Lost Coast Trail: Mattole to Black Sands Beach

MODERATE 86 reviews
#1 of 15 trails in

Lost Coast Trail: Mattole to Black Sands Beach is a 24.9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Ferndale, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
24.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3500 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

backpacking
14 days ago

best california beach experience out there. bring extra socks!

backpacking
22 days ago

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.

hiking
27 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

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

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

2 months ago

backpacking
2 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!

backpacking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

As usual, the mileage and trail on this site is not accurate (unless you fly in a straight line). As other have pointed out - some waypoints are wrong. If you zoom into the map - you'll also notice some of the path is not the actual trail.

Did this after Labour day - it was still busy. The only time when we were truly alone was camping near Cooskie Creek - as it was within the tidal zone.

Gitchell was overflowing - as that is a popular site for night before exiting.

Between Randall and Big Flat - you are hiking mostly on flat/packed trail away from the coast (limited views), so it is easy to do these in a few hours. (We did 16 miles on the second day)

Dog owners: Dog booties will not 'magically' make your dog a hiker. I bought my dog and we met 2 others on the trail - none had booties and all did fine. BUT they are lean/athletic breeds (Husky, German Shepherd and some hunting dog) and all had previous hiking experience and plenty of endurance.

The popularity of this trail also meant some inconsiderate hikers. Some areas had toilet paper everywhere (yuck!). There was also a lot of fresh shallow buried food and on our second night, a couple started a campfire (there was a no fire restriction).

Overall, it was a moderate-easy hike (almost no elevation gain). Next time, to avoid the crowds, I would probably go off-season.

backpacking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

2 months ago

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

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?

backpacking
3 months ago

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
3 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.