Lost Coast Trail: Southern Loop

HARD 2 reviews

Lost Coast Trail: Southern Loop is a 17.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Whitethorn, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
17.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5616 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

camping

hiking

beach

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

over grown

no dogs

hiking
15 days ago

Not sure what the previous review said about most of it is walking on a beach. None of the trail is on the beach.
Few things to note about this trail. The road leading to it is about 6-7 miles of some sketchy one lane dirt road filled with giant potholes, mud, rocks, debris, steep climbs and decent, and barely any room to move over if another car approaches you. If it has been raining a lot in the area and you don't have the proper vehicle, you'll probably get stuck in mud.
That said, the trail is very nice, but also sorta sketchy in some places.
There are orange and pink ribbons tied to various things that act as the trail marker but they just vanish after about 2-3 miles if you start at the southern most point. The trail is very narrow with lots of growth which makes it difficult to see where you should be going. It's not entirely obvious either if you think you can look at tracks on the ground. Sometimes the trail forks that lead you to dead ends, and you won't realize it's a dead end until the trail just suddenly stops.
Trekking poles are sorta useless in some spots due to all of the growth and extremely narrow sections (like, less than the width of your foot in some spots). It constantly snags on your poles. They are extremely helpful once you get to the parts where the trail eroded away off the side of cliffs where you need extra balance.
The views are spectacular though. Nice hike.

7 months ago

Beautiful beach with black sand but not for day hikers! Day hikers starting in Shelter Cove will be buffeted and sand blasted by winds from the north. Trail is mostly walking on the beach. Slow going and not much fun. Very cold creeks to cross every mile. Must take off shoes and wade across. No bridges. So many other beautiful beaches that are much more friendly to day hikers. Skip this one!