First of all, I do want to mention that the Northern Section of the Lost Coast is still scheduled to be closed through May 31st. I spoke to 3 different rangers, and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is still open and shouldn't be a concern for us, but I do want to make sure that everyone is aware of this, and as with any backpacking trip, there is always a risk. Here is the latest news on this:
With that said, I spoke with the ranger up there today about the road conditions and he said the road to Usal is passable with regular passenger cars, however, the road from there up to Orchard camp is not recommended for passenger cars (passable with high clearance vehicles). I haven't heard from anybody else with 4WD, therefore, to simplify things, I'm thinking of changing the nature of the trip and save shuttle time as well as maximize nature time without impacting the quality of the trip by making this from a one way to out and back. The plan basically remains the same, (still starting at Usal Campground, hike in to Little Jackass Creek and set up camp), but instead if we like the spot, we can keep this as a base camp, and do a day hike out to Wheeler camp and/or beyond and return to base camp. Then final day hike out the way we came in. This plan still allows us to cover most of the ground originally planned, while saving the hassle and time for car shuttling.
No luck with the lottery on the other trips and still interested in heading out over Memorial Day Weekend. Check this trip out:
Looking to create a group of 8 for this trip.
Lost Coast Trail: Usal Creek to Orchard Camp (South Section) - Memorial Day Weekend
Total Distance: 16 miles (one way trip, so will need to figure out car drop off and pick up details):
Total Gain: 5968 ft
Total Loss: 5963 ft
Head up on Friday and camp at Usal Campground
We'll pick up permits at the trailhead. ($5 per night.)
Day 1 (Saturday): Get an early start, shuffle cars up to Orchard Camp (if didn't do this Friday night). Starting from Usal TH, hike 7 miles to Little Jackass Creek and set up camp on the beach. (this will be the most intensive part of the trip with a lot of ups and downs).
Day 2 (Sunday) From there we'll have more flexibility. i.e. relax on the beach for a half a day, explore the area there before packing up and hiking to next spot. Will have a list of potential spots from another beach camp to camping in Redwood Forests.
Day 3 (Monday). Pack up and hike out and drive back to Usal TH to pick up the cars.
I've read there could potentially be a lot of Poison Oak, so if you are highly sensitive to that, then this might not be the right trip for you.
Although this is only 16 miles spread out over 3 days, there is a lot of elevation gain and loss, so you should be in general good hiking shape. The pace of the hike will be moderate, meaning we'll have the chance to take our time. Beginner Backpackers with hiking experience are welcome.
Guide of recent trip:
(Lottery rules in effect if applicable and will be done on Sunday, May 19th).
***Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is located within "Bear Country". State Park regulations require that visitors store all food and scented items properly at all times.
Bear Canisters are not required here, but do recommend having one. If you don't have a bear canister, be prepared to hang your food.