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Loved backpacking this trail. I did this over three days and two nights. Beautiful views and very peaceful. I loved hearing the waves crash all day (and night). Do your planning and research about trip logistics and high/low tide times. Backpacking in the sand was challenging at first, but I got used to it after a few hours. July 2018.

Stunning hike with incredible views of Shasta, Castle Crags, Castle Lake and Heart Lake. We clocked this hike at 3 miles round trip, rather than the listed 2. Trail is quite steep in places and elevation gain was closer to 850'. It's easy to lose the trail ~1 mile up; other hikers have tried to help by placing rock barriers in multiple places where the path appears to diverge as well as rock stacks to help guide you, but the path is still easily lost in places.
Lake was frozen solid 11/11/18

Amazing bang for your buck! So beautiful! The trail is crazy hard to keep track of but just bring an adventurous attitude, stay to the right and south and use this app to stay on track., you'll find it! So worth it!

fantastic finish..larger lake then I expected..great and peacefull views to be had at lakes...moderate is appropriate rating..can be better marked at beginning..u never know who put cairns up off trail..once you cross railroad tracks be ready for a decent amount of tree root/rocky trail..great for an overnight camping trip..just pick a spot..stoves ok for now..couple good spots around 2nd lake on sandstone for fire pits...shall return next spring

backpacking
26 days ago

This is a great hike. Challenging, but worth the trek especially if you intend to camp. Just a couple of things I found would make it more enjoyable. Keep your app open as it is helpful to get you back on track as this one is a tough one to follow in many places. There are cairns the entire trail... thank you to those putting those in place. I wore tennis shoes which was fine, but hiking boots would have been better especially with the rocky terrain that covers most of the trail. If you’re backpacking I recommend trekking poles. This made the trip a lot easier for me just for stability while carrying the weight on the rocks and over boulders and downed trees. Day pack probably not necessary. Camped out at the last lake, had some great picks with fire pits. It was pretty and only a couple of us up there for October. Beautiful night. Had cellphone service the entire way, but could also still hear the highway at the last lake as well.

Beautiful hike! Quite the workout, but very worth it!

Was great hike today. Hardly anyone there. Despite what previous poster said, leashes ARE NOT required this being the national forest. Would be very difficult to hike this trail with dogs on leashes. Difficult for the dogs and difficult for the owners especially if your using hiking poles which btw I recommend. Besides it’s usually the leashes dogs that are aggressive or unsocialized. Or the owners’ anxiety that causes this. Our group had 6 very well behaved trail dogs that are used to hiking. And yes we pick up the poop. Overall good hike, a lot of uphill; thus, a lot downhill.

This trail is amazing the sand will definitely take its toll on the legs. I recommend checking the tides before even getting your permit. The second impassable is slippery even at .2 to 1 foot there are parts will you will be walking on like tide pools.

There are plenty of places for water
Cooskie Creek is definitely campable and had amazing views

Truly incredible backpacking trip made more exciting by the challenge of managing schedules around the tides which make the trail impassable for stretches at a time. All different kinds of undeveloped coast for your enjoyment and it really did feel “lost”. Most days we saw only 4-6 people and no one else slept at the same campsites as us. It is busier in summer, we went at end of September when they limit permits per day to 30 instead of 60 and which is close to the rainy season so we got sprinkled on a bit the last day. I would do it again in a heart beat!

I strongly disagree with people who say the hike is the hardest hike they’ve ever been on - I would argue they likely have little to no experience backpacking in The West. I wasn’t even sore when we finished the trail. As someone who has summitted many 14ers including Whitney and also backpacked most of Yosemite, this was more mental challenge and less physical than the others I mentioned. Only about 5 miles of this trail is a typical trail. The rest is packed sand, fluffy sand, pebbles, boulders, or some kind of lava rock. Trekking poles are a must if you are prone to rolling your ankle (or just want to move quickly without fear of losing balance on boulder fields). You will need to think about where you are going before you take each step most of the way.

I think anyone in moderate or better shape can handle this trip but give yourself an extra day or two so you aren’t in a time crunch and tempted to take risks with the tide. The trail is truly impassable in 2 stretches and there is no where to wait it out if you are between campsites - you will be swept out to sea and die. So... be smart and err on the safe side. Rule of thumb is be out of impassable zones 2 hrs before high tide and wait until 2 hours after as there are sneaker tides that shoot up occasionally as the tide goes out. We would get up at 6am, hike until 2 hours before high tide and set up our tent at a campsite for a nap, cook a hot meal and pump water for that four hour window and then hike until dark once it was safe to continue.

The first 4 miles and last 4 miles are the toughest because it is soft sand that your feet sinks into so it takes a lot of effort, esp with an extra 35 lbs of backpack. I had no sleep the night before as I drove up from SF after midnight and was ready to turn around a mile or so into Mattole Beach but I am glad I did not. The worst of it’s the very beginning or the very end.

