Explore the most popular nature trips trails in King Range Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I tried to follow the Rattle Snake trail to go up the King Crest on June 16, 2018. But I could not find the trail after I crossed the creek!

A rare gem where it is possible to backpack along the Pacific Coast without any sign of civilization. To reiterate what others have said you want to understand the tide and protect your food from bears. Its a lot of loose rocks more than packed sand, so the miles here will take a lot more out of you than they would in other places. Sneakers might actually be a better choice than hiking boots for this trail.

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).

We 3 did the north section from June 1st to June 3rd.
The weather was amazine, the forecast said it has somewhere 15 mph gust and regular 10 wind, but I don't really feel it. Temperature around 70-80 during the day and around 50 at night.

We camped at Shelter Cove RV and Campground on 31st, it is a much more expensive campground($46 for 3 people), but it has shower, and flush toilet, and most importantly, it is very close and reservable to the Black Sand Beach Trailhead, where we take our shuttle.

We took Lost Coast Adventure shuttle to Mattole Beach Trailhead. The service was nice and price reasonable. The only improvement which I would say is maybe ability to adjust the shuttle according to tide time, will be better.

Speaking of the tide, I originally was not quite sure about how high a tide is safe for hiking. I was planning for 2.5ft as the safe zone for us to hike, which only allow us to hike early morning to noon. But during our hike we assessed the actual situation, we actually hiked in 3-4 ft(forecast tide level, not actual) period and we did it. There was only one or two points which I felt a bit sketchy between Miller Flat to Shipman Creek during 3-4 ft tide zone. But we managed to get through, giving the beautiful weather and mercy of little-wind.

My original plan was first day 4.5 miles to Seal Lion Gulch, second day 12 miles to Miller Flat, third day end the hike with 8.5 miles. But after words I felt we totally didn't follow the plan.

We 3 are all relatively fast hikers, we started at 9:30am, reached Sea Lion Gulch around 11:45ish, one of our guy's boots had failed him having the front half of the out soles falling from the boots. He managed to fixed it with duct tape and we kept going. We arrived at Cooskie Creek about some time past 1pm.

We took lunch, nap on the beach, it was beautiful. And we started again at 5:45pm, this time we reached Spanish Flat. The hike of the later afternoon was much harder than the morning, the terrain was mostly soccer sized pebbles and the tide was higher than the morning. We need to be really careful about the footing and watch the tide. We arrived at Spanish Flat about 7:30. Started a fire, had dinner, and I played with my camera, finally after so many backpacking trip carrying it without utilizing it, shot the starry sky.

Second day we started late around a quarter to 10 am, same pattern, this time we took our break at Miller flat around 2. There was nice swimming holes at both Big Creek and Miller Flat, we took a dip at Miller Flat.

We picked up from Miller flat at about 5:15pm. Here after Miller Flat we came across the sketchy point about less than a mile towards Shipman Creek. Once we arrived at Shipman Creek, the poor guy's outsoles was found completely peeled off the bottom of the boots. Again, this genius hiker fixed it again with ropes, multitool, and small pebbles! Such creativity!!! We finally camped at Gitchell Creek at 7:30pm, enjoyed incredible sunset, warm campfire and amazing starry night sky again.

Last day was easy, only 3.6 miles, but all on sandy beach, walking was not as easy as on solid ground. We finished the hike at 12pm.

This was a life changing backpacking trail. Couple of recommendations: (1) Download the tide chart and plan around the impassable areas https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaatidepredictions.html?id=9418024 (2) Treat your clothing for ticks with permethrin - ticks are particularly bad in Humboldt county according to local hospitals. Enjoy your time - the wildflowers are beautiful, look for starfish and other wildlife!

Description
This is a magical trail that has absolutely the most beautiful views of the coastline while providing an isolated completely plugged out experience. You don't have to go all the way one way. Couple of options: 1. Go all the way and arrange for a ride to drop off at parking location
2. Start at the north point and do as far as you want. Camp and do day hikes through the trail to get a good look at the middle section
3. Start on the south end and do the same as # 2
Either way you will get plenty of site seeing and some wildlife if you're lucky. We got to see a herd of Elk passing by. They were playing at the beach - I have never seen animals having fun at the beach like these elks.

There are many wet parts of the trail, you are inevitably going to get we, so bring waterproof shoes and clothes that will dry easy. If you catch warm weather, the beach was a lot of fun to hang around and explore.

