There are several ways to reach King's Peak, the shortest of which being a 2 mile class 1 Lightning Trail from the Lightning Trailhead at just over 2000 ft. This trail ascends the King Range Crest from the east side passing Maple Camp on it's way to the summit.
Most people, however, do not come to the Lost Coast to climb King's Peak, or hike along the King Crest Trail - they come to hike the Lost Coast Trail which follows the shore along both the King Range National Conservation Area (NCA) to the north and the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park to the south. The Lost Coast Trail along the King Range is much more spectacular as it is along the beach while the portion of the trail in the Sinkyone Wilderness is actually several hundred feet above the ocean. Hiking up to the King's Peak summit from the ocean will give you just over 4000 feet of relief ;-) If you choose to hike along the Lost Coast Trail, it is important to consider the tides as certain portions of the trail will become impassable during high tide. See the Lost Coast Trail Section below regarding hiking up King's Peak from the Lost Coast Trail.
POPULAR MAP: "Trails of the Lost Coast," Wilderness Press, ISBN: 0-89997-203-9 (available at most REI in California)
Mouth of the Mattole Trailhead: This is the northern trailhead for the Lost Coast Trail. Take US-101 to the Ferndale exit and follow signs for Petrolia. One mail after Petrolia, turn right on Lighthouse Road. In five miles you will reach the Mattole Recreation Site. The total distance from US-101 is about 42 miles.
Black Sands Beach Trailhead: This is the southern trailhead for the King Range portion of the Lost Coast Trail. You can reach this trailhead by driving the Shelter Cove and turning north on Beach Road. See the Lightning Trailhead information on reach Shelter Cove (about 22 miles from US-101).
For all trailheads see the King Range NCA directions webpage which includes a map, distances, and estimated driving time.
Check with the King Range HQ (see Mountain Conditions Section) on when hunting season is open as you will either be able to hunt for your dinner, or need to be more careful while you are hiking.
Campfire and stove permit: See the King Range NCA Campfire Page regarding the mandatory permits needed for backcountry campfires and stove use.
Along the beach there are several undeveloped campgrounds, the closest ones to King's Peak being the mouthes of Big Flat Creek, Shipman Creek and Buck Creek.
See the King Range NCA Campgrounds Page for other campgrounds though I think the ones listed above are the most useful wrt King's Peak.
Bear alert: Bear canisters are now required for overnight trips. If you are caught without one, there's a $150 fine per person for non-compliance (Ref: Dragger). See the King Range NCA Hiking and Backpacking page for more info.
|Weather Underground's Arcata, CA page provides a comprehensive weather report for the area including coastal weather reporting, alerts, a five-day forecast, hourly wind, temperature, humidity, UV forecasts, local and regional radar, satellite imagery, and marine forecasts. The "Conditions Nearby" section just below "Current Conditions" provides specific information from the Shelder Cove district. Any recent, local earthquake activity will also be shown on the page. Earthquakes are common on the North Coast, as for the rest of California. For recent earthquake activity see the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program website.|
For tide activity, consult either of the following links for high and low tide information, times and regions:
|BLM Contact Information||GOES Western US SECTOR Infrared Image|
|BLM Arcata Field Office|
1695 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521-4573
Phone: (707) 825-2300
BLM King Range NCA Project Office
* Linked from the NOAA GOES website - http://www,goes.noaa.gov/WCIR4.html
King's Peak via the Lost Coast Trail: Hiking south from the the northern terminus at the Mouth of the Mattole River you will reach Big Flat in 15.9 miles at which time you can ascend the King Crest via the Rattlesnake Ridge trail to King's Peak (10.5 miles). Continuing south on the Lost Coast Trail you will reach mouth of Buck Creek in another 3.3 miles at which time it's possible to ascend the King Crest again, this time via the Buck Creek Trail, and reach the King's Peak summit in 9.5 miles. From Buck Creek it's another 5.2 miles to Black Sands Beach at the town of Shelter Cove.
Sea and Summit Loop: This approximately 24-mile loop hike beginning and ending at the Lightning Trailhead is possibly the shortest hike which involves both reaching the summit of King's Peak and hiking along the beach on the Lost Coast Trail. Going counter clock-wise, start at the Lightning Trailhead and head 2 miles southeast to King's Peak. After you have reached the summit backtrack about 0.25 miles to the King Crest Trail and take this northwest to reach the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail at which point it's 4.6 miles down to Big Flat at the Pacific Ocean. Hike south along the Lost Coast Trail for 3.3 miles to Buck Creek and then ascend the Buck Creek Trail and follow the King Crest Trail northwest reaching the Lightning Trailhead in about 8 miles. The following is a list of trails used for this hike:
Lightning Trailhead / Lightning Trail (SW) > King's Peak >
King Crest Trail (NW) > Rattlesnake Ridge Trail (SW) >
Big Flat > Lost Coast Trail (SE) > Buck Creek Trail (NE) >
King Crest Trail (NW) > Lightning Trail (NE) / Lightning Trailhead
|King Peak||USGS list of peaks, BLM website, Wilderness Press map|
|Kings Peak||BLM website, Wilderness Press map, Hiking Northern California by Ron Adkison|
|King's Peak||Garberville Chamber of Commerce, Wilderness Press map|
To get the "real" name, or at least what was originally intended, some historical research may be needed such as referencing California Place Names by Gudde & Bright. If anyone has information regarding the etymology of this peak, please respond here.