Explore N 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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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.

Love love love this place! This time of year there were hardly anyone, very peaceful.

great trail! loved it!

hiking
7 days ago

Absolutely beautiful trail. It still amazes me that you can hike through a spectacular Redwood forest and end up on the beach (and a undeveloped beach)! We recorded about 12 miles total to get all the way to the beach for lunch and then head back. Saw very few people and felt complete solitude. Amazing scenery and energy. Definitely recommend.

hiking
7 days ago

We only had a little bit of daylight left and were in the vicinity so we chose this short, beautiful trail. Only problem was you could hear the street noise (hence the 4 stars). The park service is trying to re-establish the waterfall and creek which were covered over years ago due to logging…hence the pipe that someone complained about. But we found it quite beautiful.

on Trillium Falls Trail

hiking
14 days ago

Was really disappointed to find that Trillium Falls was water coming out of a pipe. Wouldn’t waste your time on this if you are just traveling.

hiking
14 days ago

Did this hike years ago and is still one of my all time favorite hikes. Quite easy, but spent a couple hours meandering and looking at the trees

Great hike

LOVE! You have to do this! We went and there was nobody there and it was gorgeous :)

A very nice walk with amazing big Coastal Redwoods and then Fern Canyon- be prepared for water crossings. Then beach and back up into the old growth forest- just magical. We would rate this moderate only- the trail is excellent. Fern Canyon is slow going with the stream and multiple crisscrossing but great. 20 kms all up and 4 hours 43 minutes. A really lovely day out. So peaceful. Highly recommend.

Beautiful hike through spectacular redwoods. We started at prairie creek visitor center and headed toward fern canyon, which is a site to see in itself. Prepare for wet shoes if you decide to go through fern canyon instead of straight to the trail base. You’re basically walking through a creek surrounded by fern covered walls. From there we headed across the beach to the start of miners trail back toward prairie creek visitor center. Overall it took us about 6 hours to finish, which includes stopping to eat lunch and stopping for many pictures. Would definitely recommend for someone up for some adventure

hiking
1 month ago

Came here on a Wednesday @2pm. becomes "off road" about 3 miles before the trail head. Unfortunately, my scion xb wouldn't make it to the head (due to "creek" more like puddle) all the way so we parked about a little over a mile before getting to the head. My friend and I didn't mind at all, it made the hike a little longer. The actual hike was beautiful, where good shoes, and take a camera. :)

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent trail condition with amazing views. Unique in that one sees so many different environments between old growth groves and the beach.

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!

backpacking
1 month ago

Very nice overnight out and back. If doing it again, I’d camp on the gavel bar.

Awesome for family spent a long time here, great meander through the woods. Snuck down to the river- lots of surface action. Grabbing rod.

10/1/18
If you want to mix it up from just viewing Redwood trees I’d say this is a must do. While there were footbridges in place, and well placed rocks/logs, just plan on getting your feet wet. The trail makes a loop and returns via the forest on top of the canyon but I think most people do it as an out and back through the canyon as that’s the most interesting part. It’s a bit of a drive on a winding gravel road through the trees to get here, and it’s a day use fee area (unless you have a parks pass or other), but it’s worth it for this hike and the secluded stretch of coast.

Beautiful, wild and surprise.

backpacking
1 month ago

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

Very long trail (22km) but beautiful!!!!

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.

Beautiful trail and a great hike. was all alone on the trail in late August. I will give warning that I ran into a black bear at the trailhead enjoying some of the black berries there. Yelling and waving my arms scared him off, but still a scary moment.

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).

I highly recommend this trip! I spent several hours here, there was so much to see and enjoy! The bathrooms were very nice and clean, the gift shop was adorable and the cafe has great options, including vegan options! There is also a nursery/garden shop attached. The trails through the gardens were beautiful! There were lots of birds and bees and butterflies all around, it was lovely. Everything was in bloom and it smelled amazing! The trails were so peaceful. Eventually you make your way to the ocean cliffs and wow, what a view! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Thank you!!!

We spent far longer than expected here! It was a very popular trail. Totally flat after a small paved incline to parking lot. We explored lots of small off shoot trails that were less travelled but still well kept.
Drive in is a single lane gravel road but has lots of turn outs for passing safely.

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.

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