From Big Flat the trail continues a short distance before dumping you back onto the beach and you remain on the beach all the way to Shelter Cove.
In places the beach is wide and sandy, though the sand is seldom finer than small pebbles. In other places the trail is narrow and rocky. Along the narrower beaches it tends to be flat for a few feet before plunging at a steep angle into the ocean. You should not go into the Lost Coast expecting a casual walk along the beach. Even though hiking on the beach keeps you at about 0 to 3 feet in elevation it is still hard work.
There are a number of places along the beach where you can only pass during a low tide. And however low the tide may be it is safest during a receding tide. One of the most important pieces of gear you will carry here will be a tide table. Even though the tide had been receding for a while I still got my feet wet while jumping onto rocks between waves at one point. Needless to say I didn't time it very well because my brothers feet remained dry. A short distance farther it looked like we were going to have trouble again, but at the last moment an arch presented itself and we were able to duck through it and avoid the ocean.
Once you pass Gitchell Creek the beach remains pretty wide, depending on the tide of course. Between here and Black Sands Beach you may see 4wd vehicles. Once at Black Sands Beach you can go to the parking area where you will find a remarkably clean bathroom with flush toilets. From here you will make your way on road to the town of Shelter Cove. There is a campground with laundry facilities and a market near Mario's Marina, but it's really not much of a campground. We chose to stay the night at a motel across the street.
We ate dinner at a restaurant next to the motel which had opened only about a week earlier. It had very good steak and my brother said that the fish, which was local, was the best he ever had.