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Best trails in King Range Wilderness

549 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in King Range Wilderness, California? AllTrails has 16 great hiking trails, views trails, wildlife trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 10 moderate trails in King Range Wilderness ranging from 4.8 to 48.4 miles and from 36 to 4,091 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

From beaches to high peaks commanding outstanding vistas, the King Range Wilderness is the wildest portion of the California coast. Indeed, the King Range is the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the United States outside of Alaska. Botanists consider the region's dune system extremely unique in that the aggressive introduced European dune grass has not yet encroached, as it has on most coastal dunes north of San Francisco. Rare coastal ancient forests of Douglas fir, madrone, and tan oak dominate the Honeydew Creek watershed. Endangered species include leafy reedgrass, California brown pelican, steelhead trout, Chinook and Coho salmon, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, northern spotted owl, and Roosevelt elk. The California Coastal Trail traverses the entire length of the area. In 2000, President Clinton designated the rocks and islands just offshore as the California Coast National Monument. Mountains, forests, streams, and coastal bluffs of the King Range Wilderness provide homes for the bald eagle, American peregrine falcon, osprey, spotted owl, Roosevelt elk, otter, gray fox, black bear, and other wildlife.

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Map of trails in King Range Wilderness
Park information
Acreage:
42,695 acres
Contact
707-825-2300
Helpful links
Top trails (16)
#1 - Lost Coast Trail: Mattole to Black Sands Beach
King Range Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(328)
Length: 25.3 mi • Est. 11 h 15 m
A backpacking trip along California's most undeveloped stretch of shoreline. The Lost Coast is an 80 mile stretch of the California coast where the builders of Highway 1 decided to go around because it was too rough. This trip takes you down the Lost Coast starting at Mattole and ending at Black Sands Beach. This is a one way hike, so you need to shuttle a car to the end and then drive to the beginning. If you don't want to bring two cars, a shuttle service will pick you up at Black Sands Beach and shuttle you and your gear to Mattole (about 2 hours driving away) so you can hike back to your car.Show more
#2 - Lost Coast Central Stretch
King Range Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(32)
Length: 9.1 mi • Est. 3 h 52 m
Central portion of the Lost Coast Trail. Start in Shelter Cove, pack in to Gitchell Creek where you set up camp. Day hike to Shipman Lagoon and Big Beach, then back.Show more
#3 - Cooskie Creek Route
King Range Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(11)
Length: 23.9 mi • Est. Multi-day
Multi day trip to Cooskie Creek.  Hike up Cooskie creek to the Cooskie Creek Trail and take it up and over Lake and Spanish Ridges, returning down the Spanish Ridge trail to Randall creek and on up the beach back to camp.  Show more
#4 - Punta Gorda Lighthouse via Lost Cost Trail
King Range Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(57)
Length: 7 mi • Est. 2 h 36 m
#5 - King Peak Trail
King Range Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(21)
Length: 4.8 mi • Est. 3 h 15 m
#6 - Paradise Royale
King Range Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(14)
Length: 12 mi • Est. 6 h 4 m
#7 - Lost Coast - King Range Loop
King Range Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(10)
Length: 44.7 mi • Est. Multi-day
A four-day trek beginning at Shelter Cove. Camp the first night at Buck Creek and hike the next day to King Peak at 4,000 ft. Camp at Miller Loop camp where there is a freshwater spring nearby. Hike from there down Kingsley Ridge and back to the beach where you can spend a third night. From there, travel along the beach to Horse Mountain Creek where you can spend the last night before the short jaunt back to Shelter Cove. For the sheer variety of terrain, foliage, and vistas, this is a great trip. See whales a few hundred yards offshore, barking sea lions, thousands of lizards, some snakes, deer, etc. Bear cans are required.Show more
#8 - Kinsey Creek to Rattlesnake Ridge and Kings Crest Trail
King Range Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(7)
Length: 20.3 mi • Est. 11 h 20 m
This trail starts at Kinsey Road Trailhead, but if you car doesn't make it all the way to the trailhead you can park earlier along the road and walk the rest of the way. From the trailhead you go down Kinsey Road Trail about four steep miles to the beach. You then hike south along the beach for about 5 miles before heading up Rattlesnake Ridge Trail. Depending on the season, you can get water from the river at the start of the ascent, which is a steep and overgrown walk through ferns, redwoods, madrone, and wildflowers. It is grueling but totally worth it. You will then continue onto the Kings Crest Ridge Trail where the views make all your hard work worth it. There is usually fresh water at Kinsey Creek and where Rattlesnake Ridge connects to the beach. You can rent bear cans from the ranger station on your drive into the trailhead. Please be aware of the presence of bears and snakes in the area and pack out all of your trash! Show more
#9 - Lost Coast and Big Flat Creek via Kings Crest
King Range Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(6)
Length: 21 mi • Est. Multi-day
This is a great 2-3 day trek with plenty of options to extend once you get down to the Lost Coast. Offering everything from mountain views, forest terrain, creek crossings, and beach hiking - it's hard to find a comparable hike that offers this all-in-one. The main challenges to be aware of are creek crossings at calf/knee height if there has been a recent storm, tide crossings where you will need to know the local tide timetables (Shelter Cove, CA), and the ascent at the end taking you up 3,000ft in ~3mi. It is highly recommended to do this in the late-Spring/ Summer/early-Fall. Be prepared for potential snow and challenging creek crossings in the winter. The trail is overgrown in some places and can have significant blowdown from the weather, so it's best to check with the local project office about trail conditions.Show more
#10 - Spanish Ridge Loop Trail
King Range Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(12)
Length: 12.4 mi • Est. 7 h 18 m
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