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The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach

Petrolia, California

based on 11 reviews



25.05 miles

Elevation Gain

653 ft

Route Type



Added by Whitney Whitehouse

The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach takes you along stunning coastal views on this 25 mile stretch of coastline with nicely laid out campsites and easy access to water. Need to have shuttle car (best to leave your car at Shelter Cove TH and take shuttle up). Duration: 3 days/2 nights.

This is an absolutely stunning 25 mile thru-hike on the northern part of California's coast. To accomplish this hike, you'll either need to bring 2 cars or use a shuttle service. It's recommended that you drop one car at the Shelter Cove Trailhead (40.0455053,-124.0778196) and either use one of the shuttle services to drive you up to Mattole or drive your second car up there. Keep in mind that it takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive between the two trailheads.

Along your trek, there are several places to camp for the night. This map lays out the designated areas. Be sure to pick up a more detailed one at the ranger station.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you keep an eye out for the areas that are impassible at high tide
  • Check tide charts and weather reports before heading out on the trail
  • If rain is forecasted, bring your rain gear and rain cover for your pack
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Family Friendly

The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach Reviews

I had a great time doing this with my 63 year-old dad. We slowed it down a little and made it a 4 day, 3 night trip. We also went on a holiday weekend, which if you can avoid it you should; it was pretty crowded! To try to avoid the crowd, we switched our route and went from Black Sands north to Mattole. This allowed us to pass most of the traffic on the second day and get the campgrounds to ourselves on nights 2 & 3. We were warned about head wind as we approached the lighthouse, but didn't experience any. All in all a great trip that I hope to do again soon!

Did it over 3 days/2 nights, but I'd recommend 4 days/3 nights for a more leisurely pace. Amazing experience nonetheless.

Make sure to carry a tidal chart - some stretches become impassable during high tide.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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