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Trail Journals
The Lost Coast - King Range & Sinkyone Wilderness

Pages:   Introduction   1   2   3   4
Northern Coast
Northern Coast
PostcardMap This Picture
California's Lost Coast is a remote stretch of coastline in southern Humboldt and northern Mendocino counties. The 60+ mile coastline includes sandy and rocky beaches to the north and mountains plunging into the ocean to the south. Rugged mountains border the entire coast.

Our hike takes us from the Mouth of the Mattole in the King Range National Conservation Area south to Usal Campground in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. We took a side trip to King's Peak, at 4,087ft it is the tallest mountain above California's Lost Coast.
Page One: Day One - Mouth of the Mattole to Oat Creek

Trail Stats:
Number of Days: 8
Miles: 60
Highest Elevation: 4,088
Lowest Elevation: 0
Begining Elevation: 0

Suggested Links:
King Range National Conservation Area
Official Bureau of Land Management Web Site
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park
2006 Shelter Cove Tide Tables
Lost Coast Trail Transportation Service
It may not be cheap, but considering that it's a 3 hour drive between Usal and the mouth of the Mattole River it's worth it.
California Coastal Records Project
Aerial photographs of the entire California Coast
California Coastal Records Project: Mattole River Campground
Aerial photo of the campground at the northern trailhead of the Lost Coast
California Coastal Records Project: Usal Beach
Aerial photo of Usal Beach at the south end of the Lost Coast

Trailhead Map:
Mattole Beach to Randall Creek

Usal Beach is not easy to find and the road will not likely be on any maps.

From Highway 1 you will turn west on an unmarked road at mile marker 90.88. "Usal Road" might, or might not, be spray painted on the highway. Follow this rugged dirt road about 5 miles to the parking area. This is a narrow road so you must be careful not to run into any oncoming cars. If you are using a hiker shuttle they should be able to give directions.

General Notes and Observations:
Be sure to bring a tide table with you and do not try to get around any of the points during high tide. Also, this area does have bears and bear canisters are required in the King Range. Contact the Sinkyone Wilderness for more information about their food storage requirements.

Transportation is tough. Only about 55 miles of coast separate Usal from the Mouth of the Mattole, but it's about a 3 hour drive between these two points. Contact Roxanne at the transportation link for a hiker shuttle. When we used her in 2000 she provided free maps and a tide table. Ask her if she still does this. The BLM map she provided for the King Range showed which sections of coast are inaccessible during high tide.

If you live near the coast you might want to try preparing by walking on the beach. And since the beaches on the Lost Coast are soft or rocky you should walk on the soft part of the beach and spend some time walking through tide pools.

Also, I hear that Big Flat is a popular surf spot.

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