Kings Range National Conservation area is a treasure that you may have never heard of. Located on the coast of Northern California, King’s range is a rugged and remote wilderness that boast 68,000 acres and 35 miles of coast lines. The land scape being too rugged for highway building forced the engineers assigned to design the famous coastal highway 1 to move the road further inland leaving this inaccessible costal wilderness know as the “lost coast”, which remains the longest undeveloped stretch of coast in California.
There are multiple camp grounds located within King’s Range. Dispersed and hike in camping is allowed through out the Forrest and coast line with permit. Origin recommends Mattole campground located on the North end of the conservation area right on the Pacific Ocean. The drive to Mattole campground coming from the town of Ferndale or the north end of the conservation area is quite challenging with steep hills and sharp switchbacks but the views are well worth the trouble. There is a new paradisaic scene around every turn; charming mountain sides filled with grazing cattle, vast forrest, picturesque river valleys, and dramatic boulders jutting out of the deep blue pacific.
Mattole camp ground provides 14 tent/trailer camp sites with vaulted toilets, and bear proof trash and recycling cans. From your campsite you have amazing views of the King’s range mountains during the day and the sound of crashing waves and a stunning starry sky at night.
Mattole camp ground is also the trail head for The lost coast trail which is 24.6 miles of mostly level costal wilderness hiking. You can day hike just a short distance and see a lot of interesting things, or if your the adventurous type, backpack the whole thing. A few of the unique things along this trail include tidepools, an abandoned light house, spectacular wildflowers, and a beach full of sea lions.
The closest place for supplies is a town called Petrolia and is about a 14 minute drive from Mattole camp ground. There is a well stocked general store where you can buy local meat, dairy, and produce as well as an array of shelf stable goods. A farmers market is held at the community center every Sunday from 11a.m.-1 p.m. with unbelievable local produce and a Sunday cafe.
Do your research, there is plenty to do and plenty to know so check out the BLM link below before you go!