Wildlife & Natural Surroundings


Part of the enjoyment of the backpack is seeing wildlife as you travel down the coast. Here are some of the wildlife you may see on your adventure.

Gray whales have the longest known migration of any mammal. They travel 10,000-12,000 miles round trip every year between their winter calving lagoons in the warm waters of Mexico and their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic seas. Their route takes them right by the Lost Coast shoreline from December through May. When you get up in the morning, look along the shoreline and you might spot sea otters.

Sea lions and harbor seals travel along the shoreline and lay on the offshore rocks. You may see them just offshore looking at you. If you ever notice a seal on the shore, please keep as far away as possible.

Nearly 300 species of native and migratory birds are seen along the Lost Coast trail. The offshore rocks (part of the California Coastal National Monument) are home to cormorants, brown pelicans and murres. I have also seen many turkey vultures, ospreys and quail.

There are several herds of Roosevelt elk in the Sinkyone State Park. These large animals (bulls weigh from 750 to 1,200 pounds) travel between Whale Gulch and Wheeler throughout the year. Just like you, they like to walk along the Lost Coast trail!  Always stay as far away from elk as possible. If the elk are on the trail, try and hike around them. If you can’t get around them, then wait for the elk to go by you. Sometimes you just have to sit and wait for them to get off the trail. Never challenge them. Cows will protect their calves and bulls will protect their herd. They will charge you if they feel threatened.

If you hike in the mating season (August through October) be very cautious around all elk herds. Bulls are challenging each other for control of the cows and are very agitated 24 hours a day!! They have no problem charging you with a full rack of antlers aimed forward.




2 Responses to “Wildlife & Natural Surroundings”

  1. Ehab Saad 08.15.2016 at 10:56 AM #

    what about bears…is there is bears in lost coast…including the new 2.5 new trail section opened this year…thank you.

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