Kinsey Creek to Rattlesnake Ridge and Kings Crest Trail

HARD 3 reviews
#5 of 16 trails in

Kinsey Creek to Rattlesnake Ridge and Kings Crest Trail is a 18.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Petrolia, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
18.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,599 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

scramble

washed out

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 fresh water at Kinsey Creek and where Rattlesnake Ridge connects to the beach. You can rent bear cans from the ranger station. Please be aware of the presence bears and snakes in the area and pack out all of your trash!

21 days ago

amazing hike with extraordinary views (fog dependant). you will likely have the trail to yourself as most people stick to the lost coast trail on the beach. it is a straitforward trail that is overgrown in a few spots, but is easy to follow. lots of elevation gain and loss, so be in shaoe or prepare to have sore legs after you complete the loop. 10/10 would recommend, especially if you camp at Miller camp, an amazing nook in a forgotten corner of the range with a spring, fern meadow and giant old growth Douglas-fir...

1 month ago

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!

hiking
2 months ago

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.