This page is not to be the final directions or authority on Hiking the Coast of California.

The Lost Coast Trail winds through the King Range Conservation Area and through Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. From the Mouth of the Mattole to Sinkyone, the area is dotted with campsites that are available to hikers. In King Range, only car campgrounds have a fee. There is normally not much fuel at these sites to use for a fire. If you are backpacking, campfire permits can be obtained from King Range. Water at some of the grounds is potable and at others camp grounds is not. You should take special care with the steam or run off, as cooking or drinking water. Toilets are available at the campgrounds in most cases. Where there are no toilets, one should bring along the camp shovel and use it correctly. Trash barrels are provided at most camp grounds, but there are some that you are expected to take the trash out with you. The trails or marked sometimes but vandalism and lack of funds leave others unmarked. Having a map is essential to navigating from one point to another if you are unfamiliar with this area. Even a road map would be better then nothing. Weather at the ocean is always a changing situation year around. But late fall and late spring can give unpredictable weather at times. Summer can be unpredictable, as to if there will be sun or not, but rain is very infrequent. Even in summer plan on chilly nights down near the ocean. Summers in the high mountains can be in the 100+ category;  water, and fire danger is a consideration. Always be aware that the areas we are talking of have mountain lions and bear that roam freely. Mountain lions range, as low as, the headlands, but prefer to be away from people. Bear range at the higher levels but both will come down into populated areas during drought conditions. (Store food stuffs correctly!) Bear cans are REQUIRED in backcountry or a $150 fine. Bear cans are available for rent.

Hiking on the lost coast is the first thing that the free spirit wants to do. The coast to the north of Shelter Cove provides a great place to hike, as a day trip or a more prolonged endeavor. Parallel to this stretch of beach known by the locals as "Big Black Sands Beach" are mostly public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The beach is difficult to walk on at times since it is composed of a round sand and each step sinks in at the heel giving a weighed step. But by slowing the pace and/or taking advantage of trails that lift you up onto the bluffs you can make time and preserve energy. There are trails that take off from the beach and lead you along the creeks and streams or up into the mountains and back into the wild public lands that surround Shelter Cove. 
"Die hard" surfers will hike to an area to the north called, "Big Flat". It juts out into the Pacific about eight miles north of Shelter Cove and is the last piece of land you can see to the north from the southern end of Black Sands Beach. The surfing at "Big Flat" is supposed to be exceptional.  

1. Are dogs allowed on trails? Dogs are allowed in the campsites on leashs in the King Range (BLM). Dogs are allowed on trails without leashes. Sinkyone is restricted because of the animals there.

Some dogs (web toed)  won't do well on the Black Sands Beach, sand cuts feet.

2. Where is a good place to take kids?

Short trips on black sands beach from Shelter Cove to Horse Creek or Gitchell Creek

Hidden Valley to Chemise Mountain.

Day trips out and back in Sinkyone.

Tidepooling in Shelter Cove.