overland

Lost Coast 4x4 Trail (California)

OTG Ben

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Please post trail status for the Lost Coast 4x4 Trail here.
Link to Lost Coast 4x4 Trail

Include the Following for all Status Updates

Date:
Current Status:
Additional Details:


Example of a Trail Update for a Route

Date:
4/30/2021

Current Status: Open with some issues

Additional Details: Recent rains have caused the river levels to rise substantially. Buffalo River is approximately 3' deep. Lifted vehicles with larger tires (33" +) may find it difficult and/or dangerous to cross Buffalo River. There's another crossing that's about 30" deep 1/2 mile north of the main crossing. We recommend checking water levels first, but this is typically the alternative crossing point. Aside from water levels, the rest of the trail is running fantastic!
 

OTG Ben

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Seasonal Gate Closure
A seasonal closure remains in effect for Usal Road from Usal Beach and north to 4 corners (Usal beach remains accessible from Hwy 1). Mendocino County controls the gates, and they're typically opened between Mid April to Mid May. We're anticipating they'll open any day now given rainfall was lighter than average this year. The typical detour is to drive back to Hwy 1to Hwy 101, and then take the pavement to Shelter Cove and continue the route north.

For the most up to date info, please contact Mendocino County Transportation Dept:
707-463-4363
https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/transportation/road-closures

Indefinite road Closure to Bear Harbor
The road from needle rock visiting center to bear Harbor remains closed following the road's closure a year ago due to unsafe conditions. It's unclear if Humboldt County (who manages the road) will open this section of road back up to vehicles in the future. This closure is negligible, as the drive to Bear Harbor is an out-and-back endeavor.
 

OTG Ben

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Mendocino County Transportation Dept has confirmed that Usal Road from Usal Beach to Four Corners is now open. The entire route is open to vehicles, except the section beyond Needle Rock Visitor Center to Bear Harbor, which appears it may end up being a permanent closure.

Indefinite road Closure to Bear Harbor
The road from needle rock visiting center to bear Harbor remains closed following the road's closure a year ago due to unsafe conditions. It's unclear if Humboldt County (who manages the road) will open this section of road back up to vehicles in the future. This closure is negligible, as the drive to Bear Harbor is an out-and-back endeavor.
 

Superduty

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Jan 2, 2022
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What about getting to Usal Beach (and camping there)? That looks to be accessible from what I see online.
 

pwbandy_-8615

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Oct 8, 2021
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Folsom, CA
Date Riden: 5/26-5/27. Current Status: Open with GREAT road conditions. Additional Deets: Below
Just got back from riding the Lost Coast on my Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro (ADV Bike). I started out from Fort Bragg late 5/26 and made my way north to Usal Beach. I got there around dinner time and was able to score a campsite right on the beach and scavenge some firewood to go with a couple beers. Road conditions were amazing and easily passable for an intermediate rider.

I continued north the next morning, making my way to Shelter Cove where the light house was actually having a grand reopening. Pretty cool spot for lunch on the cliff over looking the ocean.

From there, I continued north through the King Range and Wilder Ridge to Honeydew, Petrolia, and then up along the coast to Cape Mendocino. I unfortunately did not take advantage of any of the off-shoot portions of this adventure this trip... and by nightfall I had hit the top end of the Six Rivers BDT and made way south to the Mad River Campground (cleanest toilets I can remember seeing at a campsite).
 

OTG Ben

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Route from Usal Beach to Bear Harbor is still closed as of 5/25/2022


Unclear if/when this will ever re-open. After speaking with one of the caretakers at Needle Rock, it's currently up to Humboldt County if they want to re-open. Previously, there had been an issue re-routing the road through wilderness that posed challenges a few years back.
 

timdmacdo

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Jun 28, 2021
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Dates: 7/1/22 - 7/4/22

Current Status: Open with some obstacles

Additional Details:
We followed mostly followed route #2, camping at Usal Beach, AW Way County Park, and Albee Creek, and were traveling with a 4-door Jeep Wrangler and a Subaru Forester.

Day one was only arrival at Usal Beach and setting up camp. It was packed and loud given the holiday weekend, but we were still able to find a small site with a fire ring after arriving around 8:30pm.

