Lost Coast Trail: Southern Loop

hard 20 reviews

Lost Coast Trail: Southern Loop is a 27.8 kilometer 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: 27.8 km Elevation Gain: 1,708 m Route Type: Loop

camping

hiking

beach

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

over grown

no dogs

Lost Coast Trail: Southern Section, Sinkyone Wilderness

hiking
off trail
over grown
washed out
5 months ago

Using this AllTrails app I planned a one night backpacking trip starting from Usal Beach. Thinking it was too much to make the loop back on Timber Haul Road from Wheeler Camp we decided to camp at Jackass and then back track to take the 1.1 mile Wheeler Trail to Timber Haul. Camping at Jackass was awesome! We were the only ones there, whale and seal watched, and saw bear prints on the beach when we woke up. We had a little hard time finding the Wheeler trail from the main, Lost Coast Trail, but saw some flagging at the edge where it started. The trail went into the woods and then was quickly hard to locate. It seemed to be all Pampas grass with little deer trails around. The app showed us on the trail, but it was nothing but Bushwhacking through Pampas grass— razor sharp and cutting us. It was awful. We were hopeful that it would get better but after an hour and further in, we had to get out of there! We decided follow a drainage to Anderson creek and follow it back out to the main trail. It was an awful 3 hour, 3 Mile detour. I’m very very disappointed that AllTrails showed this on the map. Maybe it was a trail years and years ago, but not now! The Lost Coast Trail itself was a bit rough, with less Pampas Grass, Poison Oak and shrubs overgrown on the trail. Some parts we eroded away, but nothing was impassible. Lots of elevation gain. We hiked in on a foggy day and hiked out on a sunny clear day, where we could finally see the ocean. It was gorgeous!

backpacking
bridge out
over grown
washed out
6 months ago

I have to agree with the comment of "what trail?" Of course the views are spectacular, the wildlife was awesome, we did see a bear which is ALWAYS an awesome sight, but the Poison Oak, the Stinging Nettle EVERYWHERE, Manzanita overgrown, VERY brambly, some of the trail is completely washed out so it's a bit tricky not to slide down the side if you're not extremely careful! A few HUGE downed trees that you have to climb over or under (pain in the butt with a backpack!) Once we got to Jackass Creek, we saw that an outhouse had been washed away down the creek (with potty in toe). There was also a bridge that was no longer, just the remanence of it. We decided to follow the creek in order to access the ocean hoping for a place to stay the night and BAM there it was and it was AMAZING! It was no easy task getting through all the obstacles but we made it and it was well worth it. Be aware that there is a bear living nearby this gorgeous "site" but we left each other alone! :) It's a difficult trek all in all with so many things to deal with. Having said that, I would not do this again unless it was "maintained" again. If you do decide to take the challenge, WEAR LONG PANTS AND LONG SLEEVES!!!!!!!!!!!!

hiking
blowdown
over grown
8 months ago

Absolutely one of the most amazing trails I have ever taken. As a backpacking trip, there was very little foot traffic and some of the spots were absolutely stunning. Low maintenance of the trail and lack of human interactions have left the elk, black bears, deer and other wildlife a beautiful haven. The wild plant life and the redwoods are something from a fantasy.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
8 months ago

Trail? What trail. You are following a deer track that is overgrown, washed out and the bushes and brambles feel like they are trying to throw you into the ocean. Glad I had trekking poles to help with footing, but they are constantly tangled. Poison oak, wild berries with thorns, stinging nettle. No thanks. I will use the horse trail. Only way I would do this "trail" is without a pack.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
8 months ago

Beautiful views on the western side, but not quite worth the poison oak and thistles in the sun to get them. Much slower than expected due to lots of sun exposure and extraordinarily overgrown sections of the trail. WEAR PANTS, bring poles, and a long sleeve shirt. There is poison oak along the entire western half. Incredible beach campsites though, so worth it if you're prepared. Eastern portion is a walk in the park, large fire road all the way Wheeler's back to Usal. Lots of shade, no poison oak.

backpacking
bugs
over grown
9 months ago

Great loop, that does not require permit and allows you to have great beach + redwoods views. Started at usal beach campground. To arrive you need to take usal road, which is in bad conditions, for 6 miles. I drove a Toyota Corolla, and did not have any major issue. The trail is not well maintained with lot of high grass, but you can follow it easily most time and with the help of a gps and a map you won't face any major issue. I would absolutely recommend wearing long pants and hiking poles are helpful as well. you can do an overnight in jackass campground for a 2 day backpacking trip, or if you have more time and want to enjoy the beach also stop at wheeler. Would totally recommend this route if you like solitude and wilderness in your backpacking trips!

hiking
Mon Jul 09 2018

Hiked the southern Lost Coast Trail (Sinkyone Wilderness) with my son in early July 2018. Stared at Hidden Valley, out at Usal beach 3 days and 3 nights on the trail. Many beautiful sections on the trail, especially the tracks through the redwoods and near the coast (jones beach to bear harbor especially.) Sections through the dry, exposed tall grass and scrub sections were VERY challenging. Impossible without poles. Trail has collapsed in many sections. Lots of trees across the trail in higher sections. Lower sections overgrown with nettles & thorns. No trail maintenance in many years. Recommend long pants and long sleeves and gloves and boot traction covers (seriously!). Sinkyone VERY different from Kings Range section. Multiple 1000 ft plus elevation gains and losses. More time in the redwoods, very little on the beach. But ample rewards for the adventurous and prepared! Relatively few hikers on the trail. No problem finding nice campsites at backcountry sites. No problem with water at stream crossings. Lots of Elk, especially at Jones beach. No evidence of bears. In summary, a challenging AND rewarding hike. Not for newbies or unprepared. 3 full days recommended for full southern section.

backpacking
Sun Feb 18 2018

This is are second home!!! There are lot of unmarked trails that take you to the beach. make sure your aware of the tides that ocean Is an angry one!

hiking
Sun Nov 26 2017

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.

Wed May 10 2017

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!

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

backpacking
Fri Jul 27 2018

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