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Lost Coast Hiking Guides
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Lost Coast Hiking Tour
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Lost Coast Trekking Tour
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Lost Coast Hiking Vacation

Lost Coast Trek

Highlights

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

Description

The Lost Coast is a stretch of California coastline so rugged State Highway 101 was forced to go around. The remoteness is a rare respite from the rest of the state's border with the Pacific Ocean. There are no mansions tucked along hillsides or congested lines of traffic winding along the cliffs. Here, the weathered cliffs of the King Range tower above the sea, blocking the way of everyone who's not on foot.

Between the cliffs and the sea, the Lost Coast Trail passes along a narrow band of pristine black sand beaches. It is the domain of the hiker, a wild and severe landscape swathed in dense forest with pristine creeks, waterfalls, and stunning sunsets. Our path leads us to expansive vistas above the surf and to remote, majestic campsites. Apart from sea lions and a few other adventurous hikers, it is pure solitude. The Lost Coast trail is one of the finest beach backpacking trips in the world - don’t miss this one of a kind tour!


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.

We're Here to Help!
 
Backpacking Trip
Difficulty:
Solitude:
Sacramento, CA
5 days
25mi / 40km
$1195 Per Person

Travel to Sacramento

  Private Trips

  See Trip Dates


Trip Dates & Booking

Click on a date to register.
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
  • Available to Book
  • Going Fast
  • Request a Reservation
Don't see your dates? Call us!
We may be able to add new trip dates.
800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Drive to Black Sands Beach from Sacramento: 4.5 hrs
  • Shuttle from Black Sand Beach to Mattole: 2 hours

Today we will eat a quick breakfast and wake up early to make our way toward the Lost Coast. After a 4.5 hour drive we will arrive at Black Sands beach trailhead and meet our private shuttle driver that will be taking us to the Northern starting trailhead. We will set up camp on the beach near our trailhead, sit around a cozy campfire as the sun sets, and dine on some amazing outdoor cuisine prepared by your guide. Also, if we arrive at the beach early enough there are some wonderful hikes and walks in the immediate area that you can enjoy.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 200 feet

After a hearty breakfast we will pack up and begin our adventure along the Lost Coast Trail. The first two miles of the trail wind through dune grass, after which we reach our first of three tidal zones, which are stretches of beach impassable at high tide. Navigating with the tide charts, we will make our way through the ½ mile stretch, after which the Punta Gorda Lighthouse comes into view. Known as the “Alcatraz” of lighthouses, due to its isolation and solitude, Punta Gorda makes for wonderful photography. The light house, first lit in 1912, provided a beacon to ships until the 1950’s. After the lighthouse we will continue on to Sea Lion Gulch, where the cliff becomes too steep for the trail to continue. We will climb roughly 200 ft up on the bluff and then finish our day with 2 more miles to our campsite along a pristine creek with stunning ocean views.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 9.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 500 feet

Our third day begins with a hike along a 2 mile stretch that is impassable at high tide, so we'll time our departure carefully. Following tide charts, we make our way along rough and wet cobblestone where a coastal creek flows into the ocean. Beyond the tidal zone we'll stop for a quick snack along and then continue down a nice dirt trail, a wonderful section of hiking. For the next few miles we ascend a densely forested ridge with with views of prominent coast peaks to our left, and eventually drop down to a major valley with a crystal clear creek. We'll stop, fill up water and enjoy the scenery, then continue another 2.8 miles to our camp, where we'll eat a delicious dinner around a roaring campfire.

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 200 feet

After a tasty breakfast, today's hike begins with more timing with the tides. Only twice a day during low tide does today's initial trail emerge. The mountains rise up directly out of the sea and the beach is a thin shelf along the cliffs. This section is steep, rocky and sometimes involves timing travel with the patterns of the waves. Most think this is the most beautiful part of our trail. After roughly 4 miles we approach a beautiful creek and the beach opens up wide enough for high tide travel. We will make our way toward Horse Mountain Creek where we will camp for the evening and enjoy our final, celebratory dinner around another cozy campfire.

Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 200 feet

On our last day, after a hearty breakfast, we will pack up and head south toward Black Sands Beach trailhead. Walking along the black sand, forests of Douglas fir covering the hillsides and homes along Shelter Cove come into view. As we climb up from the beach to our shuttle, we will enjoy a last lunch before making our 4.5 hour drive back to Sacramento, where we will say our goodbyes and start dreaming about our next adventure.




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
  • Emergency communication device(s)


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 with an orientation meeting the evening before the trip begins at the Hampton Inn & Suites Sacramento-Airport-Natomas. We recommend staying at this hotel, as we will depart directly from here on the morning of Day 1 and return to this hotel on Day 5. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to coordinate the pre-trip orientation.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's departure time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 6 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at this hotel on the final day normally before 7 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.


Guides

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)
     
 
Month
Low
Hi
 
 
May
54°
51°
 
 
June
55°
52°
 
 
July
56°
53°
 
 
August
57°
54°
 
 
September
58°
54°
 
 
October
57°
54°
 

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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