Explore 6+ hours drive - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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We were staying across the street at Elk Country RV Park, which was great, so we mainly drove by the dry lagoons and walked down to the ocean. There were elk all in the dry lagoon and it was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen. We had our dog on the beach along with many others. We loved it!

I did this hike in and out from Mattole in 4.5 hours with my dog. I took a path that stayed above the beach and also diverted up and over to Windy Point. Misty rain on the top with a rainbow bending into the ocean. The end of the hike is the Punta Gorda abandoned light house. Great spot with seals resting on the beach in front of the light house. Had our lunch on the top of the light house watching the seals and the crashing waves.

Read reviews and noticed some mentioned an upper trail. Unless they are talking about the road on top of the ridge we never found it. The hike is an easy hike EXCEPT the sand, man there is a lot of sand. It made this hike one of the most difficult hikes I’ve done because of it. Beautiful views, awesome lighthouse. Be sure you have a tide schedule because there is a section you have to go around a point that I can see the tide could come up and you could get stuck trying to get back. Otherwise amazing! Hated the sand though.

A very nice walk along the beach. Read other reviews about walking in the sand. Do suggest getting legs into shape if you don't walk a lot. Did hill work since I didn't have access to sand. Was good to go. Sights and sounds were wonderful. Seals were very fun to watch once you get to the lighthouse.

hiking
5 months ago

Very overgrown. Not many places there is scenery besides what’s in front of you but if you hike to the end (you will miss the turn if you don’t have the live map going) it is worth it. The lagoon and the ocean are worth the hike!

6 months ago

great hike and views of lagoon

Beautiful hike along the beach. I highly recommend taking the upper ridge trail - we took the beach for half of the way there and definitely regret it. Although the upper ridge is soft sand in parts, overall much much better trail with just as beautiful views. Lighthouse was stunning with elephant seals sleeping right on the beach!

good trail , bit more rugged than rest the park , more diverse forests as well .. every trail in the park is awesome can't go wrong , link em together long , short just get out there

June 12, 2018. My wife and I started at around 1:30 and took the high path (last 1/4 of the hike) on the way to the lighthouse. Note that the high trail is less traveled but the trail map w/GPS kept us pretty close to the barely discernible track. We saw many different varieties of flowers on the trip out which was a treat and the ocean views are spectacular.. Recommend hiking boots and poles if taking the high trail. We returned north via the low route... Lots of loose sand and strong headwinds made it a bit of a slog. Trip time ~ 2 hours out and 2 hours back. We are experienced hikers in our 60s and would give this a “hard” rating for a one day out and back (wind, sand, water crossing, and route finding (upper trail portion only).

Nice beach walk and stroll along river, visitors center with free brochures about Oregon and other more difficult hikes. Clean public bathrooms at visitor center.

Great little hike through the woods in Elk country and back on the beach. It can be done as a loop on the beach or an out and back. There is a large resident Elk herd in this area. Today they were no where to be seen but plenty of fresh tracks. The trail is signed for no dogs and the beach for dogs on leash but many have dogs off leash on this beach. At the end of the trail to go down to the the beach is a little steep but there are a couple of ropes to help you on your way. My thanks to the thoughtful people that put them there...

Beautiful hike on the beach... On the way down it was beautiful but not very clear due to the combination of marine layer and smoke from the Chetco Bar Fire. The hike down was really mellow and timed pretty well with the tides. After the turnaround the tide changed and started coming in and there was a steady southerly wind of about 20 kts in my face. Due to having to walk in softer sand because of the higher tide along with the length I rated the hike as difficult. A lower tide without wind and it would be moderate...

hiking
Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sand based trail that has some scattered forests with a lot of meadows of grasses and a portion along the beach. A pretty good workout for most because a lot of the sand is pretty soft. Along the surf line on the beach is firmer than about half of the trail.

hiking
Sunday, August 13, 2017

This trail reminded me of what it would be lake being a recruit at Fort Ord. Just marching along in the sand... Most of the trail is sand based with close to 1/2 of it pretty soft. A little bit of forest and a lot of dunes. I ended up bushwhacking through beach grass to get to the beach on the way out which was very easy. My lab enjoyed the part along the beach the most. High point of the day was when I found my first agate on the beach!

camping
Monday, July 31, 2017

A great spot for camping on the beach (or in the dunes if it gets windy). Very isolated in the northern and middle parts, as I believe most visitors to this area come in via the road that forms the southern part of the trail. The few people we saw were agate (rock) hunting. Flat and not terribly interesting as a hike, but we were more interested in camping on the beach and letting the pup run around.

hiking
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Terrible trail! Untraveled. Some parts beautiful, most bushy, swampy and overgrown.

Nice meander along the beach. There is no marked path, or a real hike for that matter, but if you're looking for a meandering walk along the beach and some fun tide pools, this is a good fit.

Awesome trail but even better for me as this was my last hike to complete every trail in Prairie Creek... Definitely a hike I'll do again as part of a longer hike. The lower part is mostly redwoods and the upper is a mixture of different types of forest and then the coastal trail hugs the edge of the woods along a marshy area that the elk love. What makes this hike really great is the diversity of different types of forest. Got within 6 feet of the elk because they felt my lab who is a service dog was a predator and they were aggressively trying to take her out. They charged us repeatedly..... Fortunately I had taken a solid bamboo rod with me likes like iron and a friend and by waving our arms and chasing them off with the rod we kept them off and escaped. They usually pose no real threat to people and after we got away and looked back from a safer distance we saw 3 calves laying in the grass behind the herd. The moms were just trying to protect the babies. And of course this hike includes the famous Fern Canyon.....

