Klamath River Overlook via Coastal Trail
[courtesy of U.S. National Park Service]
Distance: This hike is an out and back, totaling roughly 8 miles. It is one section of the longer
Coastal Trail, which is around 70 miles along the Northern Coast of California.
Time: 3-5 hours, depending on speed and if you explore the spur trails to the tide pools.
Elevation Gain/Loss: The hike starts at sea level and slowly gets up to about 600 feet at the
highest, right at the overlook. It winds through up and down sections the whole way, over about
Features: The destination is the Klamath Overlook, a very scenic view where you can see the
beautiful Wild and Scenic Klamath reach the Pacific Ocean. The Klamath Overlook is famous
for whale watching, but that is not all you will see on this beautiful hike. The trail takes you
through numerous groves of different trees, ranging from spruce to alder. Despite being in
Redwood National Park, there are no redwoods on this stretch of trail. This makes this section
an excellent choice for those looking for a longer hike with less crowds than usually found in the
park. In addition, about a mile into the hike, you can leave the trail to head to Hidden Beach,
which offers excellent tide pools at low tide to observe all sorts of sea life.
The trail will lead you in and out of old growth forests, with sporadic ocean views. You can hear
the crashing of the surf and the noise of sea lions even when the ocean isn’t visible. At the end,
you’ll be treated to the best ocean view yet, right at the overlook.
The Klamath River, which is the main feature of the trail, is federally designated Wild and
Scenic. The total length of protected river is 286 miles, including tributaries. It is known for its
excellent salmon and trout habitat, and is home to several fisheries. In addition, the Klamath
holds a great deal of cultural significance for Native American Tribes. At this time, there are
plans to remove four upstream dams on the Klamath to restore fish habitat, one of the most
significant dam removal projects in California. To learn more about the Klamath Wild and Scenic
River, click here.
Directions to Trail: The trail begins off of Highway 101, at the Lagoon Creek parking lot and
rest stop, just south of the Del Norte Redwoods. You can access it from both the northbound
and southbound directions on 101. Find the trail at the north end of the lot, and follow it. The trail
is clearly marked, so follow the signs to the Klamath Overlook. When in doubt, stick close to the
Caution: Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.
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- Desert Hikes