You Don't Have to Hike 24 Miles to Explore the Lost Coast

The best of NorCal without the crowds

By: Brian & Alyssa Wood
September 17, 2016

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Many people come to the Lost Cost to hike the 24 mile stretch of coast, but we came for the day hikes or to spend the day mountain biking. We spent the first portion of our visit in the forest at Tolkan Campground. Being April, it was still quite chilly at night, but we were happy to have the campground all to ourselves. 

During our time there, we hiked from the mountain forest down to the beach. When we stepped out of the trees and onto the beach, we saw beautiful black sand, sheer cliffs and crashing waves. We looked down the beach and saw nobody else, so we took off our hiking garb and laid in the sun.

The next day we hit the Paradise Royale Loop with our mountain bikes. We road through the forest cross bridges, creeks and all sorts of trees and flowers. By the end, we were tired and took advantage of the empty campground and warm afternoon to take long solar showers.

After the days in the mountain forest, we decided to make our way to the Mattole Campground on the coast. Most of the roads along the way were primitive, dirt roads, but we had no problem in our truck. 

The parking lot had plenty of cars in it, but most of these were hikers that were on the 24 mile trail, so we found the campground pretty empty. The spot we picked had beautiful views and a sand hill that blocked the ocean winds. 

We spent days here in the sun relaxing and walking along the beach. We were fascinated by the sea creatures that had washed ashore and by the tiny ecosystems of sea urchin and snails within the rocks. 

We left knowing we'd be back. Maybe next time we'll tackle that 24 mile trail.

Check out this BLM page for more information on the campsites where we stayed and more.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.