The Lost Coast trail is the premier coastal backpacking trail in California and because of its significance has been designated a National Recreation Trail. The experience of hiking where the land meets the sea is unforgettable and strenuous. This is the California Coastal Trail at its finest!
On the north section of the Lost Coast Trail you will mainly be walking on boulders, pebbles, and sand. This is in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) King Range National Conservation Area.
The south section is in California’s Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Here you will hike 12,000 feet of altitude difference – more than in and out of the Grand Canyon!
There is a 4 mile section of road in the Shelter Cove area that separates the north and south sections of the Lost Coast trail. I suggest that you take Horse Mountain Creek Trail to King Peak Road, 0.2 miles on Shelter Cove Road to Chemise Mountain Road where you will find Hidden Valley Trailhead (or vise versa if traveling south to north). This will significantly reduce your time walking on Shelter Cove Road.
The averages hiking distance is 8 miles per day and is plenty of distance for the average backpacker, given the challenges of the terrain.
The Wilderness Press map provides information for both the King Range and the Sinkyone. However, if you only need a map for the King Range I highly suggest getting a BLM map from the office is Arcata or Whitethorn – this map is much more accurate. I’ve talked with dozens of people using the Wilderness Press map that have no idea where they are.