The Lost Cost Adventure - SOLD OUT

Explore California’s most inaccessible and undeveloped coastline with Coastwalk’s experienced guides.

The Lost Coast Adventure 2019

The Lost Coast Adventure

May 20-24 

5 days/4 nights 

Rating: Moderately strenuous.

Backpacking experience required. 

Max Capacity: 13 

$525 Non-Member Price

$500.00 Coastwalk Member Price


Explore California’s most inaccessible and undeveloped coastline with Coastwalk’s experienced guides.  See black sand and boulder beaches, high terraces of grasslands and wildflowers, and the rugged mountains of the King Range with its crystal-clear creeks during grey whale migration and coastal wildflower season.  We transport you to the trailhead, provide one delicious dinner and lunch, local naturalist talks, morning coffee and tea, tide-pooling opportunities, and guide you along the Northern Lost Coast.  

We have revised this trip for a more moderate-hiker friendly experience.  Come see this magnificent coastline!  

What you will see:  

Remote beaches, grand vistas, wildlife encounters, serenity, the spirit of adventure and a sense of accomplishment; Coastwalk has been running this trip for over 25 years!

Fitness Requirements: 

You must be an experienced and well-conditioned backpacker. Hike leaders will contact you to help you decide if you are ready for this adventure and are capable of completing it without undue difficulty. Please click here to see, complete, and submit the fitness questionnaire. You must be approved by a hike leader prior to registration and payment. 

Trip Includes: 

Expert itinerary developed around tide conditions; guided hiking; camping, parking & permit fees; first night’s dinner and last day’s lunch provided as well as daily morning coffee, tea, hot chocolate; transportation from parking area to starting point and back to your car. 

What to Bring: 

After registration, you will be provided with a detailed letter regarding meeting location, hiking itinerary, more detailed list of what to pack, food suggestions, where to get things, etc.  

Food & Water: 

Coastwalk will provide the first night’s dinner at Mattole Campground and the last day’s lunch and hot water & coffee each morning.  Hikers are responsible for all other meals. ** Hikers should bring a personal water filtration system for refilling their water bottles.  

**Prepared vegetarian and non-vegetarian prepared food packages will be available for purchase from Coastwalk. 

Typical Daily Hiking: 

Usually about 5 hours of hiking each day, averaging 6 to 7 miles per day (shortest 4, longest 8). Though moderate distances, trails are difficult, and you are carrying a full pack every day over sometimes challenging terrain. 24 miles total over 4 days of hiking with a full pack. 

Types of Hiking Surfaces: 

Sandy and rocky beaches, grassy flats, rock hopping, ridge trails, crumbling ravines, and even potentially scrambling over downed trees and wading creek crossings 

Elevation Gains & Losses: 

Modest daily gains and losses (300 ft. some days), depending on necessity to take inland trails when coastal route less navigable. 

Subject to change (some hikes and campsites use special permits. This itinerary is not a recommendation for personal use) 

Day 1 May 20: 
Meet in Shelter Cove at Black Sands Beach Parking lot at 12:30 where you will leave your vehicles. CW shuttle to Mattole River Campground for dinner & camp 

Day 2 May 21: 
Hike to Cooskie Creek, 6 miles, moderate sand hiking and rock-hopping, with one steep but short climb 

Day 3 May 22: 
Hike to Hadley Creek, 6.5 miles, grassy flat and moderate sand hiking 

Day 4 May 23: 
Hike to Gitchell Creek, 7.5 miles, grassy flats and moderate sand hiking with some rugged cobbled beaches 

Day 5 May 24:  
Hike to Black Sands Beach Trailhead in Shelter Cove, about 4.5 miles on soft sand. Catered lunch provided, and then return to your vehicles for farewell. 

What to Bring

Just bring the essentials, what you need will make you more comfortable than bringing all that you want.  A lighter backpack makes for a happier hiker! You will be provided with a more detailed list of items once you have registered.  

  • Backpack large enough to carry necessary gear plus one group item 
  • Sleeping bag- 3 season bag (to 40 degrees) and sleeping pad 
  • Tent with ground cloth and rain fly 
  • stove and fuel 
  • bear-proof canister (REQUIRED)
  • eating/cooking utensils- fork, spoon, plate or bowl, thermal cup 
  • sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, chapstick, flashlight, extra batteries, pocket knife 
  • biodegradable soap, toothbrush, paste, small roll of toilet paper, small plastic shovel 
  • insect repellent, and any first aid or medical supplies you personally need 
  • Comfortable hiking boots or hiking shoes (broken in), camp sandals for night and stream crossings 
  • Clothing- thin layers, long pants, extra socks, windbreaker 
  • water bottle(s), water filter or purification tablets, camera,  
  • Notebook and pencil, binoculars, reading material 
  • Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries 
  • 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, & 3 dinners plus snacks 

Cea Higgins

The Executive Director of Coastwalk, Cea has focused her career on education and coastal advocacy. She taught at the elementary, middle, high-school, & junior college levels. She was the Policy & Volunteer Coordinator for Sonoma Coast Surfrider Foundation for 2 decades. To improve her ability to advocate for coastal preservation, she earned a Juris Doctorate with honors in 2016 focusing on ocean policy. Cea was selected by NOAA to serve on the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council as the Sonoma/Mendocino Coast Community-at-Large Primary representative.  She is a founding member of the Bodega Bay Collaborative, which sponsors town halls, community forums, and provides a voice to unincorporated coastal areas. Cea also helped establish the Sonoma County Marine Protected Areas Collaborative, where she works with scientific institutions, environmental NGOs, and tribal governments to raise awareness of the value of marine protected areas amongst coastal residents and visitors.  An avid surfer, hiker, and trained in marine mammal and sea bird rescue, Cea believes in giving back to the ocean that she cherishes and sharing its wonders so that others will work to advocate for its stewardship. 

Connie Ayers

Connie is retired from a career in Family Medicine and has been catching up on following her passion for hiking, backpacking, and pursuit of nature in all its manifestations.  She has hiked, and backpacked the John Muir Trail, the Grand Canyon and Havasupai, sections of the Colorado Trail, many sections of the High Sierra trails, Trinity Alps, Desolation Wilderness, as well as her homelands of Point Reyes and Tamalpais State Park.   She led a private group of backpackers on the Lost Coast a few years ago and was inspired by the experience.  She is working to bring her expertise to Coastwalk at the recent retirement of the long-active and hard-to-replace Lost Coast leader, Stan Bluhm. 

She is a certified Naturalist and for 10 years has been active with the Laguna Foundation bringing the love and joy of the natural world into the elementary schools in Sonoma County.  She also is active in the public safety sector, volunteering and training with the Sonoma County Search and Rescue team

Kings Range Conservation Area Info: 

Interactive Map of King’s Range: 

Birds of the Kings Range: 

Lost Coast Blogs:  

notes from a BLM backcountry ranger in the Kings Range 

Leave No Trace Camping Suggestions: 

Aerial Photos of the California Coast 

Conditioning for Backpacking: 

Backpackers Info:(includes information about how to avoid knee injury before and during a hike, pre-hike workout routine, and how to use Trekking poles