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Lost Coast Trail: Bear Harbor to Usal Camp

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Piercy, California

Lost Coast Trail: Bear Harbor to Usal Camp is a 12.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Piercy, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 12.6 miles Elevation Gain: 4,849 feet Route Type: Point to Point







wild flowers


over grown


no dogs

This portion of the Lost Coast Trail can be overgrown and hard to navigate in some places. Hikers here can continue north along the trail, or turn around. There are several camps along this route including Jackass Camp, Wheeler Camp, and Usal Camp.

no shade
1 day ago

We did a mellow 25 mile hike over 3 days on the Lost Coast Trail with 15 friends. It was scenic with endless ocean views. We got a permit so a lot of the trails had untouched vegetation and a ton of fields with flower blooms for miles. We walked up a light house one night. We camped out under the stars and the camp areas were ready for backpackers with set fire places. All in all it, was a worthwhile experience. Highly recommend an osprey backpacking pack (for better spine support), proper hiking shoes, and a life straw.

This trail is tough but well worth it!

over grown
5 months ago

I love this trail! It is challenging and beautiful. A lot of the trail gets pretty brushy though, pay attention to your direction! Be advised—there was a rockslide last night that I encountered on my way out from camp about 1/4 mile North of the Dark Gulch Creek Crossing (first creek North of Usal Beach). I was able to make it through, but it was challenging. The trail crosses the slide about 40ish feet above the creek, so if I were to slide down I could hike down the creek and back onto the trail, although it wouldn’t be easy. I might consider taking the logging road in next time to go around the slide. A lot of downed branches in the wooded areas but nothing impassable. If you’re up for a bit of challenge this hike is for you! In the springtime you will see long stretches of blooming purple wild irises. On a clear day the views of the coastline are stunning and you are almost guaranteed to come across some elk. I have on two occasions!

11 months ago

Great hike with family and friends.

Mon Apr 24 2017

Gorgeous hike (we did it the opposite way than the trail listed– from usal to wheeler) but pretty gnarly past anderson gulch (again going towards wheeler) with overgrown trails / trail-finding, bushwhacking, landslides from the recent downpours, and felled trees. There are some steep sections where the landslides have completely taken out the trail and are eroding, so take your time and use caution when scrambling over.

Sun Nov 06 2016

The trail mapped here is actually Jackass Creek (Wheeler) to Usal Camp. Bear Harbor is further North. The trail continues north from Wheeler to Bear Harbor. From Bear Harbor there is a narrow dirt road that continues north and climbs up to "Four Corners" at the very headwaters of the Mattole River.

Tue Jul 26 2016

I would recommend hiking from Needle Point towards Usal Beach, the hike is much easier that direction and there are more camp options and better water sources. If you're a difficulty junkie like me, hike out of Usal towards Anderson Camp. If you have time to kill, follow the creek at Anderson towards the most incredible private beach you'll find on the north coast. This hike is HARD, but if you truly want to enjoy the north coast in solitude, it's absolutely worth it for experienced backpackers. Make sure to get a good map, these trails are barely marked and most of the camps are not.

Sun Oct 06 2013

Sarah wrote a fantastic review - check that out. I ran from Usal Camp to Needle rock in just under five hours (4:53) and other than the difficulty of accessing the trailhead with a Prius was an awesome stint. 19.5 mi and 6k of gain. Beware of poison oak and the hanging ferns that will cut you good if you go through them too quickly. I would probably come back with a friend but not solo, and start way earlier than 4:30 pm to finish in daylight instead of 9:30pm. Also locals warned my ride that it's harvest season in fall so beware of your surroundings. No water so either bring a pack (I had 80oz) or filter, but there were only two sources I would even consider filterable.

Tue Apr 16 2013

This is a super difficult trail that moves quickly between sea level and 1000' foot bluffs over and over again. But the ruggedness of this area is why it is such an unspoiled beauty (Highway 1 couldn't be developed through here; it went around and this area remains isolated). It is astonishingly beautiful at each turn of the path. There are fantastic camps (with funky, unstocked outhouses) at beaches, in canyons, under redwoods along the way. There are hunting Osprey at every beach, herds of elk out on the cliffs, and Sea Lions playing in the surf while you camp nearby. Wildflowers and wild strawberries abounded when we went there in April. The trail along the bluffs can be a bit treacherous as the bluffs are steep and the ground is soft. Often the trail has simply slipped away down the bluff. There are also some very steep sections along canyon walls where there is little footing. However, my family of four came through unscathed and had an amazing time. This is one we all remember forever. There are A LOT of ticks, poison oak, and stinging nettle.

Thu Jul 19 2012

Best hike I've done so far! I'm in very good shape and it was not an easy hike but well worth it. The views range from huge red woods to awesome ocean views . Tons of wild life dear,elk,hawks ,and there are defintly bears I'd suggest bringing a bear canister .very secluded only saw a few groups of people the Intire time . Expect the whether to change at anytime it would be a good idea to bring some lite rain gear. You'll have a great time if you can handle tough terrain

ohv/off road driving
Sat Apr 21 2018

Thu Jun 09 2016