Top Ten Northern California Adventures
You won't find too many other places on earth where sea and mountain meet as dramatically as they do on the Lost Coast: In places, a narrow strip of sand is all that separates the undulant ocean from the steep and densely forested incline of the coastal range. Kings Peak, the highest mountain in the area (4,086 feet), lies a mere three miles from the beach, so you can hike both sequestered shorelines and dramatic mountain vistas in the same day. And unlike the rest of the California coast, you won't have to cross any roads in between: Geologists considered the terrain too erratic and unstable for highway construction, so this remains one of the few places on the Pacific Coast unmolested by an entourage of RVs.
A 25-mile section of beach is protected by the Kings Range Conservation Area, affording hikers and campers unparalleled opportunities for isolated coastal adventure. But don't let the splendor of the ocean deter you from checking out the inland trails: Ancient redwood forests, lush fern undergrowth, and flower-spackled meadows are only a short walk away.
Difficulty rating: Moderate to hardcore
When to go: April—October
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication