Coastal California Hiking
Lost Coast Trail
In late October I walked for four days from Mattole to Shelter Cove along the Lost Coast in Northern California (25 miles one way)
The shuttle dropped us off at Mattole beach during the first storm of the season. October is the beginning of wet season, one of the rainier places in California, 200+ inches in the winter months is common
I found a site that blocked the southernly wind, rain continued until the morning
Overlook of the first tidal zone
I spent most of the day near this cabin waiting for a receding tide, around the corner the waves were higher without much room to walk
I started about an hour after high tide thinking that if the rocks are dry and the tide is receding then I am okay. About two miles into the zone, there was a 1000 foot section that was too long for the "look for big waves and run" method. Walking through the ocean here was my only choice
One of the private cabins along the coast
The ocean campsites were one of the highlights of the trail. The weather was better on the second half of the hike with more summer-like conditions. With shorter days in October I walked until sunset through the Spanish Flats and camped near Kinsey Ridge
An airplane landed as I approached Big Flat, I walked down the runway to check things out.
The second tidal zone was tighter, the waves were still reaching the cliff walls three hours after high tide
Lots of wildlife on the Lost Coast, bear canisters are even required to backpack this section
Surfer making the long walk to Big Flat, supposedly one of California's best surfing areas
Black Sands Beach
Sunset along the Lost Coast
Final campsite closer to Shelter Cove
Redwood Coastal Trail
Northern California is home to the largest trees in the world in the Redwood National and State Parks. I backpacked for five days combining coastal and forest trails from Orick to Crescent City (90 miles)
It rained for several days in the middle of the walk including the scenic (and wet) ten mile beach walk near Gold Bluffs
Climbing up from the beach in the fog
My favorite section of the coastal trail was from Klamath to Crescent City. The old growth forest north of the DeMartin camp, a bear encounter on the Last Chance section and the general lack of hikers in the area helped it stand out
Nice weather on the final beach walk to Crescent City
The Timber Top campsite on the Boronda Trail is one of the better ones I have found, overlooks the coast and likely you will have it to yourself since there is no water and a 2500 ft climb.
The Boronda trailhead is not marked off CA-1, there is a green gate between the Coast Gallery & Cafe and the Torre Canyon Bridge. Look at the satellite image on google for what appears to be a zigzag road on the map southeast of the Coast Gallery & Cafe, can also check out the road view image for the gate. There is parking on both sides of the road.
There are three worthwhile short hikes to waterfalls on the Big Sur Coast: McWay Falls, Limekiln Falls and Salmon Creek Falls. Some of the other falls here, such as Pfeiffer, were less impressive and barely trickling in early May.
Resources: Big Sur Hiking Map