The Coastal Trail

Klamath Section

Length 7.8 mi · Climbing 1390 ft
California > Redwood National and State Parks > Redwood National Park

The trail is cut into these rugged coastal bluffs

The Klamath Section of the Coastal Trail runs along steep, spruce-covered bluffs high above the ocean, with no roads or other development in sight. Most of the trail is wooded so you can’t see the ocean, but for the last half-mile the woods end and the views really open up. There aren’t any redwoods on this trail.

Before 2016 the trail was known as the Hidden Beach Section of the Coastal Trail.

Start at the Lagoon Creek parking lot, which is mostly used as a Highway 101 rest stop. The trail is clearly marked and begins at the northern end of the lot.

At the first trail intersection, stay right to follow the coastline. The first mile of trail is the best, alternating between lush, attractive spruce forest and open grassy areas with fine views of the rocky shoreline and some sea stacks.

Hidden Beach

An unmarked spur trail descends to the small, scenic cove known as Hidden Beach. Just a few yards after that is a second spur trail that leads to the Trees of Mystery.

As the trail begins to climb, the open grassy areas give way to spruce woods. There are no more ocean views for the next few miles, except for a few brief glimpses through the woods. The trail looks like it used to be a dirt road, although grass has covered most of the road, leaving only a narrow singletrack trail.

Lowland section of the Coastal Trail, at the spur to Trees of Mystery

The trail gradually levels out, but never becomes completely level; it constantly dips and climbs. There’s a long dull stretch where the trail mostly runs through an impenentrably dense tangle of blackberry brambles and ferns. The crash of the surf on the unseen rocky coastline below fills the air, and there’s one spot where the “ork-ork” of sea lions can clearly be heard.

The blackberry brambles and ferns finally come to an end and the scenery improves quite a bit. The trail winds up to the top of a little knoll where about half a dozen exceptionally large, old-growth spruce trees stand. There are some glimpses of the ocean and the rocky coastline far below.

Spruce on the Coastal Trail

The spruce trees give way to a large, attractive stand of white-barked red alders that end when the trail reaches a fenced-in viewpoint. The viewpoint has some pretty nice views of the ocean and the coast to the south. The trail then emerges onto a grassy hillside for its last half-mile. The ocean views continue and are the best in Redwood National and State Parks. The hillside is covered with thickets of coastal scrub; the trail is sometimes overgrown with grass and somewhat rough. Parts of the trail have slumped, resulting in short, steep descents and climbs.

A red alder grove on the Coastal Trail

There’s a spur trail that leads steeply downhill to a viewpoint on a small rock outcropping. The spur isn’t really worthwhile, since the view is actually better from the beginning of the spur than it is from the end.

The trail climbs up to the parking lot, offering views of the Klamath River.


© 2011, 2012, 2017, 2022 David Baselt