The sun is setting on the ocean as you’re making camp for the night. There is nobody around you except for sea lions barking in the distance.
That’s not a dream. All you need is to backpack the Lost Coast Trail, a 25-mile, no-elevation gain, beach trail in Northern California. Here is what you need to know to make this dream a reality.
|25 miles||2–4 days||May–October||Required & competitive|
The coast is a lot cooler than the rest of California. Expect fog in summer and rain in winter. The best time to visit is from May through October.
Before picking a date, check the tide because some sections are impassable at low tide. Tides change every day, and on some days, the low tide occurs at night. Check out the Interactive Tide Chart to pick the best date.
You can start from either the North (Mattole Beach) or the South (Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove). Both offer a similar experience but the logistics vary.
Check the tides before picking an itinerary. An itinerary may be a better choice depending on the tide. Use the Interactive Tide Chart to find out:Interactive Tide Chart
The Lost Coast Trail is best done as a one-way route. So how do you get back to your car after you get to the other end?
As with any point-to-point hike, we recommend leaving your car at the end of the trail. You may be faster, or slower and it’s always good to know there’s a car waiting for you instead of stressing out about catching a shuttle or giving somebody a call!
You have three options:
You need a permit to hike the Lost Coast Trail. You can book permits on Recreation.gov. Permits are released once a year, on October 1, at 7 AM PT.
|For trips starting in…||…permits are released on|
|2022||October 1, 2021, at 7 AM PT|
|2023||October 1, 2022, at 7 AM PT|
|2024||October 1, 2023, at 7 AM PT|
This trail is extremely popular, permits for the best dates run out within minutes of the opening date.
But if you can’t secure a permit, you can always snag a canceled permit. Use our notification service to receive alerts when we find permits.Snag canceled permits
Hi! I’m Jordan and I create tools for busy backpackers.
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