Explore Lost Coast - 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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Don’t miss this if you are in the area.
I took James Irvine trail to Fern Canyon which was about 4.5miles one way. Once in the Fern Canyon Hike along the creek to get the full experience, your feet will get wet but well worth it. Feels like you are in a prehistoric movie set. I was there for 30mins without meeting a soul. I am sure it will get more crowded in the summer.

Get your feet wet. Hike over logs.

About 7 of us and my dog did this entire trip just last weekend. March 16-19, 2018. It was incredible. We expected rain but ended up with perfect blue skies and warm weather.
Creeks were high but still passable. Always expect to get wet on this trip. If you pack and dress appropriately then its not even an issue.
The campsites are defined by the fire pits alone the bluffs. I would seriously not recommend camping on the beach. The sand is manageable but the sand fleas are a nightmare. They are active all night. It almost sounds like it’s raining out the tent.
The wildlife was amazing. We saw seals and elephant seals, sea otters, tons of cool shorebirds, and even blow holes from the whales passing in the distance.
Shuttle from the south end to the north end. The road is rough and it’s better to leave the driving to the experts.
And take notes from other blogs. This trail is hard. 10 miles on flat ground is easy but the loose rock and sand turns 2 full steps into about 1 1/2 steps. Even the fastest hiker is slowed down.
I would not recommend for any dog’s first backpacking trip. By the last day my dog was sore and tired. He’s only two. Booties are required for all dogs. I took my dogs booties off at campsites or short stretches of soft sand. His feet were still tender afterwards but far better than being cut up and beaten.

Beautiful hike. We did this last March. Glad we hiked in water shoes and shorts, as a good stretch of it we hiked right in the creek. Loved all the elk in the area.

If you are in Northern California, this is a MUST. A very easy but extremely beautiful and magical experience. You will feel like you're in Jurassic Park. If going in the Spring, may want to consider wear waterproof boots! Your feet will surely get a tad or two wet.

walking
2 months ago

Very pleasant walking path, it get a bit close to the cliff edge in some spots but you can get off the trail to walk a little further from the edge.

pretty trail along beach and redwoods finished at around 6 miles

This is are second home!!!
There are lot of unmarked trails that take you to the beach. make sure your aware of the tides that ocean Is an angry one!

backpacking
2 months ago

This is where part of Star Wars was filled. Felt like an alien planet. Beautiful and mysterious.
Saw many bull elk while hiking. Not to be messed with.
Loved the place.

Saw tons of elk. Nice easy hike.

Lovely, small beach. Lots of cool rocks. would like to explore the trail or hills leading to the beach though. did not take the scenic route.

Easily one of the most epic backpacking trips in NorCal. A rugged, oceanside trail, like no other. I wrote about it more extensively in my blog post here: https://slugpace.com/lost-coast-trail/

hiking
2 months ago

Although I'm a much bigger fan of moderate / hard rated trails, this trail will always be a true favorite. It is most definitely an easy trail so it's perfect for anyone! Thankfully even my baby sister agrees to "hike" this trail with me, which makes for wonderful family exploring time.

And there's truly nothing more majestic! You drive through groves of trees, along the ocean, park, and walk up to the canyon's grand entrance - see the pictures I've uploaded if you don't believe me!

You hike through the entirety of the canyon of ferns, up and out through more groves of trees, and back down to the entrance of the canyon before retreating to your vehicle. Although it's short, you can spend as much time as you want in the canyon, which is always my preference.

If you want a hike that's simple and allows time for reflection, then this hike is perfect for you and your loved ones.

we went in August and there was plenty of water sources. there wasn't that much poison oak. when there was it was avoidable.tons of wildlife. amazing trip.

This is a fun little loop. If you don’t want to get super wet, you can ninja your way thru most of it without having to get too deep...but, there are a few points where you really just have to go for it. Waterproof boots, above the ankles for those who aren’t into getting wet. My wife and I loved this one. Stop often and take in your surroundings. It’s likely you’ve never seen anything like it before.

