The Lost Coast is known for its stunning shore and ocean scenery — as its name may suggest. And it’s for good reason that its renowned pristine stretch of northern California coastline has become a magnet for those who love the outdoors. The wildlife, the beaches, and the gushing streams are a truly remarkable sample of Californian nature.
The Lost Coast’s beauty is not limited to the coast. If you stray from the well-trodden path along the ocean’s edge, deep gorges, thick forests and towering peaks await in the interior of the King Range National Conservation Area.
The highest of the peaks is King Peak, looming 4,091 feet above the Pacific Ocean below.
During my four-day backpacking trip southbound on the Lost Coast, I had been keeping an eye on King Peak, wondering if we could sneak in a ‘quick’ out-and-back trip to get the complete Lost Coast experience.
There are several trails along the coast that allow access to the King Crest, which traverses the various peaks of the King Range. We opted for the most direct, given that we had to do it as a day hike. This also meant we were taking the steepest route, heading up the Rattlesnake Ridge trail from Big Flat.
While extremely difficult, the trail is a treat. Throughout the 16-mile roundtrip hike you get to explore the forest-cloaked canyons of Big Flat Creek. As you gain elevation the vegetation transitions to drier, sun torched hills, and finally, upon arriving at King Peak, you are rewarded with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, King Crest, and mountainous redwood forests of Humboldt County’s interior.
Enjoy a photo essay of our side trip to the top of the Lost Coast.
I mainly shot video on this hike, which is why there are some big gaps in the timeline as far as photos go, but you can get a taste of the hike in our vlog. The King Peak section starts at 4:16.