If you’re thinking about doing it, you should. Note permits can be a challenge so apply sooner than later!

A very strenuous hike to the actual Euchre Bar and back out of the canyon. Absolute solitude with a gorgeous suspension bridge over the North Fork American, occasional views of the undammed river canyon (and Generation Gap whitewater run). Bring lots of water, sunscreen and a good meal.

Be advised - this trail is for LEASHED dogs only! And please be considerate of others who might have dog fears or leashed dogs with some aggression issues. I was appalled when I walked the trail yesterday!

backpacking
1 month ago

I did this last week. It is the hardest hike I have ever been on.

loved this hike, steep but so worth it!

backpacking
2 months ago

I attempted this climb several years ago in January/February time frame. It was my first mountaineering trip, and definitely a memorable experience. I went with four guys, one got strep throat, one got a bad knee, and then the two of us that were remaining got stuck in a wicked snow storm. Ended up digging a snow cave up near Helen Lake, and turned around the next day. Hope to return some day and reach the summit.

hiking
2 months ago

Starts to get difficult but the views are beautiful! I did run into a lot of fresh bear poop! Everywhere so I turned back. Definitely hike in groups

I've done this hike several times. Unfortunately, the way back up never seems any easier (but what's a hike without a little or a lot of heart pumping and sweat inducing glory?).
It is very steep though, both down and up. I would recommend people with bad knees or ankles to keep braces handy or bring trekking poles. And water, it's not a nature stroll in the city so come prepared.
Due to it's difficulty it's normally a very secluded trail which adds to its loveliness even more.

on Euchre Bar Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Hike down and up was not especially scenic. River spot was awesome. Good swimming and rock jumping. Water is crystal clear. No one was out there when I went.
I did hike down around 4 pm mid September. The bugs were bad. Really really bad. I inhaled/ swallowed a dozen at least. They swarmed my dog and my face constantly even though I’d used bug spray. Felt like the only break I got from em was when I was underwater.
The elevation gain from the bridge back up to the trailhead is less than 2K per my Garmin. Nice for a quick work out.
Oh and when you’re driving out there there’s a right turn before you get to the restrooms that provides awesome views of the canyon. Beautiful sunset spot

This is a beautiful trail, and probably that's an understatement.
For starters, this was my first ever backpacking trip. So, first ever backpacking trip for a person who's 5feet (petite) and who hits the gym 10times a month on average. Whatever i read on this site and several other blogs definitely made me feel scared that I might not complete this and I'm doing something dumb. All i want to say is, this is not an impossible trail, being in shape and being fit helps, doing other backpacking trips before this might help too. But this can very much be your first backpacking trip as well. But again, if you're one of those who might get tired or might face severe body aches walking 5miles on flat/concrete land - then you might not want to consider doing this one. (I do want to add that I was on ibuprofen all three nights while hiking to reduce some body pains)

We started off at Mattole on Wednesday evening around 5PM and walked till about 8PM and camped around the lighthouse. We were not in the more crowded campground areas, we just managed to find a spot where it was just us and that did feel good.
Thursday - we started from the lighthouse and began walking around the first impassable spot, we took a lot of breaks, enjoyed the views, and hiked till Randall Creek and camped there. Again, we managed to find a not-at-all crowded spot which worked good.
Friday - we started from Randall Creek and started walking the flat lands, again we took a lot of breaks, enjoyed the wind, the sun, the views and by the end of the day we came a bit farther than the major campground and again camped in a secluded spot (this one is just before the next impassable section)
Saturday - we were determined to complete this trail and head back to black sands. we started a little early around 9AM (earlier days was around 11AM) and did not make major stops on the impassable section. We did one major stop at Buck Creek for breakfast and began hiking again. Honestly, the toughest part of the hike is the last 2miles. We successfully finished and reach black sands beach at about 5PM.

Our original plan was Wednesday to Sunday, but we managed to get done by Saturday!

Couple of things:
Take your time, don't be in a rush just to finish the trail for the sake of finishing it. The view, the sun and the wind is pure and gorgeous. I'm very glad we took hour long breaks in so many spots and just enjoyed sitting out there in wilderness doing absolutely nothing.

Rocks maybe your new best friend. I understand a lot of reviews or blogs mentioned the last 5-6miles is beach sand and it is difficult. Heck yeah, it is difficult. For most of the part, i found my way around trying to walk on loose small rocks. For me, every time i saw that i could walk on the rocks, i was pretty glad. This may not work for everyone, keep in mind it is very very easy to sprain your ankle or get your ankle bent while walking on rocks (big or small, both of them exist in this trail)

Tidal timing is everything. I mean it, if you do not feel safe at any of the impassable sections to get through, just stay back. We did that. Honestly, we just memorized the general tidal timings from a high-level perspective. For us it was just being smart about the tides. If you have a general idea about tidal timings and did some good research before, you should be good. Again, carrying a tidal map is an absolute necessity. We did that, but we hardly opened it.

