Lost Coast Trail, California

UPDATE – King Range National Conservation Area:

As of January 9th, 2017, all permits for backcountry camping within the wilderness area of King Range will be exclusively available through www.recreation.gov.

Reservations are now $10 per permit. There is now a quota system attached to use of the area, which allows for 60 entries per day during the peak hiking season (May 15-Sept. 15) and 30 entries per day during the non-peak season (Sept 16-May 14).  Day hikes, as well as camping at the designated campgrounds outside of wilderness do not require a permit.


Kraig Becker linked to this fantastic trip report by filmmaker Ryan Commons. It combines text, photos, video and music in a way to inspire.

Click PLAY or watch the long edit on Vimeo.

I’m impressed they did it in December. The weather is risky. In fact, they had to make a grueling evacuation over the mountains, then run 18mi to reach their parked vehicle the same day.


Before you try the Lost Coast in winter, check current trail conditions on the official BLM website.

… The Lost Coast Trail is a spectacular hike along northern California’s Pacific Coast. The trail is roughly 25 miles in length, running from Shelter Cove to Mattole Beach, and is only accessible by a few narrow, twisty roads. It is a rugged, lightly traveled route that alternates from Pacific beaches to mountain passes, with more than 8000 feet of elevation gain over the course of its length …

read more – Gadling

2 days on Turkey’s Carian Trail

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles | day 1 | day 2

day 2 – 6:45 am I hoisted the pack.

Unsure of exactly how I was going to get back for my 4pm ferry departure , best get an early start.

In my dreams I’d hoped to get all the way to Palamutbuku … but there is one earlier exit if I am running out of time.

The first section is scrambling over headlands. A series of deserted coves.

Rocky beaches. Much of the stone is conglomerate.

My sunrise.

I was  lost briefly several times. The official guidebook and map are not sufficient to keep you on the trail. GPS is pretty much essential on the Carian Trails. And I didn’t bring my GPS to Turkey. Doh!

So few hikers pass this point I left the next one a Summit Stone. There’s no way to miss it.

If you like this kind of solitude and scenery, plan a hiking trip to Turkey.

The beaches are not littered. But they are full of plastic and junk washed ashore.

Here’s the toughest headland. My guidebook authors nicknamed this scramble Death Valley.

Whew. Civilization.

I was slow getting here. But the only other walkers I saw on the trail were even slower.

This village was the end for me. I’d need to find the mini-bus back to town to be sure not to miss my ferry.

During lunch at a pleasant restaurant I learned that the mini-bus does not run on Sundays. I’d need to hitchhike. A crazy dentist in a beat-up van picked me up.

I was tired on the ferry home. The two days had taken more out of me than they should.

Bodrum castle is most impressive from the sea.

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles | day 1 | day 2

Only 2 days on the Carian Trails. But it was enough.

I decided to return April / May 2019 for 2-3 weeks most likely on the even more remote Bozburun Peninsula section. (141km)

I’ll have two GPS devices and several downloaded routes. I’ll carry the right gear. And I’ll bring some of my food from home. Turns out they don’t sell dehydrated mashed potatoes in Turkey.

related – our Carian Trails information page

2 days on Turkey’s Carian Trail

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles | day 1 | day 2

day 1 – 8am Starbucks, Bodrum.

9:30am – ferry to Datça.

You pass the Greek island of Kos en route.

11am – arrive at the new ferry terminal.

Free shuttle bus to town.

I wandered Datça town for an hour enjoying the peace and quiet after busy Bodrum.

Eventually I found the official trailhead in Eski Datça. This is the start of the 240km Datça Peninsula section.

People visit to see traditional old stone houses on cobbled streets.

Follow the red & white paint.

There are some signs on the Carian Trails, but not many.

I wore long pants due to thorny, stinging vegetation on the overgrown trails. In fact I should have had even thicker pants.

Traditionally this region is famous for fish, almonds and honey.

Most of the day was on logging roads. Good footing.

Alarmingly, the only water source was swarming with wasps. I couldn’t get close.

First glimpse of the ocean.

