Lassen County
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King Range National
Near Garberville, California

Bureau of Land Management
Management Unit:
Arcata Field Office
Arcata Field Office
1695 Heindon Road
Arcata CA 95521-4573
(707) 825-2300

  • Tent Camping
  • Fishing
  • Mens / Womens Restrooms
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife Viewing Area
Along the northern coast of California, civilization has left its mark on all but the most rugged or remote stretches of coastline. Large areas which have not been touched by major highways, town and subdivisions are few in number--Point Reys National Seashore, Redwood National Park, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park and the King Range National Conservation Area. Extremely steep and rocky terrain forced the coastal highway route, State Highway 1, about 30 miles inland from the King Range. This obstacle to transportation and settlement remains today as California's "Lost Coast."

The spectacular meeting of land and sea is certainly a dominant feature of the King Range National Conservation Area. However, it is also an area of mountain streams, trails, and forests ideal for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and sightseeing. There are five developed recreation sites in addition to several primitive camps. The King Crest and Chemise Mountain trails have been designated as National Recreation Trails.

Additional recreation opportunities include surfing, beachcombing, whale watching, onshore fishing for perch and cod, picnicking and overnight camping.

A network of paved, gravelled and dirt roads is available for motorized sightseeing, giving access to numerous tumbling streams and wide ocean and moutain vistas. Most roads are signed indicating direction, mileage, and driving conditions. Be especially watchful for slides and washouts during the winter rain season.

Backpacking is a popular activity in the King Range, both on the mountain trails and along the beach. The wilderness beach (Lost Coast Trail) is one of the most attractive features of the conservation area, with the abandoned Coast Guard lighthouse at Punta Gorda, relics of early shipwrecks, and a variety of marine wildlife to be observed. The distance from the Mattole Campground to Black Sands Beach is 24 miles.

The 16-mile King Crest Trail System provides foot and horse access along the main coastal ridge north of Shelter Cove. There are three trailheads-one at the end of the Saddle Mountain Road, one midway along the Smith-Etter Road, and one near the end of the King Range Road. The relatively easy walk from any one of these trailheads gives the hiker excellent views of the ocean and the Mattole River Valley.

Access to the coastal ridge south of Shelter Cove is available on the Chemise Mountain and Lost Coast trails. Trailheads are located at the BLM's Wailaki and Nadelos recreation sites and at the entrance to Hidden Valley.

The Bureau of Land Management has developed recreation camping sites at four locations in the south end of the King Range National Conservation Area: Wailaki, 13 units; Nadelos, 6 units; Tolkan, 9 units; and Horse Mountain, 9 units. Each site has a table, fire grill, food cabinet, sanitary facilities, and water. The Mattole Campground, located at the northern-most point in the King Range, is semi-developed with picnic tables, cooking grills, a portable restroom, and water supply. Trailers and motor homes should not exceed 20 feet in length.

Offshore rocks, kelp beds, and tidal areas are inhabited by seals, sea lions, and a variety of marine birds. The Douglas fir forest, grassland, and chaparral communities support significant populations of black-tailed deer and black bear. In 1982, a small herd of Roosevelt elk was reintroduced to the King Range. The animals adapted well to the area and now roam from Shelter Cove south to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.

Nearly 300 kinds of native and migratory birds have been spotted in the King Range. The old growth fir forest is an important habitat for such sensitive species as the spotted owl, Cooper's hawk, and the endangered bald eagle.

Salt water angling for salmon, bottom fish, and rock fish is a popular activity at Shelter Cove, as it

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