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Lost Coast Trail, CA

Jun 18 - Jun 26, 2022 -- $1425 ★★★

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 primarily flat, sand and rocks will retard progress, sometimes significantly. We need to pay careful attention to tides as parts of the coast become dangerously impassable whenever tides are over 3'.

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.

In order to avoid high tides, we may find ourselves hiking at any time of the day or night. While we will obviously try to avoid hiking at night, we may end up doing so at times.

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 the terrain was too steep, rugged and costly to continue building the road along the coast so they brought it inland.

This bypassed 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 a much sought-after destination for backpackers like us.

Our hike will begin about 2 hours from Eureka, CA at Mattole, a tiny campground on the remote Pacific coast near Petrolia, CA. We'll walk down the coastline for a few days past the Punta Gorda Lighthouse (where where we'll see a surfeit of sea lions) while being ever careful to avoid high tides that can prevent passage. Then we'll turn inland where even fewer hikers go and the character of the terrain changes markedly. We'll summit 4091' 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
Chris Frey


$1425 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 Arcata, CA (ACV), 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 awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.

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Guides for this trip
Important Note
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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Fly, bus or drive into Arcata, CA (ACV). We will pick you up at the airport when you arrive. Some time between Noon - 3PM is the ideal time to arrive, but if you can save a substantial amount on trip costs by arriving a few hours earlier or later, you should do that.

Note: Flights to Arcata can be infrequent and expensive. There are usually at least a few people who drive up from San Francisco (5+ hours) so we might be able to arrange a carpool if you are flexible and decide to do this.

We will pick you up and take you 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 Adventure's Edge, 650 10th St, Arcata, CA 95521, (707) 822-4673 for last minute forgotten items

Make Your Own Trail mix bar. You construct your own tral mix from our selection of ingredients.

Body temperature taken to mitigate Covid risk

"Before" body composition measurements taken

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

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Body temperature taken to mitigate Covid risk

"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 2+ hours)

One Guide and one willing participant shuttles vehicles to Black Sands Beach off of Shelter Cove Rd, Whitethorn, CA and rides back with a shuttle service (This will take 4 hours)

Participants hang out on the beach and remaining guide serves lunch

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 (Punta Gorda), 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 20, 2022

The tides for today are important. There is a 4 mile stretch that is impenetrable at high tide. Here are the tides for June 21st according to NOAA,

  • 3:15 am (Low Tide, -0.2')
  • 9:34 am (High Tide, 4.22')
  • 2:32 pm (low tide, 1.93')
  • 8:55 pm (High Tide, 6.79')

We will have plenty of time centered around 2:32 pm to make it the 4.0 miles although the tide is not particularly low as we would like it to be under 3'. We should begin our hike so that we reach the beach as the tide is slack at around Noon.

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

Hike 1.9 flat beach miles on the Lost Coast Trail to Spanish Creek, elevation Sea Level

Camp at Spanish Flat, elevation Sea Level. Water is reliable here.

Mileage Today: 7.8. Total mileage: 10.7

Possible bailout: Mattole, one day away

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Hike 5.9 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: 5.9. Total mileage: 16.6

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

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 23, 2022

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 24, 2022

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

Dispersed camp at Buck Creek, elevation Sea Level. If there are other groups here, we will continue moving on and find a dispersed spot tucked up well above the high tide line.

Mileage Today: 8.3. Total mileage: 34.0

Possible bailout: Saddle Mountain Trailhead

Saturday, June 25, 2022

We will only need to go 1.7 miles before we are to Gitchell Creek and clear of the tide area. Low tide is early in the morning and we will want an early start anyway. Leaving by 7AM should be fine.

The tides for June 26th are as follows

  • 12:05am (High Tide, 7.2')
  • 7:29 am (Low Tide, -2.03')
  • 2:25 pm (High tide, 4.92')
  • 7:03 pm (Low Tide, 2.8')

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

End of hiking

Mileage Today: 5.4. Total mileage: 39.9 [Call it 40]

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 2 hours back to Arcata

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 26, 2022

Airport Drop

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