Hiking the Lost Coast

by John Soares on April 27, 2010

Rick McCharles of the BestHike.com blog just wrote about his recent exploration of the Lost Coast of far northern California:

A quick summary:

• camp anywhere you like, but in established sites
• beware Bear visits
• severe storms typical
• no bridges, many creek crossings
• be forewarned about ticks and Lyme disease
• all water must be treated
• don’t be surprised to find a rattle snake in a pile of driftwood
• mobile phone coverage unlikely
• it’s remote, rescue slow and difficult

Rick also discusses the dangers of getting caught by high tides and getting sucked out to sea by rogue waves.

You’ve got to see Rick’s stunning pics, and the link to the full set on Flickr. Wow!

Lost Coast of Northern California. Photo by Rick McCharles.

Lost Coast of Northern California. Photo by Rick McCharles.

I’ve explored the northern section of the Lost Coast, but my brother and co-author Marc Soares was the lucky dog who got to do the whole thing for our 100 Classic Hikes in Northern California.

Late spring is a good time to go.

Been to the Lost Coast? What were your experiences?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Miller April 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I did the Lost Coast hike a couple of years ago and I found it one of the most difficult, but rewarding hikes I’ve ever done. I did the route in 3 days, one way from Mattole Creek to Shelter Cove ( and hired a shuttle to start) . The beach hiking was pretty challenging at places, especially the beaches of gravel and large rocks.

The scenery was spectacular. I went in mid June and had perfect weather. Wild flowers were abundant especially in the area of Miller Flat. I highly recommend this hike, but know that it will be more difficult that you think. Hiking in the sand takes more out of you than you realize. My hike was just featured in the latest issue of Backpacker magazine and the details are online: http://bp2.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=27498


John Soares April 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Dave, I’ve actually been twice. Once was backpacking in the late 1970s when I was a teenager, and we hiked a ways in, and then back.

I went much later, again from the Petrolia side, but for a day-hike.

I really liked what you did over at Backpacker magazine’s site. You’ve created a great resource for folks hiking the Lost Coast.

Thanks for writing!


Janette Storer April 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I am so excited to have gotten this today… I have planned this trip for the week of June 28th, and your descriptives have definately helped! Thanks So Much!


John Soares April 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Janet, I hope you have a great time. Just be careful, and make sure you follow all the safety precautions Rick mentions in the link above.


Ken Shoufer July 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

From the description and photos, it sounds like a beautiful hike. Wish I was up there right now.


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