Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
The Pacific Coast as nature built it—that’s what you’ll find on the 24.6-mile Lost Coast Trail, which traces one of the few remaining stretches of pristine shoreline left in California. The edge of the Kings Range tumbles right down to the water in a melee of cliffs and steep hills, providing a rampart against far-off cities and sprawling suburbs. Most of the trail is right at the shoreline, with a few stretches of tumbled boulders that are impassable at high tide; carry your tide tables with you, and pay attention to the water. Every campsite on the route comes with nightly views of golden sunsets over the Pacific; catch one from this prime spot at the mouth of Cooksie Creek, 2.5 miles from the northern trailhead at Matthole Beach. Permit required