So much to see! Saw elk, a waterfall, big redwoods flowers, the beach, and of course Fern canyon! Really fun hike. Go through Fern canyon first and when you a little tired at the end you walking the open field.

Beautiful beach to walk on into California. There is also a trail in the trees that is north of the parking lot that you can access the winchuck river. Dogs love it too.

In terms of length, it's a short hike. Going through the sand definitely makes it harder, and the later it gets, the windier it gets. Still, this trail is incredible; hiking in early May there are tons of wild flowers and relatively pleasant weather. The beach varies from sand to pebble, but you can also do about half the trail on the packed dirt part. Some parts are really muddy with small running streams, and I had to take my shoes and socks off to wade across a particularly wide water flow. The lighthouse has a small information sign briefly detailing the history. When I went, there were a ton of sea lions lounging about barely 40ft from the lighthouse. Incredible hike.

The drive to the trailhead is windy and rough; some parts of the road were unpaved and the potholes would have stranded a smaller car. Part of the road was flooded, and I wouldn't have known what to do if I hadn't seen a van carve a path before me.

On the way back, I ended up taking the freeway past Petrolia and up the coast, which had its own set of amazing views. Can't wait to get back here and do the backpacking trip!

Beautiful hike! My recorded trek was 6.6 miles to and fro. Mattole campground. Highly suggest wearing a windbreaker, there was a section where we had to take off our shoes and socks to cross over some water coming from the mountain. Coming back on the hike you have to hike against very strong winds, with sand/small rocks hitting you head on. Most of the path is sand which makes the trail strenuous. But it sure is beautiful!

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

I just did this trail today. The trail is swamped from all the rain we have had so mind the large mud holes, my shoes were caked and my socks were wet but it was awesome to be out there. The trail is in disrepair, it is overgrown in a lot of places, not too many blowdowns but it is definitely in disrepair.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Nice trail above Stone Lagoon

hiking
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The trail is not in the best of repair but you can get there without too much trouble. The campgrounds are isolated from each other and there is a bathroom. Easier to kayak across Stone Lagoon.

hiking
Thursday, October 27, 2016

I enjoyed doing this one today with with my dogs. It's a nice long walk through the dunes, the forest and the ocean, with it's views. It's the longest route I do in Tolowa. We didn't see any elk today but there were fresh tracks. The beach walk is pretty firm as long as you're fairly close to the surf. Keep an eye out for vehicles. This portion of Tolowa is legal to drive on the beach. There is a sign indicating that on the end of Kellogg Rd. When you're walking Kellogg Beach keep an eye out for agates as well. Plenty of people find them. The surf was a little high to be relaxed with my Lab in the ocean today.

One of my go to walks with my dogs. On the Crissey Field end they have to be leashed but on the other end there are far less people and Pelican doesn't require a leash. Beautiful beach with great open ocean views. Off in the distance most days you can see the lighthouse and many rock formations including Camel Rock out in front of Crissey Field. You also have the option of playing with the dogs or fishing in the Winchuck river or off the beach on the Oregon side. Very common to see Seals, Sea Lions and Ospreys on the hunt near the mouth of the river.

It was such an amazing hike! Beautiful views along the entire hike. The lighthouse is beautiful and we saw seals sunbathing right in front of it. We came back with a ton of ticks so just be careful if you go in the spring.

hiking
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

After stumbling across this article, I am motivated to do this hike again, just for memories' sake. I did this in 1967 with a college hiking club. At that time several of the buildings around the lighthouse were still standing. The one sight that stands out in my memory is the ship traffic (freighters) heading north toward Humboldt Bay.

hiking
Monday, September 21, 2015

I went out to this trail with my boyfriend and our friend for a leisurely Sunday afternoon hike. The sun was out and shining brightly but thanks to the high winds we never got too warm. On the way to the lighthouse we walked mostly along the beach, cutting up to the trail when the wind started flinging sand into our legs. The trail is much easier, but I'd still walk on the beach at least part of the way -- I just love being close to the ocean, being able to check out tide pools, and spot seals (seal lions? I never know the difference) bobbing in the surf.

It took us about an hour and a quarter to get to the lighthouse and it did not disappoint. It was absolutely beautiful and we spent half an hour climbing around in it and taking pictures. If you do climb to the top of the lighthouse, watch your head going up the ladder -- it's a very small opening.

The way back was slightly rough thanks to the wind. We took the trail for the entire way back but still ended up slogging through loose sand for half the trek. This alone wouldn't have been so bad, but the wind was so high that we couldn't even talk to each other unless we shouted. I've never experienced wind that high and actually found it a little fun. The trip back took us an hour and a half thanks to the wind.

This is a really wonderful hike. I don't know how one could possibly take two days to do it. The effort of carrying backpacking supplies over loose sand seems like it would counteract any benefits from taking more than one day on the trail. Wear sunscreen, even if it's windy, and bring plenty of water and you'll be fine. Oh, and a camera; photo opportunities are endless.

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