Pack light - if this your first backpacking trip, do pack light. We over analyzed our intake of food and toiletries and packed a little extra than needed. A bit more planning or idea might have helped us on that front. I would definitely suggest you to review your previous hikes you've done and see how your body consistently reacts to hiking. For example: I know if i'm on a long hike, by the end of it I lose most of my appetite and just require more water. But again, i forced myself to eat as much as possible to hike this one.

Stay hydrated, the first 3-5miles may not have any creeks, but there are abundant creeks through out the rest of the trail. So water should never be a problem, except bring a purifier for sure.

Snakes: We did spot a couple of snakes, they were not rattle snakes. Not sure what they were, but we did spot one at Buck Creek while filling water and one around the land where we camped for the 3rd night. Be careful and check your entire surroundings before you camp somewhere.

Enjoy the hike, it's beautiful and has some amazing view of the world's biggest ocean's coastline. Anything said to describe the trails beauty is not sufficient. It is something to just experience and soak it in.

It is a long hike for sure, there were a couple of times in different days where i was tired and waiting to see if there's flat land anywhere at all. It can take a toll on you if you're not mentally up for it. For me, as much as a hike requires physical strength, it requires mental strength too.

A few important things that need to be stated:
People using this trail are extremely problematic. Do I have your attention? I’m talking to you. There was trash in damn near every campsite we walked by. Half burned food packs in fire pits, cans, toilet paper and baby wipes every-damn-where, and on far too many occasions, piles of shit with a rock placed over them.

If you do not know what backpacking etiquette is, educate yourself first, OR DO NOT GO.

1. PACK OUT YOUR TRASH. All of it. Do not burn it like an idiot. We all know plastic and foil packaging should not be burned.
2. BURRY your feces and toilet paper (if you don’t pack the TP out; do not burry wipes, they must be packed out) 6-8 inches deep.
3. DO NOT HARASS THE WILDLIFE. This includes getting too close for photos as well as polluting their home with your trash.
4. LEAVE NO TRACE.

This is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done, and to see the remnants of peak season use litter the pristine gem is beyond disappointing.

i was always in a hurry to see what was around the next corner. next time got to slow down and appreciate it. our August hike had perfect weather and tides. it is a great hike, not nearly as difficult as anticipated. plentiful water, no need to carry more than a liter at a time.

Awesome hike from castle lake to heart lake! very scenic, would probably be better on a week day at sunrise. It was a little crowded during the week.

Left Mattole Sunday morning and made it to Black Sands on Tuesday a little before noon. One of the best backpacking trips I’ve been on. We had one clear day and then a couple foggy days. Make sure you check the tides and truly obey the schedule. There were a few times that we were a couple hours on either side of high tide and we had some waves come up to our waist, this was ok but I can see how some might have gotten washed away if it was any later or earlier. It was definitely not easy and if this is your first backpacking trip I’d recommend doing another trip first before trying this one out. However it is doable if you are in good shape. Lots of walking on sand and loose rocks. Everyone we met on the trail was very nice and our group now has many memories to take home with us. I definitely recommend this trip and would do it again (but for now it’s ice and Advil for the legs).

2 months ago

The hike back up was definitely hard. Bring bug spray, there was a constant swarm of gnats in my face along most of the trail.

Great short trail. Phenomenal views looking from the top to see Castle Lake & Mt Shasta. Not great. Phenomenal.

Great hike. Would consider more moderate than difficult. One downside is the freeway noise for the first mile or so

Incredible! A genuine California experience. Some tips that I learned: hike the trail close to a new moon (the lowest tides will be during the day) and pay attention to vague signs leading you over hat rock. It was a wonderful trip though.

Amazing backpacking trail. beautiful views and campsites along creeks; we got a swim in each night. The low number of permits keep this lightly trafficked and we ran into few people. You do need to plan around the tides and walking on sand and rocks for most of the trail is hard on your feet, so bring tape for blisters. We did the trail in July and had great weather.

backpacking
2 months ago

Lovely hike but extremely busy. Almost ended up making camp away from the lakes as there was hardly a spot to setup camp. Finally found a nice little spot at the northeast end of Upper Loch Leven Lake.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trip last weekend with my eight year old daughter and some friends. This was her first trip and was as good hike for both of us. The lakes are absolutely gorgeous and the 2nd lake is perfect for camping. We got a little lost on the granite before the railroad, but the markers were pretty good to help get us back on track. The only downside is the number of people. We saw people everywhere we looked and had people hiking through our campsite on the east side of the lake constantly. Nevertheless, the experience was great for the first time and having my 8 year old say at the end of the trip " We are so doing that again!" was the highlight for me!

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