The Klamath Section of the Coastal Trail runs along steep, spruce-covered bluffs high above the ocean, with no roads or other development in sight. Most of the trail is wooded so you can’t see the ocean, but for the last half-mile the woods end and the views really open up. There aren’t any redwoods on this section of trail.
Before 2016 this trail was known as the Hidden Beach Section of the Coastal Trail.
Start at the Lagoon Creek parking lot, which is mostly used as a Highway 101 rest stop. The lot is just north of the Trees of Mystery attraction and just south of where Highway 101 descends out of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The trail begins at the northern end of the lot; it’s clearly marked but hard to see because it’s overgrown with grass.
At the first trail intersection, stay right to follow the coastline. The first mile of trail is the best, alternating between lush, attractive spruce forest and open grassy areas with fine views of the rocky shoreline and some sea stacks, among the best coastal views in the park.
A spur trail descends to the small, scenic cove known as Hidden Beach. Just a few yards after that is a second spur trail that leads to the Trees of Mystery, then the main trail begins to climb. The open grassy areas end, although there are still a few brief glimpses of the ocean, and the spruce forest seems to open up. The trail looks like it used to be a dirt road, although grass has covered most of the road leaving only a narrow singletrack trail.
The trail gradually levels out, but never becomes completely level; it constantly dips and climbs. There’s a long dull stretch where the trail mostly runs through an impenentrably dense tangle of blackberry brambles and ferns. There aren’t a lot of views in this area, but throughout the hike, the crash of the surf on the rocky coastline below can be heard. There’s one spot where the "ork-ork" of sea lions can clearly be heard.
The blackberry brambles and ferns finally come to an end and the scenery improves quite a bit. Just before this point, some stout spruce trees that are probably old growth stand by the side of the trail. The spruce culminates when the trail winds up to the top of a little knoll where about half a dozen large spruce trees stand. There are some glimpses of the ocean and the rocky coastline far below.
The spruce trees give way to a large, attractive stand of white-barked red alders that end when the trail reaches a fenced-in viewpoint. The viewpoint has some pretty nice views of the ocean and the coast to the south. The trail then emerges onto a grassy hillside for its last half-mile. The ocean views continue and are the best in Redwood National and State Parks. The hillside is covered with thickets of coastal scrub; the trail is sometimes overgrown with grass and somewhat rough.
There’s a spur trail that leads steeply downhill to a viewpoint on a small rock outcropping. The spur isn’t really worthwhile, since the view is actually better from the beginning of the spur than it is from the end.
The trail climbs up to the parking lot, offering views of the Klamath River.
© 2011, 2012, 2017 David Baselt