King Peak Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Garberville, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,955 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


nature trips


bird watching



wild flowers


Directions from Redway or Garberville, CA: Take the Garberville or Redway exit from US 101 following signs toward Shelter Cove and the King Range NCA. Once in Redway, take Shelter Cove Road 22.5 miles to King Peak (Horse Mt.) Road. Follow this to King Range Road, take a left here. The trailheads on the left and is marked by a sign. Note: Be careful along the long drive from US 101, often on narrow, winding, steep paved roads. The drive is not recommended for motor homes or vehicles with long trailers.

9 months ago

This is a great hike with a scenic vista of the Pacific Ocean and Humboldt redwoods. The total mileage is about 5.3 with an elevation gain over 2k ft. The trail is kept in good condition although we needed to rely on a cached copy of the All Trails route on our way back, as there are a couple of junctions. We hiked it with our three month old daughter in about 2.5 hours with a stop at the top for photos and on the return to cool off in the creek. That being said, it does have a significant elevation gain in the first half, so it may take you longer if you’re not used to hills. The ascent was fairly shaded although once you reach the top it is very exposed so be prepared for some serious sun if you hike it on a warm day. The view from the top is spectacular, but there is no shade to rest in so we quickly started our descent. There’s a little creek about halfway down, if you need to cool off. While I would have given this hike five stars, I’m deducting a star because the road leading to the trail head was treacherous, even with a 4WD car. It took us at least an hour to traverse the 12 mile extremely bumpy, steep, hairpin turn road in. We nearly thought about turning around but the road was so narrow and steep there really wasn’t any way we could have! Probably won’t do this again, as there are other scenic hikes like this that are much more accessible.

Sun Apr 28 2019

Great trail! It’s a nice climb and a little longer than Alltrails estimates, closer to 5.5 miles. View at the top is worth the trip with great views and on a clear day you can see all the way to Shasta to the northeast. Trail was in good condition, I didn’t have any trouble finding it or staying on it. It followed my downloaded Alltrails map pretty closely. In a couple areas there were downed trees but the paths around are well worn by now. Didn’t see any bears of have trouble with locals but I took precautions to keep my car clear and locked and carry some bear spray. The hike took me about 3 hours with a stop at the top. I’m not a particularly speedy hiker so if you are it would take you less. Went on a Saturday and only saw one other couple. Didn’t meet anyone while driving in and only a couple dirt bikes leaving. It took me a good bit to dive in and I definitely wouldn’t come from Honeydew without 4WD and high clearance, you might be able to get away with a moderate clearance car coming from the south. Road is rough with large ruts and only one lane. Low traffic. Be prepared to tolerate that for a few hours at least. GPS was pretty good navigating me, maps weren’t perfect but close enough to figure it out. I had the reserve map for reference too.

Sun Mar 03 2019

Love it!!

Sat Aug 18 2018

The ocean view from the top of Lightning Trail is outstanding, but finding the trailhead can be a challenge. The Lost Coast area is not well marked with signs. Lots of switchbacks. Fairly strenuous with elevation gain. Fair warning, don't leave much in car. Some locals don't appreciate the tourists.

Mon Jul 30 2018

More like a 5.2 mile loop with 2,000 ft elevation gain if you start at the Lightning trailhead. Lots of pretty pines and red woods on the portion leading up to the loop. Going right at the split is mostly shaded to the top. On our way back down we were thankful to have hiked up on the right and down in the sun. Loved being able to have our pup run around beside us. Only bumped into 1 other couple the whole trail. Great view at the top of the mountain rage and ocean! Took Kings Peak Road (dirt road) to get to the trail head. Super fun 1-lane dirt trail. Needed to use 4-wheel drive in a couple areas due to it being pretty sandy and washed out.

Fri Feb 16 2018

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: 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!

Sun Sep 24 2017

Fri Apr 22 2016

This trail is awesome! It climbs up to breath taking 360 degree views over looking the Lost Coast Redwoods and the wild Pacific Ocean.

Tue May 08 2012

Hiked this trail as part of a longer Lost Coast trip in the King Range wilderness area. It's a strenuous climb, especially with a full pack, but the ocean and mountain vistas are worth it. It was very cold and windy at the peak even though the weather going up most of the ridge was very pleasant.

11 months ago

recorded King Peak Trail

Tue Apr 02 2019

Sun Mar 24 2019

Mon Feb 04 2019

Sat Oct 13 2018

Wed Jul 11 2018