I was very happy to see my destination — Pig’s Hollow Camp (Dumuzcukuru). Wild boars visit occasionally.

It’s something of a commune. When I was there 3 Turks were in residence. One had been coming for 6 years.

They take care of the garden. Keep the place clean. Maintain the solar power rig and water purification system.

Anyone can stay and probably eat dinner with the guys. By donation.

My pasta dinner, home grown salad and wine were excellent. I was HAPPY to donate.

The guys told me very few Carian Trail hikers pass by. It truly has not caught on yet in Turkey though the nearby Lycian Way is booming. The Carian Trail was only launched in 2013.

I saw one big black snake. They guys said they see about one snake a day at the Camp.

My last night in the tent in Turkey. A nice spot. I had the beach to myself.

I read my kindle as dusk fell.

Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles | day 1 | day 2

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 6

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 6 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I slept well on my own private beach. Woke about 6am wanting an early start.

I’d read that I could have the the ancient Greek and Roman city of Phaselis to myself if I got there before opening. And I did.

Phaselis was set up by the Rhodians in 700 BC. …

The city was captured by Persians after they conquered Asia Minor, and was later captured by Alexander the Great. …

In fact they handed Alexander a golden crown with the keys to the city.

Many others conquered Phaselis. Hadrian was one other prominent lord visitor.

Citizens did not care much who was overlord. They kept making money from their ideal trading route location.

The tourist site was just opening when I reached the front gates. Ticket agents kindly pointed me on to the Lycian Way. They are used to hikers arriving from the wrong direction at odd times.

Today I would have to leave the coast and climb inland. Big elevation gains.

Not so keen on the idea, I toyed with the idea of taking the cable car on high. And hiking back down to the Lycian.

But it turned out to be a 9km side trip on pavement to get to the cable car. I decided against that plan.

Many decide to quit the Lycian right about here. When the trail reaches the main highway.

I continued on a parallel trail, passing one tent of hikers. And one nude sunbather.

This is the tourist trap Kemer.

I knew I could catch a bus to Antalya from there.

I was still debating what to do as I circumnavigated this bay.

Finally, I did quit. (I could have rejoined the Lycian by hiking under the main highway here. But wimped out.)

Walking into town it wasn’t long before I found the express bus. About 50km later I was back to my base camp – Antalya.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We’ve added a Lycian Way information page for those who might want to do this excellent hike themselves. Go for it. 

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 5

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 5 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We enjoyed a leisurely morning on the beach.

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

Super popular on this trail are sit pads that strap on to your body.

Super popular too is swimming every chance you get on the Lycian. What’s the matter with these people? Don’t they know there are GREAT WHITES and MAN-OF-WARS in the Ocean?

We’d been hanging out with a hermit from Istanbul who spends many weeks each year meditating on this beach. Departing we stumbled on his beach home.

He sleeps up high in a tree hammock. Possibly to get away from mosquitoes that sometimes plague this area.

I was following a guided group from Ukraine. Here they are speculating on what this machinery was used for.

They wish they had brought less gear with them on the hike.

We enjoyed a Ukrainian / Turkish lunch. I contributed the peanut butter.

This would be their last night camping. They wanted a truly memorable beach.

Each one we passed they gave consideration. This was the winner.

I carried on towards Tekirova.

Passing even more lovely bays.

It turned out the beach in Tekirova is dominated by big all-inclusive hotels.

I had to find my way behind those hotels. Back street signage here often includes Russian.

Eventually I wandered though town and reached the water park. I knew I could intersect with the trail here.

I was quickly back out into farmland.

Sundance is something of a Hippy colony.

I considered booking into one of their cottages.

But during my arrival everyone was dancing together. Seems 7-8pm is mandatory dance. My feet were too sore for that.

I continued on to a quiet beach I’d read about in a trip report. Setting up at dusk.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 4

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 4 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I was enjoying my pension in Çıralı. No rush getting back on the trail this morning.

This is the very end of the slighlty rainy season. It was again hazy, but I got no more than a few drops over the entire week.

A morning stroll up the beach towards the Hippy colony found dozens doing some sort of chanting dance.

Good exercise, I guess.

