California has it all: scorching desert, towering mountains, and rugged shoreline. But as urban sprawl continues to inch further every year, the USA’s most populous state is increasingly lacking truly pristine nature unmodified by humans — especially on the coast.
Nearly every mile of coast has been dotted with houses, altered to build roads, or dammed to stop the flow of sediment to the sea.
It’s hard to imagine what immaculate coastal nature is even supposed to look like in California, except for the Lost Coast.
The Lost Coast is a mountainous, forest-smothered stretch of shore in California’s Humboldt County that proved too rugged and remote for the ever-expanding reach of humanity. The Lost Coast is an outpost — the last enclave of a true Californian coastline.
On the Lost Coast, creeks and streams flow freely, uninterrupted by dams. The cliffs erode unconstrained into the ocean, without the protection of artificial cement and boulders that are oh-so-common in the state. Lastly, the wildlife thrives from the ocean up to the towering peaks.
It’s probably as close as you’ll get to a glimpse into the original state of the California coast before the destructive arrival of humans.
With 68,000 acres of the coast now under protection in the King Range National Conservation Area, the Lost Coast is an amazing chance to backpack in solitude alongside the ocean. That is exactly what I did, spending four days and three nights exploring the pure beach-front terrain, penetrating deep into the thick forests, and realizing the beauty that has been lost on so much of our state’s coast.
Welcome to the Lost Coast.