Very good hike. Moderate difficulty seems an appropriate rating. Not particularly strenuous, but does have some decent elevation gain. Shortly after the vista point sign we continued to the left to make it a bit of a loop. The trails are obvious. This meets back up with what is shown on the map here. We did this so there was less back tracking and more unique scenery. Great views inland toward the coastal range and great views of the coast as well. Beautiful forest with diverse wildlife. Also meets up with hidden valley trail.

This was my first backpacking trip and it was absolutely amazing! Just incredibly beautiful. If you love the beach, you get it. Did it comfortably in three days (Start 5/19 @ 10am - End 5/21 @ 3pm). 2 days is tough but doable. Bring tide charts because there are impassable sections. Would recommend buying the BLM map. Campsites are easily found and common at wide mouthed rivers even in the impassable sections! Plenty of water sources. There’s relative solitude during Spring/Summer. Permit is required! Would recommend going North to South, taking a shuttle Mattole and leaving your car at the Black Sands. Terrain is pretty roughy, either big rocks or sand so be prepared! Absolutely amazing trip!

I just completed this loop as a dayhike, and I should note that the route drawn on here and the distance do not correspond exactly to what I found. The drawn route seems to cut off a large portion of Rattlesnake Ridge, including most of the switchbacks. My Garmin had the distance at about 18.8 miles total.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this hike. It was quite diverse - from walking along the ocean to going through ferns to being high above it all on the ridge - and extremely beautiful. The first four miles and the last ~2 are on the "road", so they aren't particularly exciting and generally lack views. Rattlesnake Ridge was quite overgrown with ferns and other plants, and higher up, there were a lot of overhanging branches that dumped tons of pollen at the slightest movement. That portion of the trail was definitely the hardest (having basically all of the elevation gain).

I don't know what the water level is typically like in the streams, but crossing wasn't terribly difficult. I had to do some searching for the right rocks to hop across (so as not to take my boots off multiple times in a short span), but that didn't take too long.

I got quite warm on the ascent. Not all of it is shaded, and it's strenuous. The views at the top are absolutely worth it, though! Plus, there was a nice breeze up there.

Overall, I thought this was a great loop, fitting exactly what I was looking for in terms of difficulty and distance. I was back to my car in 7 hours, so it's definitely a manageable hike for a day. If you'd rather enjoy the scenery a bit more and not push the pace, I could see this being a nice place for an overnight stay, too.

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.

on Paradise Royale

mountain biking
3 months ago

Great trail! 14 mile loop with some awesome ocean views!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful and remote! This is the closest trail on AllTrails that matches what we did (and the maps on here don't show the trails accurately, so make sure to use the official BLM maps, or something similar. For example, those found here: https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/california/king-range-national-conservation-area).

We spent a couple nights here in Feb 2017. Took just about the hardest way possible for a day at the beach. Started in the late afternoon from the Lightning Trailhead and spent the night at Maple Camp. Next morning, hiked to King Peak via the King Crest Trail, then headed south and set up our tent at Bear Hollow. Afterward, we hiked to the beach via the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail, then hiked back up the ~2500 feet to Bear Hollow for the night. Headed out the next morning.

Many of the trails are very steep and arduous (lots of elevation gain and loss, but many switchbacks). Overall, trails are in good condition. Some areas where the trails run along steep slopes have eroded and there's a bit of sketchy side-hilling. Due to the steep topography, the two camping areas we used had very limited space. Just enough for a few tents. No problem for us because no one else was camped at either spot.

The views were spectacular, there are many beautiful little creeks flowing in winter, and the beach was great. After a tough hike, during which we only saw one other person, we were surprised to see a house on an inholding of private land at the beach (must be accessed only by boat or aircraft).

Some sections of the trail along Big Flat Creek were hard to find due to erosion from last year's big winter. However, we figured out that the trail crosses the creek several times while making its way to the ocean. At most crossings, there were large cairns on the shoreline to indicate crossing points.

The roads to get to the trailhead were in decent shape (and would be no problem at all for a 4x4 vehicle with some clearance). We took a little Honda Fit and *barely* made it though in a few areas due to road erosion. However, we noticed that the road was in the process of being graded on King Peak Rd closer to Shelter Cove.

Overall, a great experience. It was hugely helpful to have loaded geo referenced PDF maps onto my phone prior to the trip (I recommend Avenza or Gaia GPS). Those maps helped guide us when traditional navigation apps failed. With good map reading skills or good digital maps, a vehicle with some clearance, and patience, no problem. Expect road erosion and a long, slow drive to get to some of the trailheads once you're off the pavement!