On day two we started up Usal Rd and found a fallen tree partially blocking the road about 10 miles in. It was tight but both of our vehicles made it through without issues (probably the same one reported by another member earlier). We also took the road down to the Needle Rock Visitor center. The road is still closed past here. After that we went to Shelter Cover and eventually made our way to AW Way, which still had several sites available.

1657258374599.png1657258392440.png

On day three we went to Mattole Beach to do the lighthouse hike starting from there. The lighthouse is undergoing construction work but is still visible and the elephant seals were around as well. After this we drove back to Honeydew and attempted to begin the offshoot towards the Kinsey Ridge Trailhead. However, we found that a closed gate was blocking the route shown on the site. We were still able to get to it by taking an alternate route near the Honeydew Day Use Area. After that we headed into the state park to camp at Albee Creek. We were able to get a reservation here around a week in advance by watching the reservation site for cancelations. Beware that google maps may tell you to turn into a hiking trail rather than the actual road to the campsite - the real road is paved and marked with a large sign. We headed back home the next morning.

1657258450545.png

Overall a great time with no big issues!
 

OTG Ben

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Dates: 7/1/22 - 7/4/22


View attachment 823

Overall a great time with no big issues!

Nice catch! That's actually a mapping error on our part. The blue line is actually where the route is supposed to be. We'll be updating the gpx files within the next week to reflect this. How was the view when you made it to the top of the Ridge?
 

timdmacdo

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Glad it was helpful! It was a bit cloudly that day but still good. We didn't make it all the out to the viewpoint on the map, which was probably for best since it started raining a few minutes after we started heading back. Also the view the day before at Saddle Mountain Rd was amazing, so this was just a bonus.
 

Happy29

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Jul 12, 2022
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Has anyone run these parts recently? With all the rain I suspect some challenges but perhaps it's weathered it well.

Planning a Redwood Lost Coast trip in June/July to beat the heat...
 

OTG Ben

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Has anyone run these parts recently? With all the rain I suspect some challenges but perhaps it's weathered it well.

Planning a Redwood Lost Coast trip in June/July to beat the heat...

Most folks aren't running the lost coast 4x4 trail until mid to late may, when Mendocino county opens the gate for Usal Road. You can check with King Range NCA ran by BLM about some of the trails and roads along the northern section, but they may not have had a ranger out that way in months. That section of norcal gets the most rain in the state. I'm guessing the current state is that many of the roads along ridges are littered with deadfall, but BLM is pretty good about cleaning those up once the rains die down.
 

rckjnke

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May 18, 2021
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Anybody know if the tree that was laying diagonally over the road right after Usal has been removed? Smaller vehicles could get under it, larger vehicle could not.
 

Steve D

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Jan 11, 2024
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Has anyone found any trails that connect Bear Harbor Camp and Jackass Creek / Usal Road (not Beach) Camp grounds via actual vehicle or hiking trails (not bush whacking)? The North Fork trail is closest but appear to dead end; and while I can get to Kenny via Usal/Moody Rd there doesn't appear to be any connection north or west unless you go all the way to Indian Creek (and that runs out before Bear Harbor). Thanks
 

OTG Ben

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Has anyone found any trails that connect Bear Harbor Camp and Jackass Creek / Usal Road (not Beach) Camp grounds via actual vehicle or hiking trails (not bush whacking)? The North Fork trail is closest but appear to dead end; and while I can get to Kenny via Usal/Moody Rd there doesn't appear to be any connection north or west unless you go all the way to Indian Creek (and that runs out before Bear Harbor). Thanks

Bear Harbor Road is actually a county road within Humboldt County. As I understand it, a storm about 5 or so years ago caused damage, the the re-alignment would go cross slightly into the wilderness boundary, which would make the road illegal for cars. It sounds like after this debacle, Humboldt Co. largely punted on fixing the road, and I'd be surprised if it ever opens again to vehicles.

As far as hiking from Usal to Bear Harbor, hundreds if not thousands of people do it every year by takin the Lost Coast Trail. If you camp back in the redwoods at Usal, you'll even see the trail heads up the hill. As far as vehicles go, Usal Road is the only open Road that connects highway 1 to Usal Beach and then to 4 Corners (the 4-way intersection a few miles up from Needle Rock visitor center).

Here's the southern section of the Lost Coast Trail (the hiking trail) that connects Usal Beach to Bear Harbor

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