Redding: Lost Coast Trail to Cooskie Creek

Unspoiled black-sand beaches, rogue breakers, and craggy mountains form a remote backdrop to this 13.4-mile weekend adventure along the Lost Coast.
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Unspoiled black-sand beaches, rogue breakers, and craggy mountains form a remote backdrop to this 13.4-mile weekend adventure along the Lost Coast.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 10.8

Waypoints

LCT001

Location: 40.2889709472656, -124.356101989746

Head S onto black-sand beach littered with driftwood. Don't forget: Pack a tide table to time crossings

Ocean Panorama

Location: 40.2891235351562, -124.357246398926

Blue-sky views over the Pacific. ©Dave Miller

Hardpack Trail

Location: 40.2871437072754, -124.35733795166

Trail leads to the bluffs above the ocean. ©Dave Miller

LCT002

Location: 40.2872009277344, -124.358596801758

Leave beach for trail along fence

Hills Meet Ocean

Location: 40.2744255065918, -124.362609863281

Wildflowers lace the verdant hills throughout the Lost Coast. ©Dave Miller

LCT003

Location: 40.2696990966797, -124.362602233887

More soft-sand hiking on beach

LCT004

Location: 40.2622184753418, -124.363098144531

Trail pinched by surf and cliffs @ high tide; path picks up in 300 yds. Conical Rock hovers in the breakers

Driftwood Shelter #1

Location: 40.2602920532227, -124.361763000488

For years, surfers and hikers have built driftwood shelters along the coast. First come basis. ©Dave Miller

LCT005

Location: 40.255859375, -124.357498168945

Carefully ford gravel bars of Fourmile Creek upstream from where it pours into the ocean

LCT006

Location: 40.2541084289551, -124.355003356934

Continue R @ Cooskie Creek marker; Spanish Ridge rises to N

LCT007

Location: 40.2498893737793, -124.350799560547

Punta Gorda Lighthouse: The razor-sharp reefs ripped the hulls of many ships until this short white tower was built in 1911

Lighthouse

Location: 40.2492713928223, -124.350082397461

The Punta Gorda Lighthouse is no longer in use. ©Dave Miller

LCT008

Location: 40.2439193725586, -124.341697692871

Leave beach for more navigable terrain along bluffs and undulating ridgelines dotted with wildflowers

Rocky Beach

Location: 40.243335723877, -124.339813232422

Cliffs crumble into the sea. ©Dave Miller

LCT009

Location: 40.2408294677734, -124.333801269531

Sea lions sunbathe on surf-worn rocks

Sea Lions

Location: 40.2415428161621, -124.332794189453

Locals catch major rays just offshore. ©Dave Miller

LCT010

Location: 40.2397384643555, -124.331497192383

At mouth of Sea Lion Gulch, hardpack trail dumps onto rocky beach

Profile Rock

Location: 40.2397537231445, -124.330390930176

A hulking anthropomorphic figure among the breakers. ©Dave Miller

LCT011

Location: 40.235050201416, -124.325500488281

Driftwood shelter: Intricate log pile is a windless, safe, high-tide campsite. Continue S

Driftwood Shelter #2

Location: 40.2358932495117, -124.324645996094

Flotsam and driftwood make for a wind-free shelter. ©Dave Miller

LCT012

Location: 40.2339096069336, -124.325202941895

Tricky spot: Pass rocky beach @ low tide. In a few strides, follow cairns on S side of unnamed creek up bluff, then take user trail to Cooskie Creek Spur marker. Turn R and return to beach

LCT013

Location: 40.2196006774902, -124.310600280762

Cooskie Creek: Crimson sunsets burn extra splen­dor into already fantastic oceanside campsites (permit and bear canister required). Retrace route. See: http://backpacker.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?TripID=27498
for details on a 4-day Lost Coast trip

Squeeze Factor

Location: 40.219970703125, -124.309761047363

There's room for two tents in this ocean-side lean-to. ©Dave Miller

Cooskie Creek

Location: 40.2196884155273, -124.310234069824

A driftwood camp near the mouth of the Cooskie Creek. ©Dave Miller

Camp Sunset

Location: 40.2198753356934, -124.309661865234

The sun drops below thick clouds. ©Dave Miller