Gravel Ride the Lost Coast, NorCal.




Gravel Ride the Lost Coast, NorCal.

The Lost Coast:

This rugged and remote stretch of coastline is located in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. A popular multi-day mountain bike trail is the Lost Coast Trail. While not solely designated for mountain biking, it offers a challenging and rewarding experience for riders seeking adventure along California's rugged coastline.

The Trail is located in the King Range National Conservation Area in northern California, near the town of Shelter Cove. It’s renowned for its remote and pristine wilderness, stunning coastal scenery, and challenging terrain. The trail traverses approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) along the rugged and remote coastline of the King Range, with options for shorter or longer routes depending on your skill level and preferences.

The trail features a mix of singletrack, gravel roads, sandy beaches, and rocky sections. Expect steep climbs, technical descents, creek crossings, and breathtaking ocean views along the way.

Best ridden during the dry season, typically late spring to early fall, to avoid winter storms and inclement weather, you should know too that summer is quite foggy, detracting from the ocean view.

Mountain biking is permitted on certain sections of the Lost Coast Trail, butbe awareof any restrictions or seasonal closures.Sections of the Lost Coast, particularly within the King Range National Conservation Area, require permits for overnight camping.There are several designated campsites along the trail where you can set up tents and spend the night but permits are required, and reservations are recommended, especially during peak season.

Accessing the Lost Coast can be an adventure in itself due to its remote and rugged nature. Here are some general guidelines:

Choose Your Entry Point: the Lost Coast spans a significant stretch of coastline, so it's essential to decide which section you want to visit. The northern section, including the King Range National Conservation Area, is more remote and rugged, while the southern section near Shelter Cove may offer slightly easier access.

Plan Your Route: depending on where you choose to access the Lost Coast, you may need to plan a hiking or backpacking trip. There are several trails and routes that lead to the coastline, including the Lost Coast Trail, which traverses the entire length of the wilderness area.

Prepare for Remote Travel: the Lost Coast is remote and rugged, with limited services and amenities. Make sure to bring plenty of food, water, camping gear, navigational tools and other essentials. Cell phone reception may be unreliable or nonexistent in some areas, so consider bringing alternative means of communication and navigation, such as a satellite phone or GPS device.

Check Trail Conditions: before setting out, check trail conditions and weather forecasts. This Trail can be challenging, with sections of soft sand, steep terrain, and potentially hazardous creek crossings. Be prepared for variable weather conditions, including fog, wind, and rain.

Transportation: depending on your entry and exit points, you may need to arrange transportation to and from the trailheads. Some areas may require a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access, particularly if you're traveling on unpaved roads.

Leave No Trace: practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment and preserve the wilderness for future generations. Pack out all trash, minimize campfire impacts, and stay on designated trails to protect fragile ecosystems.

By following these guidelines and planning accordingly, you can access the Lost Coast and experience the remote beauty of one of California's most rugged and pristine wilderness areas.


*The name "Lost Coast" originated from the perception that this stretch of coastline was "lost" or inaccessible, especially during the era of early European exploration and settlement in California. Its isolation and untamed wilderness have since become part of its allure. This part of the northern California coast is frequently shrouded in dense fog, particularly during the summer months when the marine layer moves inland from the Pacific Ocean. The combination of fog, rocky coastline, and strong ocean currents has historically made navigation along the Lost Coast challenging and hazardous for mariners, and shipwrecks were common. The area remains largely uninhabited and undeveloped, preserving its natural landscapes and ecosystem

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