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Lost Coast Trail

Intermediate

Trail

27.3 mile 43.9 kilometer point to point
97% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,840' 561 m
Descent: -1,820' -555 m
High: 152' 46 m
Low: 0' 0 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (1°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Trail shared by Willie Virgen

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Miles and miles of epic, untouched coastal beauty await!

Willie Virgen

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

This trail may be approached from 3 main entry points: at the top of the King Range National Conservation Area, at the middle between the King Range and Sinkyone Wilderness (Needle Rock), or at the southern end of the Sinkyone Wilderness at Usal Campground.

To start at the southern portion, exit on Usal Rd off Highway 1 (this exit is unmarked, use the Trail Run Project mobile app). This is located about 20 miles west of Leggett, CA. Once you get to the exit, it takes about 45 minutes to drive the 6 miles to Usal Campground. The dirt road is a single lane that can be extremely steep in places. 4WD may be necessary during some parts of the year so call the local ranger station to check road status before heading out. Be sure that your reverse driving skills are sharp because you may have to drive backwards along this road for a small stretch due to oncoming traffic.

Once at the campsite, pay the $5/night parking fee and start heading along Usal Rd to the north. You'll see a very distinct single-path trail that heads into the Redwoods and up a hillside. There used to be typical trail sign here, but it has since been replaced.

Right from the get go, this trail starts off with a good dose of switchbacks and incline. It stays this way for the first mile or so, and then you reach a clearing where you can see Usal Beach down below. From here, its more incline as you climb the mountains that overlook the southern end of The Lost Coast.

Little Jackass Creek is about 7 miles away from Usal. In those 7 miles, you'll cross 3 different creeks (one of which has a small primitive campsite; Anderson Camp). Each one of these has running water in case you need to replenish your water. Every time you cross these creeks, you can expect anywhere from 800-1200 feet in elevation change. There will be some flat portion in between those changes for you to catch your breath.

There are many tall ferns, trees, and other plants that overhang the trail the whole time. Keep an eye out for wildlife as well. On this trip, I encountered one ginormous elk, 2 black bears, 2 does, a handful of lizards, and a couple of ticks (one of which left me with a nice bullseye ring, which is most likely onset Lyme disease, so use caution with these guys!).

Make sure you stretch, have plenty of water, eat a big breakfast, have trekking poles handy, and have a big memory card for your camera because this trail demands it. There are so many amazing views once you reach the flat areas of the trail.

Flora & Fauna

Coastal shrubs and bushes, tall redwoods and other trees, mushrooms, ferns.

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Jun 13, 2018
weasty ch
3 persons

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 18 votes

#170

Overall
  4.6 from 18 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
28%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#19

in California

#170

Overall
65 Views Last Month
3,793 Since Nov 24, 2015
Intermediate

0%
14%
43%
36%
7%
0%

Photos

The Lost Coast.
Feb 3, 2016 near Ferndale, CA
A cluster of starfish cling to the rocks along the Lost Coast Trail.
May 6, 2017 near Redway, CA
Traveling the Lost Coast Trail in October brings golden grasses and wonderful temperatures.
May 6, 2017 near Ferndale, CA
The Lost Coast Trail - Punta Gorda.
Jun 29, 2017 near Ferndale, CA
Onward along the Lost Coast Trail.
Feb 3, 2016 near Redway, CA
Incredible campsites along this trail!
Jun 8, 2016 near Redway, CA

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