Beautiful walk down to Agate Beach. Agates are all over. Just watch the tide

Not sure what the previous review said about most of it is walking on a beach. None of the trail is on the beach.
Few things to note about this trail. The road leading to it is about 6-7 miles of some sketchy one lane dirt road filled with giant potholes, mud, rocks, debris, steep climbs and decent, and barely any room to move over if another car approaches you. If it has been raining a lot in the area and you don't have the proper vehicle, you'll probably get stuck in mud.
That said, the trail is very nice, but also sorta sketchy in some places.
There are orange and pink ribbons tied to various things that act as the trail marker but they just vanish after about 2-3 miles if you start at the southern most point. The trail is very narrow with lots of growth which makes it difficult to see where you should be going. It's not entirely obvious either if you think you can look at tracks on the ground. Sometimes the trail forks that lead you to dead ends, and you won't realize it's a dead end until the trail just suddenly stops.
Trekking poles are sorta useless in some spots due to all of the growth and extremely narrow sections (like, less than the width of your foot in some spots). It constantly snags on your poles. They are extremely helpful once you get to the parts where the trail eroded away off the side of cliffs where you need extra balance.
The views are spectacular though. Nice hike.

There was lot of water when we had been there. Since it rained a lot a day before we went there. There were about 3 water streams which our car had to pass to get to the fern canyon trailhead. Since our car was not SUV, we decided to park right before the first stream and walk one more mile before reaching the actual trailhead. Fern canyon was pretty amazing, we walked to the end of the trail in the water running like river. It was so much fun!! If anyone is visiting it in recent 2 days, don't try to save your shoes, no matter what you are going to get wet! :)

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful canyon to see Maiden Hair Ferns that require hiking up a shallow river. This is a very short trail so continue on to one of the connecting trails for a longer hike is a must!

5 months ago

Very pretty trail, but did not go all the way through. Parts of it were closed. The parts that we did get to see were very pretty with lots of adorable banana slugs and the sound of seals.

Check for park closures and road closures before you arrive. Tried to drive up after the rain today for a day hike in Fern Canyon and the 4.0 mi steep and windy dirt road looked very slippery and muddy and washed out. Campground and trail to Gold bluff beach said closed. We decided to turn back rather than get stuck.

hiking
5 months ago

Steep hike down trail in disrepair and eroding. Nice small stretch of beach.

hiking
5 months ago

Short easy trail, but the views are amazing!

hiking
5 months ago

What a great hike. even though we got wet. It rained the day before so had some waterfalls flowing.

best california beach experience out there. bring extra socks!

Excellent trail but it is mostly sand and wet jagged rocks with lots of boulder hopping and walking on gravel. You can easily slip at any point in this trail and get severely injured.

Day 2 from cooksie creek to big flats creek was the best.

I recommend against taking your dog it is extremely dangerous for them. You will have to carry them at certain points where you need to cross jagged shale steps. If you do take a dog that dog needs to have the best endurance (handle sun exposure, Must have boots and have used them before). Do not take your dog unless it has previous experience with extremely difficult terrain.

The road up here was very bumpy and we crossed two creeks. My Nissan Sentra was able to make it through without too much trouble. The trail took us about an hour and a half to complete. We stopped a ton to take photos of the views.

If you just want to see the fern canyon walls, you'll have to cross a creek and they're right at the start of the trail about 5ish minutes from parking.

Theres a well-sized tree you'll have to either climb over or crouch walk under. Without good waterproof shoes, and proper hiking gear, I wouldn't consider the first fifteen to thirty minutes as an "easy" hiking trail.

It was, however, well worth everything. Very gorgeous.

backpacking
6 months ago

Great! $8 fee to park, but there is now more wheelchair accessible trails!

6 months ago

What a great trail!! The entire thing and all the little trails that shoot off of it lead to amazing ocean views. Total miles for us was 4.2. Not many ppl since it’s October. Two thumbs up!

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