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Lost Coast Trek


  •   Rugged California Coastline
  •   Remote Black Sand Beaches
  •   Dense Old Growth Forests
  •   Ocean Wildlife
  •   Stunning Beach Camping


The Lost Coast is a section of Pacific coastline so rugged and mountainous that State Highway 101 was forced to go around. The remoteness and wildness are a welcome respite from the rest of California's coastlines, where state parks, mansions, and congested roads dominate the edge of the ocean. Here in the Lost Coast, the wind-beaten cliffs of the King Range stand guard above the sea, deterring every would-be visitor except those on foot.

Following the narrow strip of beach that divides the mountains from the ocean, our hike traverses black sand beaches, coastal mountains with dense forests, and low tide zones rich with marine life. This is the kingdom of the hiker, a rich wilderness with fresh water creeks flowing out of the coastal mountains, that is only accessibly by backpacking. Our route leads to expansive vistas of the vast Pacific Ocean, with lots of solitude, and intense natural beauty!

It's extremely beneficial to register before September 30th for trips the following year! Lost Coast permits become available on October 1st, and we are required to have registered guests to request dates. We have an excellent success rate with securing our dates; however, if for some reason we're unsuccessful your deposit is fully transferrable or refundable.

Dates must be carefully selected based on tides. In the Dates & Booking section of this page you will find dates that work with the tides. If you're interested in other dates, please contact us as we will have to ensure they are feasible. If not, we will work with you to find feasible dates in your timeframe.

Feel free to call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions about the Lost Coast permit process.

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Backpacking Trip
Sacramento, CA
6 days
27.5mi / 44km
$1375 Per Person

Travel to Sacramento

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Trip Dates & Booking

Click on a date to register.
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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Don't see your dates? Call us!
We can often customize dates for groups at no extra cost!
800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Drive to Clear Lake: 2 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: minimal
  • Elevation Change: minimal

We will meet in Sacramento with pick-up at the airport and head west towards beautiful Clear Lake to a private campground where we'll set up camp for the evening. We can spend the evening relaxing by the lake or do some hiking on the local lakeside trails. We will close the night out with a filling dinner and a cozy campfire (if not restricted).

Day 2
  • Shuttle to Black Sands Beach: 3 hours
  • Shuttle from Black Sand beach to Mattole: 2 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.2
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 878 feet

Today we will eat a quick breakfast and wake up early to make our way toward the Lost Coast. After a 3 hour drive we will arrive at Hidden Valley trailhead where we will set off on a half day hike with light packs toward Chemise Mountain. We will climb up the towering cliff 878 ft and take in the view of the wild Pacific Coast below. After a quick descent back to the car we’ll drive to Shelter Cove, pack our bags, have a quick lunch and meet our private shuttle driver that will be taking us to the northern trailhead, Mattole, which is situated on a stretch of beautiful Pacific coastline. We'll set up camp, enjoy another cozy campfire, delicious dinner, and prepare to start our journey the next day.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 200 feet

After a delicious breakfast we will pack up and begin our trek along the Lost Coast Trail. The first two miles of our trail take us through dune grass with fantastic views of the ocean. We will take a short break before tackling the initial of 3 Tidal Zones which are sections of beach that must be passed at low tide. Consulting our tide charts we will hike the ½ mile stretch, eventually arriving at the locally famous Punta Gorda Lighthouse. Known to many as the “Alcatraz” of lighthouses, Punta Gorda is famous for its quite extreme remoteness and isloation. The lighthouse, which was first used in the early part of the 20th century, was in use until the 1950's. After the Punta Gorda we will approach a section of cliff too sheer for a hiking trail, which forces up and over a 200 feet tall bluff. At the top of this bluff is our first night's camp with stunning views of the ocean, the sunset, and the beaches below us.

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 9.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 500 feet

Our third day begins early with hot coffee or tea and a steaming breakfast. Our hike takes us through our second tidal zone, this one 4 miles in length. Again consulting our tide charts, we brave extended rugged hiking on wet and coarse rocks to Kandall Creek. After a brief break at the creek to filter water and eat a quick snack we continue down a pleasant dirt trail, a well-deserved respite from the rugged tidal zone hiking. The next few miles take us up a densely forested ridge in classic coastal mountains, and eventually drop us down to another fresh water creek, where we'll set up camp for the night. Our camp is nestled in a forested cover with wonderful views of the ocean.

Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 200 feet

Today's hike begins again with reaching a tidal zone pretty quick, and the necessity of consulting our tidal charts. We will hike past beautiful Miller Flat to the next tidal zone on our route. Low tide comes twice a day, and above the tidal zone are mountains rising up directly from the ocean. Our route follows a narrow section of rock along the cliffs. This stretch of hiking is rocky and occasionally requires timing our passage between waves. Many guests feel this is the most breathtaking part of our journey. After approxiamtely 2 miles we come to Gitchell Creek where the beach is again safe for high tide trekking. We will end today's hike at Buck creek where our camp is again nestled in a forested cove, this time near a beautiful waterfall. We will enjoy a final, celebratory dinner tonight over our last roaring campfire.

Day 6
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 200 feet
  • Shuttle to Sacramento: 4.5 hours

Our last day, after a hearty breakfast, we will pack up and hike south toward Black Sands Beach trailhead, where our vehicle is waiting for us from Day 1. Hiking along the black sand, forests of Douglas fir cover the hillsides and homes along Shelter Cove come into view. As we climb up from the beach back to our car, we will enjoy a last lunch before making our 4.5 hour drive back to Sacramento, where we will say our goodbyes.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified California hiking guide
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Sacramento and back
  • All necessary entrance fees and permits
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.

Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone

What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

This trip originates in Sacramento, California. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to coordinate the airport pick-up. Please schedule your flights to arrive in Sacramento before 1PM. After pick-up at the airport we will begin our journey north, with the first night spent camping on the shores of Clear Lake.

Start/End Times

Please schedule your flight to arrive in Sacramento before 1PM on the first day. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on our Lost Coast backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 12 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)

Weather in the Lost Coast

The Lost Coast of Northern California is moderated and cooled by the moist air coming off the Pacific Ocean, which makes for surprisingly consistent temperatures year round. It's often foggy in the morning, clear during the day, and foggy again in the evening. From May through October rain is scarce, but mist and fog are common. Winter is the rainy season. Read below for average high and low temperatures in the Lost Coast:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)

Camping on Backpacking Trips

backpacking tent

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

backpacking meals

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

backpacking campsites

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

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