In the 1920s, when they built the Coast Highway in northern California, engineers decided a stretch of coast from northern Mendocino County through the King Range in Humboldt County was too rugged for a road. Thus, this expanse of magnificent coastline was soon isolated and became known as the “Lost Coast.”
The small community of Shelter Cove, on the coast just below the King Range, lies at the core of the Lost Coast. Being cut off from the rest of California has helped Shelter Cove become a peaceful seaside resort with peerless scenery that is nirvana for outdoor enthusiasts. A relatively flat point set amidst a long stretch of sheer ocean cliffs, Shelter Cove gets its name from a gulf formed by Point Delgada to the south.
The drive out to this remote area is well worth it for those who like to fish, crab, dive for abalone or watch for whales. Photographers, hikers and nature lovers will have plenty to do as well. The thick redwood forests surrounding the village are home to bald eagles, Roosevelt elk, black tail deer… and if you believe the legend, Bigfoot. The rocky shoreline makes Shelter Cove a refuge for seals and sea lions, and it boasts some of the world’s richest tide pools. There are picnic areas that offer access to the beach or the rocks below the bluffs.
Black Sands Beach to the north is deserted and picturesque, with stunning views of the King Range. There are numerous campgrounds in the wilderness near Shelter Cove, plus a major trailhead that leads into the King Range. Hikers who want to trek the 25-mile long Lost Coast Trail can start their journey here. For much of the Lost Coast, the mountains dive directly into the sea, a geographic barrier to development that has left much of this region in its original rugged and wild state.
- from 101 Things To Do Magazine Humboldt