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Lost Coast Trail/Mattole Trailhead

Lost Coast Trail

Lost Coast Trail/Mattole Trailhead

Lost Coast Trail/Mattole Trailhead

Location: King Range National Conservation Area, Humboldt County, CA
Miles: 25 miles one way
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Duration: 3 days
Users: Hikers, dogs, horses, and mountain bikes permitted. No wheelchair access.

Features: Lost Coast, Punta Gorda Lighthouse, bluffs, beaches, trail spans 25 miles from the mouth of the Mattole River south to Shelter Cove, parking at either end of trail, or paid shuttle service to return you to you car (Lost Coast Transport Service: (707)986-9909), Shipman Creek, Buck Creek

Additional Resources 

Permits: North section (free, 707-986-5400;; south section ($3 per person per night;

Map: California’s Lost Coast Recreation Map ($10,

One of the few trails that allow coastal wilderness hike in the United States is the Lost Coast Trail or the Mattole Trailhead. You can locate this trail in the King Range National Conservation Area. It is a one way trail that stretches up to 25 miles, from the mouth of the Mattole River south to Shelter Cove, the path is mostly level and walks along the beaches.

Coastal wilderness is very evident in this trail, as several adorable sea lions might be visible as you hike your way on the beach trails. There’s also views of tidepools and fascinating wildflowers. One of the highlights of this beach-hike trail is the Miller Flat, a popular surf spot for the locals and has plenty of secret spots near the creek.

Another is the gorgeous Punta Gorda Lighthouse, although it’s not functional anymore, this building can serve as your resting area, hidden from the sun. Lastly this trail offers an immediate paid shuttle service for those who want to get to their vehicle.

Top 3 Adventure Hacks

1) Wear sunscreen and hats

This will help you protect yourself from burning as this trail is not as shaded.

2) Plan ahead

Holiday weekends will be crowded so if you want to enjoy seclusion try to plan it on weekdays or the less crowded spring/fall months. Also, the plan is to schedule your hike so that you could avoid the tides as there are paths each day that is impossible to be crossed at high tides.

3) Wear waterproof gear

As this is a coastal trail, wearing waterproof gears and having waterproof storage will help lessen that wet damp feeling when you hike and protect your stuff.

I'm David Aston, Founding Nomad of AdventureHacks, Inc. My mission is to inspire adventure on the ground, in the water and through the air. If I also happen to inspire you to purchase gear, my team and I plant a tree in its native environment for every order.

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