Backpacking California's Lost Coast

Backpacking California's Lost Coast

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  • Activity Level: 4
  • Days: 5
  • Group Size: 4-10
  • Member price: from $1,499
  • Non-member price: from $1,700

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Meet in Sacramento and hike among the Redwoods en route to camp.

Our trip begins today at the Sacramento REI store at 10am. Following an orientation and gear check, we load into our support van and drive to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home of some of the world’s most majestic and ancient redwoods. We enjoy a short hike among these impressive trees, and then transfer to our campsite. Our guides prepare dinner and talk about the adventure ahead. Dinner included.

Transfers: 6 hours

Day 2

Visit a lighthouse and enjoy spectacular views of the California Coast.

We load our backpacks with our personal gear and a portion of the group gear, then transfer a short distance to the trailhead. We begin our hike on sand, dotted with colorful ice plant and other coastal flora. The sand gives way to beach pebbles and bits of trail on solid ground as we near the Punta Gorda Lighthouse. Build in 1910 after a number of fatal shipwrecks off this rocky coast, this lighthouse is one of the few signs of civilization that we encounter on our adventure. Continuing our hike, we cross a rocky stretch to an overland detour around an impassible rock outcrop. Our short detour will afford us spectacular vistas up and down the rugged coastline, and we may see elephant seals. Tonight we camp at Cooksie Creek. All meals included.

Transfer: 30 minutes; Backpacking: 6.3 miles

Day 3

Backpack from Cooksie Creek to Big Creek.

Our backpacking trip continue south across cobbles and coarse black sand until we reach a grassy terrace. We pay close attention to the timing of the tides since high tide renders stretches of coastline along our route impassible. Our goal is to reach Big Creek campsite by midafternoon, leaving us free to explore, comb the beach or find a quiet spot to kick back with a book and enjoy the solitude. All meals included.

Backpacking: 7 miles

Day 4

Backpack through lush scenery to Gitchell Creek.

We hike through thickets of twisted pine trees and cross several creeks on our way to camp at Gitchell Creek. This stretch of coastline is particularly lush, with several springs pouring from the mountainside and onto the sand, sustaining hanging wildflower gardens bright with monkeyflower and other water-loving plants. This stretch of coast is particularly dramatic, with mountains and forest dropping precipitously down to the beach. All meals included.

Backpacking: 7.6 miles

Day 5

Complete our journey to Black Sands Beach and return to Sacramento.

We hike across wide sandy beaches to our van waiting at Black Sands Beach. We stop to purchase lunch en route (own expense). We expect to arrive in Sacramento by 6pm, though this may vary depending on trail and road conditions, group pace and weather. Breakfast included.

Transfers: 5 hours; Backpacking: 3.7 miles.

Adventure Expert


The Lost Coast trail has been on my list for years, when I did it I was stupefied by the beauty. We have taken care of the logistical challenges, if you can handle the terrain challenges then don't hesitate to sign up now.


Fantastic experience all around

A perfect getaway for those who enjoy the outdoors and coastal beauty of the west coast. It felt like discovering an area that has been lost in time. Thank you to the group and guides who made the experience possible ...

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