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The Lost Coast - King Range & Sinkyone Wilderness
Mattole Beach to Randall Creek
Spanish Flat, Big Flat and King Peak
Shelter Cove
Needle Rock and Bear Harbor
Wheeler, Anderson Cliff and Usal
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Suggested Links
King Range National Conservation Area
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park
California Coastal Records Project
California Coastal Records Project: Mattole River Campground
California Coastal Records Project: Usal Beach
Lost Coast Trail Transportation Service
2006 Shelter Cove Tide Tables
Suggested Books
The Lost Coast: Stories from the Surf
Hiking the California Coastal Trail: Oregon to Monterey
Nearby Campgrounds
Humboldt Redwoods State Park 16 miles
Benbow Lake State Recreation Area 29 miles
Richardson Grove State Park 30 miles
Standish-hickey State Recreation Area 38 miles
Russian Gulch State Park 68 miles

Trail Journals

The Lost Coast - King Range & Sinkyone Wilderness

Pages:   Introduction   1   2   3   4
Day Three - to King Peak and Back Down to Big Flat Map: Spanish Flat, Big Flat and King Peak
Kings Peak
Kings Peak
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Big Flat
Big Flat
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Once at Bear Hollow the hike to King Peak isn't so bad. You still have a ways to climb, but the tough switchbacks to Bear Hollow are the hardest part.

Soon after you leave Bear Hollow you meet a junction and turn right. Much of the trail is in the clear so there isn't much shade and it can get quite warm up here. This was the first time during our trip that we could see the sun and it must have been at least 15 degrees warmer than the coast below.

At the next junction you will turn right. If you are running low on water here you can turn left to Maple Camp where water is available. From here the trail climbs up the back side of the mountain to the summit at about 4,088 feet. There is a small wood and stone structure here, though calling it a structure may be giving it more credit than it deserves, with a register where you can leave your name.

From here we could see nothing but rugged mountains to the east. Looking west we could see nothing but clouds about 2000 feet below. After a while we turned back and returned to Bear Hollow where we collected our things and continued to Big Flat where it was cool and cloudy. There is plenty of camping at Big Flat with lots of structures built from driftwood. We were never happier than we were that night at Big Flat. We were very happy not to be at Bear Hollow!

Day Four - to Shelter Cove Map: Shelter Cove
End of Trail
End of Trail
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Tricky Point
Tricky Point
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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.

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