I finally left at check-out time walking the 4km across town for the 3rd time.
There are people cycle touring here, but not as many as I’d expect. A mountain bike would be ideal.
It was Noon when I started the next section of trail.
As usual, up and up.
As usual, a series of beautiful beaches.
This one was astoundingly clean. Some camping group had decided to pick up the trash.
This is my kind of hike.
This was the first water source I came across. An old well.
At the bottom was a giant bullfrog.
I’d not seen any hikers for some time when the recently rerouted trail took a turn inland.

I was soon lost.

My only option seemed to be a scramble up this waterfall.
It was a route, but the paint colour was wrong.
I finally decided to backtrack from this point.

In no rush now, I did a little side trip site seeing.
And set up my tent when I found a beach with a water supply. And a resident hermit from Istanbul who spends many weeks a year here.

I wandered the beach. Scrambled rocky headlands. Read two different books. Poked washed up jellyfish.

My only option was to backtrack to town next morning and take an alternative Lycian Way trail.

Navigation is the biggest problem on this trail. The guidebook is simply not sufficient. There is an iPhone app that is better but still not perfect. BEST would be GPS tracks from previous hikers.

Happily a Ukrainian group arrived to camp. The guide would be pleased for me to follow them onward next day. 🙂 He’d done this section many times.

I cooked up dinner at dusk.

Sat around the beach fire with my new friends. And had a great night’s sleep.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Turkey’s Lycian Way – day 3

2017 trip report by site editor Rick McCharles – day 3 / 6

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Keen to be on my way, I was up and on the road by 7:30am. Almost nobody awake.

Finding the trailhead out of departing towns is the biggest challenge on the Likya. My guidebook said to head in the direction of a concrete bridge.

I spent about an hour wandering these greenhouses. No concrete bridge.

So … I walked back to my pension to enjoy the free breakfast I’d missed. Breakfast starts about 8:30am in Turkey.

I got conflicting advice on how to find the Lycian Way. If I spoke a bit of Turkish it would have been easier.

I’d seen this road sign earlier. No concrete bridge. But I was heading for Olympos.

I waded across this creek. And found an alternate (better) route out of town.

My trail eventually intersected with the Lycian Way proper.

It was clear sailing now.

Navigation was easy, I mean. But this trail seems little used. There is a lot of deadfall over the track.

Happily there are few thorny or stinging plants. Few. Not none.

It was a long way up to some meadows.

On this section I saw only one hiking couple from France. And an old gent selling fresh squeezed orange juice.

I did come across the second land tortoise of my life. About a foot long.

Happily much of the day’s hiking was in the trees. No sunburn. Love the Mediterranean climate.

Getting down was much easier than climbing up. Eventually I exited in the middle of … OLYMPOS. In the Necropolis Tombs some dating from the 1st century AD.

The Olympos  ruins themselves are quite impressive, not as much so as Ephesus but still worth seeing. The relative lack of tourist traffic compared to Ephesus means the site is largely overgrown, which gives the place a “mystical” feel, so you have to do some hiking to get to some of the remains. …

Strangely there seems to be no easy way to enter or leave OLYMPOS. This couple ended up turning back. Lost.

Here’s the official entrance. You need swim, wade or scramble to get here from the beach.

All in all Olympos was one of my favourite stops during the week.

There is a Hippy enclave uphill from these ruins. I gave them a miss and carried on into town.

I walked all 4km of the beach front of Çıralı checking with pensions and hotels recommended by Lonely Planet.

In the end I backtracked all 4km with full pack to one of the first pensions. (US$33 including breakfast and fast wifi.)

No time to rest. I borrowed a pension bike and cycled the same 4km and 3 more up to some eternal flames.

Çıralı is walking distance from the ancient ruins of Olympos and Chimaera permanent gas vents …

… Chimaera was the name of a place in ancient Lycia, notable for constantly burning fires. …

Pliny the Elder, who in his second book of Historia Naturalis identified the Chimaera with the permanent gas vents in Mount Chimera, in the country of the ancient Lycian city of Phaselis …

I felt I’d earned my big salad and chicken dinner this day.

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