The hike to Enderts Beach on the Coastal Trail packs a lot of beauty into its short length: sweeping vistas of ocean and cliff; lush, green forests; the canyon of Nickel Creek; and Enderts Beach itself, with its steep cliffs and opportunities for tide-pool exploration.
This article is based on Hike 26 in my all-color guidebook Hike the Parks: Redwood National & State Parks, which has all the best hikes along with details about camping, beaches, and other outdoor activities.
Coastal Trail to Enderts Beach Key Data
Distance: 1.6 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 200 feet
High point: 200 feet
Trail surface: dirt
Maps: USGS Sister Rocks, Redwood National and State Parks brochure
Contact: Redwood National Park/Redwood National & State Parks for more information
GPS: N 41 42.342 W 124 8.566
Notes: dogs not allowed; toilet at trailhead; picnic tables by Crescent Beach Overlook
Finding the Trailhead for Enderts Beach via the Coastal Trail
Take Enderts Beach Road, which is on the west side of US Highway 101 about 0.5 mile north of where the highway leaves the forest before you reach Crescent City and 2 miles south of Elk Valley Road in Crescent City. Follow Enderts Beach Road 1.8 miles to its end at the Crescent Beach Overlook.
Crescent Beach Overlook: Must Do!
Before you begin the actual hike, walk the brief distance to the Crescent Beach Overlook near the picnic area. Here you’ll find one of the best vistas on the entire West Coast: an unimpeded northward view of beach, ocean, town, field, and forest. Also look just below to the west and south for wave-pounded sea stacks rising just offshore from the steep cliffs.
Hiking the Coastal Trail to Endert’s Beach
Return to the trailhead at the south side of the main parking area, pausing to read about human and natural history on the interpretive panels. Your route is the Last Chance section of the Coastal Trail, routed along the bed of the old Redwood Highway, once the main road through the redwoods and coast of far Northern California. Prone to erosion and slides, especially in this area, the road was eventually relocated up on the ridge as present-day US 101.
The way starts level and then begins a long descent as it heads south along the steep cliff. Red alder and Sitka spruce are the most common trees, but they frequently gives way to patches of coastal scrub. Stop frequently to gaze at Enderts Beach below and the Pacific Ocean expanding to the far horizon, with the sound of crashing waves in your ears.
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- Hiking trails and beach walks
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- Redwood National Park
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
- Del Norte Redwoods State Park
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Buy it at Northern California REI and Barnes & Noble stores (call first), and at park visitor centers.
The path eventually turns east and descends into the canyon of Nickel Creek. Reach a three-way trail junction at 0.4 mile on the near side of the stream. The main Coastal Trail goes straight to cross the creek, the Enderts Beach trail goes right, and the Creekside Trail runs left.
Exploring the Creekside Trail
For now, go left on the Creekside Trail. It runs a lush, shaded, and quiet 0.2 mile to end at a small Nickel Creek feeder stream. Along the way you’ll pass plenty of red alder and sword fern, and the occasional Sitka spruce and bigleaf maple, with the low murmur of Nickel Creek always present below. (Note: this is too close to the ocean for redwoods to grow.)
Reaching Enderts Beach
Return 0.2 mile to the three-way junction and take the short trail signed for Enderts Beach. It follows Nickel Creek 0.2 mile west. Gain a view of the ocean just before reaching the last steep portion that descends to Enderts Beach (watch your step).
You will definitely appreciate the beauty and solitude. Nickel Creek enters the ocean to the left on the far side of a large rock at trail’s end. Other rocks lie just offshore, with the blue Pacific stretching south, west, and north to the far horizon.
To get down to the beach itself, negotiate the slippery rock just to the right (north) of the large rock where the trail ended. You can wander 100 feet north, but the main part of Enderts Beach stretches 200 yards south; to access it, first pass through a small arch directly under the large rock and then cross Nickel Creek.
If you planned your visit for a minus low tide, you can carefully explore the tide pools. If you walk the farthest reaches of the beach, make sure you pay attention to any rising tide.
More Hiking Options
You have two good options: One, return to the trailhead and take the Crescent Beach section of the Coastal Trail north from the picnic area and down to Crescent Beach, which runs nearly 4 miles north to Crescent City harbor. Two, from the trail intersection at 0.4 mile, at the meeting with Nickel Creek, cross the creek and climb on the Coastal Trail into redwoods.
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Includes trailhead directions and detailed maps and trail descriptions
Often available at Barnes & Noble, REI, and other quality bookstores and outdoor stores (call first!)
My Enderts Beach Youtube Video
Here’s a short video of the highlights along the trail to Enderts Beach, including part of the Last Chance section of the Coastal Trail and the Creekside Trail. It’s one of a hundred-plus videos on my Northern California Hiking Trails Youtube channel. Please subscribe to the channel and click notifications to get alerted to all my new videos (and please give the video a like!).