AAA Editor Notes
King Range National Conservation Area is accessible from US 101 exit 642 (Redway/Garberville), then w. about 22 mi. to Shelter Cove, following signs to Shelter Cove/King Range NCA. Extending along a 35-mile stretch of rugged, isolated northern California coastline from the mouth of the Mattole River in the north to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in the south, this wilderness region is known as The Lost Coast due to its remoteness. The geography is so challenging, in fact, that in deference to it SR 1—after more or less hugging the state's coastline for more than 500 miles—veers inland well south of Shelter Cove.
The ridge of the King Range parallels the coast, rising steeply to heights of up to 4,000 feet just 3 miles inland. The mountains are cloaked with a mixed forest of Douglas fir, redwoods and tanoak. The range is home to black bears, deer, elk and mountain lions and is visited by more than 300 species of migratory birds. Seals, sea lions and sea birds inhabit the rocky shore, and gray whales pass offshore during their spring northward migration.
More than 80 miles of backcountry trails thread this remote area. The Lost Coast Trail follows the shoreline at the base of the mountains through a coastal wilderness unique in the lower 48 states. This trail is impassable at high tide. Other trails connect to the interior. Most of the upland trails are strenuous due to the rugged terrain; potential hazards include ticks, poison oak and rattlesnakes. Recreational opportunities are diverse, ranging from camping and fishing to mushroom collecting and abalone diving.
Note: All roads leading to King Range are narrow, steep and winding; allow plenty of time between destinations, make sure your tank is full and be alert for oncoming traffic. Main roads are normally accessible to passenger cars except during major winter storms; phone the Bureau of Land Management for current road conditions. Carry plenty of water on hiking trails. Gas, food and lodging are available in Shelter Cove.
Pets on leash are allowed. Recreational activities are permitted. Camping is permitted.