Hike King's Peak

Rate this Adventure San Francisco Lightning Trailhead

Added by Josiah Roe

Solitude and epic views overlooking the King Range and the Lost Coast.

King's Peak is the tallest peak in the King Range, the home of the famous and spectacular "Lost Coast". At an elevation of 4,000' and less than 3 miles from the ocean, King's Peak provides stunning views in all directions: of canyons, beaches, foggy valleys, and the many greenhouses that dot the Humboldt County backcountry.

King's Peak is perhaps the only coastal peak that can be compared to Big Sur's Cone Peak, having almost the same awe-inspiring vistas but with none of the traffic or the abandoned fire lookout. Even on a summer weekend you have a reasonable chance of having the trail and summit to yourself.

Take a beer or two preferably from a northern Californian brewery.

There are several routes to the summit of King's Peak, the shortest being the 2.5 mile long Lightning Trail from the Lightning Trailhead, which can be reached by heading towards Shelter Cove from Gaberville and the 101, and then taking a right on the dirt/gravel King's Peak Road and the left on King Range Road which dead-ends at the trailhead. The trail ascends the King Range Crest from the east side passing Maple Camp on it's way to the summit. This route has about 2000' of elevation gain.

Most though will attempt the climb from the Lost Coast Trail via either the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail from Big Flat or the Buck Creek Trail. These are much longer routes of 8+ miles with 4,000' of elevation gain,with all the high-tide concerns that come with hiking the Lost Coast trail.

NOTE: The King Range is remote, with no services other than those found in Shelter Cove, an hour+ drive away and yes, Humboldt County is very green, and the locals do not take kindly to strangers wandering down their driveways, gated-dirt-roads, or into their agricultural areas.


Pack List

  • Water
  • Beer
  • Sunscreen
  • Food
  • Good walking shoes
  • Waterproof jacket if the weather requires
If camping:
  • Campfire and stove permits Permit Info
  • This map, to make note of the campsites: blm.gov/KingRangeGreyMap
  • Bear canister
  • Tent with rainfly
  • The usual backcountry camping miscellany
Read 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. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Survival

Skill Level:




Trail Type:



2.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2500 Feet


Adult Beverages

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Added by Josiah Roe

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. - John Muir

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