This blog post has been written by Linda, one of our blogger team member who enjoys hiking!
The lost coast trail north of Mendocino (about 3 hours Northbond San Francisco) is one of the most scenic hikes along California’s most undeveloped stretch of shoreline. No wonder it is among the top 10 hikes in the US. If you are into hiking this shouldn’t be missed!
There are two parts of the lost coast trial – a northern and a southern part. The southern part has more elevation and goes along the hills on the ocean. The northern part of the lost coast trail is a 24 mile 3 days hike. It needs a bit of planning since it mostly goes along the beach and some stretches are not passable during high tide.
We did the northern part with some friends in the beginning of June. We started right by a lonely, but happy elephant seal; walked along a trial with millions of wild flowers, saw a whale with its baby very close to the shore and almost stepped on a rattlesnake.
The hike can be easily done in three days. You hike about 8 miles each day. The beginning and the end is hiking along the beach, which is incredibly beautiful but don’t underestimate walking in the sand… The middle part is along a little trail up on the cliff with plenty of wild flowers in early June.
We left our cars at Black Sands Beach, took a shuttle up to Mattole (2 hours) where we started the hike. You have two options of transportation to/ from the hike: either booking a shuttle to take you to the starting point or split the group and have some people start hiking from the northern to the southern point of the hike and vice versa to have a car at both points.
We chose to take a shuttle early in the morning to the northern starting point, which was $50 per person for 7 adults and one child, which rode for free. The shuttle service (individuals with a van) is easy to find on Google.
There are several campsites along the trail, which are free and don’t have any facilities. But there are plenty of rivers along the trail and on the campsites to fill up your water supply.
There are a few things to keep in mind since you are out in the wilderness:
1) What to look out for
- Fog in summer (best times are in spring and fall, even so we got lucky in early June)
- Tides (use tide tables and plan to be out of the high tide zone well in advance)
- Bears, rattle snakes and poison oak (it’s required to store food in bear canisters)
2) What to bring:
- Lightweight tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag and cooker
- Comfortable hiking backpack
- First aid kid, including bandages for blisters
- Lost coast trail map (recommended to the high tide spots)
- Water filter or purifying tablets, a lightweight water bottle or platypus
- Plenty of food for 3 days
- Sunscreen and a cap
- Hiking pants, hiking boots and a warm sweater or fleece
- Sandals for stream crossing
- Bear container
- Fire starter and lighter
For more photos of our last coast trail hike, visit: http://stevecappell.smugmug.com/Nature/Lost-Coast/23512683_Sj5nx5#!i=1900798057&k=drNDk7c
It is a hike you will never forget!