport shuttle to our local hotel (TBD)

Equipment shakedown. We go through your pack and examine everything you brought to make sure you are properly outfitted.

Trip to REI San Carlos, 1119 Industrial Rd, Ste 1B, San Carlos, CA 94070, (650) 508-2330 for last minute forgotten items

Trail mix distribution

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go out for dinner at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Sunday, June 20, 2021

"Before" measurements taken

Free hotel breakfast

We are unsure if cars can be left at Hotel. If so, the hotel may charge you and have you sign a document that they assume no responsibility for your property.

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and placed in storage

Shuttle to Mattole Beach off of Lighthouse Rd, Petrolia, CA (This will take 6+ hours)

Guides will shuttle a vehicle to Black Sands Beach, the end of our trip. This shuttle will take 4 hours

Begin hiking on the Lost Coast Trail, elevation Sea Level

Hike 1.9 flat beach miles on the Lost Coast Trail to an unnamed creek, elevation Sea Level

Since high tide is at 5:53PM and Punta Gorda is impassable at high tide, have dinner at unnamed creek to await the tide change.

It's near Summer Solstice and we're on the Western edge of the time zone, so it won't get dark until 10PM.

When the tide allows, resume hiking. Hike about 1.0 miles around Punta Gorda to Fourmile Creek

Camp at Fourmile Creek, elevation Sea Level. Water reliable here. Camping may be tight and/or dispersed

Miles today: 2.9 miles. Total to Date: 2.9 Miles

Possible bailout: Mattole

Monday, June 21, 2021

The tides for today are important. There is a 4 mile stretch that is impenetrable at high tide. We will post tides when we have exact trip dates, but here are the tides for June 21st according to NOAA,

  • 12:05 am (Low Tide)
  • 7:01 am (High Tide)
  • 12:34 pm (low tide)
  • 6:44 pm (High Tide)

We will have plenty of time centered around 12:34 pm to make it the 4.0 miles. We should begin our hike early so we reach the beach as the tide is slack, 10:15 am.

Hike about 0.8 flat beach miles on the Lost Coast Trail to Punta Gorda Lighthouse, elevation Sea Level

Hike 1.1 flat beach miles on the Lost Coast Trail, elevation Sea Level

The next 4 miles are impassable at high tide. We aim to embark upon this section as the tide is receding.

Hike 4.0 flat beach miles on the Lost Coast Trail to Randall Creek, elevation Sea Level

Camp at Randall Creek, elevation Sea Level. Water is reliable here.

Mileage Today: 5.9. Total mileage: 8.8

Possible bailout: Mattole, one day away

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Hike 7.8 flat beach miles on the Lost Coast Trail to Miller Flat, elevation Sea Level'

Camp at Miller Flat, elevation Sea Level. Water reliable here.

Mileage Today: 7.8. Total mileage: 16.6

Possible bailout: Telegraph Ridge Dirt / Unimproved Road (very lightly used) a day away

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Hike 4.9 grueling uphill miles on the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail to Bear Hollow Camp, elevation 2800'

Camp at Bear Hollow Camp, elevation 2800'. Water reliable here.

Mileage Today: 4.9. Total mileage: 21.5

Possible bailout: Smith Etter Dirt / Unimproved Road (very lightly used)

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Hike 0.8 miles on the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail to the King Crest Trail, elevation 3600'

Hike 2.2 miles on the King Crest Trail to the Lightning Trail, elevation 3400'

Hike 0.5 steep uphill miles on the King Crest Trail to King Peak, elevation 4088'

Hike 0.3 miles on the King Crest Trail to the Lightning Trail, elevation 3600'

Hike 0.4 miles on the Lightning Trail to Maple Camp, elevation 3400'

Camp at Maple Camp, elevation 3400'. Water found at Maple Spring

Mileage Today: 4.2. Total to Date: 25.7

Bailout: King Range Road (lighly traveled)

Friday, June 25, 2021

Get an early start today to beat the tides

Hike 0.4 miles on the Lightning Trail to the King Crest Trail, elevation 3600'

Hike 4.3 miles on the Lightning Trail to the Buck Creek Trail, elevation 3200'

Hike 3.6 knee crushing downill miles on the Buck Creek Trail to the Lost Coast Trail, elevation Sea Level

The tides for June 25th are as follows

  • 3:25am (Low Tide)
  • 10:30 am (High Tide)
  • 4:07 pm (low tide)
  • 10:01 pm (High Tide)

Hike 1.5 flat miles (impassable at high tide) on the Lost Coast Trail to Gitchell Creek, elevation Sea Level

High tide is at 10:01 so we should hopefully make it to Gitchell Creek long before the tide comes in

Camp at Gitchell Creek, elevation Sea Level

Mileage Today: 9.8. Total mileage: 35.5

Possible bailout: Saddle Mountain Trailhead

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Hike 3.7 flat beach miles on the Lost Coast Trail to Black Sands Beach Trailhead, elevation Sea Level

End of hiking

Mileage Today: 3.7. Total mileage: 39.2

Possible bailout: Black Sands Beach

Shuttle 4 hours to Mattole to pick up vehicles. We may send a party out early to do this.

Shuttle 5+ hours back to San Francisco

Check back into local hotel TBD

"After" body composition measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Free breakfast in Hotel

Airport Drop

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