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/

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.

Amazing black sand beach. Sublime.

best california beach experience out there. bring extra socks!

Awesome MTB ride in the forest, flowy fun!

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.

beautiful trail! views are amazing and it's a very unique trail! lots of sand and pebble trail walking.

on King Peak Trail

hiking
8 months ago

Great backpacking route. My girlfriend and myself did it early Sept 2017. A couple things to consider before going: 1) the road to get to mattole from Redway is terrible- have a vehicle with decent ground clearance. 2) If you are someone who doesn't enjoy a good physical challenge, this might not be your trail. The hiking at an angle along the sand takes a tole on your hips, and ankles. 3) the first section of impassible at high tide there aren't really any areas to escape if you mistimed the tide, the second section there are a couple areas where you can escape. 4) Very little protection from the sun/wind, so be prepared with sunscreen and wind protective gear if it's windy. 5) If you shuttle, consider leaving your car at the bottom, and shuttling to Mattole.
I wish we would have done this! Overall a gorgeous hike. Recommend it to any outdoor enthusiast!

Best 3 days of my life! Don't forget your tide guide, keep hydrated. Many terrains, creek crossings, hillsides, fields and whole lot of beach.

Went at the end of July. I am ready to go again! We pushed through in 3 days, but I'd love to do a lot of side hikes and take 5 days to enjoy it even more. Saw tons of seals, a bear, and plenty of starfish!
We clocked it at 34 miles and we did not stray far from the coastline, anyone else experience that?

The Lost Coast is definitely my favorite backpacking trip I have done so far. My Dad and I hiked this in 3 days/2 nights. We hiked 12 miles on day 1, 8 miles on day 2, and 4 miles on day 3. I really recommend doing as many miles as you can on the first day to have an easy hike out the last day because it is all sand over the last stretch. The best part of the trip was getting the chance to see a bear! We started day 3 around 7AM and about an hour in, we hear movement through the bushes on the ridge to our left and turns out it was a bear cub! Bears are really out there so be cautious of your food and scented items. If you are thinking about this hike, go do it! You will not regret hiking the Lost Coast.

backpacking
10 months ago

Amazing hike! Definitely need a tide chart for this one, but if you take the shuttle, you can ask them ahead of time for one. Our driver adjusted the tide chart the morning of the hike. Each day was adjusted and it definitely came in handy. We had a slow Day 1 on the trail and got stuck at the overland pass at the start of the first impassable zone. Instead of hiking back and setting up camp for the night, we waited until the tide was receding to start a sunset/night hike through the tide zone and another 2 to the Spanish Flats. It was mildly dangerous, but we had headlamps and were able to hike under the Milky Way. Definitely my favorite part of the trip.

hiking
10 months ago

Only took the trail to the lighthouse. Hard to know exactly where trail is...lots of walking on sand which is a bit disorienting and takes energy and time. The lighthouse is viewable from the spot marked on the map, but it was at least another mile before we reached it. I would recommend trying it out, but be prepared for a lot of walking on sand (wear proper shoes) and a longer walk to the lighthouse than was shown on the app.

I've hiked this trail several times it has been different each time due to tides winds and rains. You never know what's going to happen. A true adventure trail

Can't wait to do it again!

My first backpacking trip! What a beautifully challenging and rewarding journey!

Awesome stuff..

I keep writing an actual review, but it's not saving here. sorry folks!

The Lost Coast is interesting. It has a mix of terrain unlike any other place I have backpacked. You go from brown fine sand to small gravel to larger gravel back to fine sand and then walking through a field to then go boulder hopping and then finish with fine black sand. The great part about it is that when you are getting sick of walking on one type of terrain, it will change in another mile. If you bring your dog please, please, please bring booties.
You do need to watch out for rattlesnakes, scorpions and poison oak when settling down for the night. We encountered each of these.
We started off camping in Mattole Friday night and set off early Saturday morning and hiked 12 miles the first day, about 10 the second day and 3 the last day. If you camp at Mattole bring a jug of water to start out your morning, the spigots there do not work but the first stream is about 2 miles away so you can make it.
I do recommend getting an official map of the area, it totally helps you navigate if you do not take a shuttle and decide to leave one car at Mattole and the other at Black Sands.

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