Hiking the California Coastal Trail

Imagine a California Coastal Trail...

Imagine a trail along the entire length of the California coast, a diverse route from border to border that explores beaches, bluffs, headlands, bays and coves, staying as near the shore as possible for 1200 miles. Visualize a route that passes through wilderness areas, towns and cities, climbs over high ridges here and there, and crosses hundreds of streams ranging from seasonal trickles to year-round creeks to major rivers.

Happily the California Coastal Trail (CCT) is no longer all in the mind, but too few people realize that the CCT already exists, as diverse a long distance trail as you'll find anywhere on the planet. The CCT has been being created, designated and built for twenty-five years. Finishing the CCT will take several more years of dedicated work, but other long distance trails have also taken years to complete. The Pacific Crest Trail has taken twenty-nine years to become almost complete since the first guidebook appeared and it's still not finished. The Appalachian Trail took even longer.

The biggest advance for California's Coastal Trail since our book's first edition in 1998 came in autumn 2001 when the California leglislature approved Senate Bill 908. That legislation formally established the CCT, mandating the Coastal Conservancy to work with other state agencies to develop a plan and cost estimates for the CCT's completion.

Coastwalk and Bored Feet continue to educate the public about the CCT. We're working toward that goal on three fronts. First, since 1983 we've been telling people about the CCT, leading them on hikes along it every summer, and working to expand and complete the trail.

Second, we've created and published two comprehensive guidebooks for the CCT.

Third, we're working on a study of the CCT in cooperation with the Coastal Conservancy, Coastal Commission and State Parks Department to map the best routes and uses for the trail, identify major gaps and opportunities for filling them, and make a budget estimate for completion. While the CCT is identified in many places as the Coastal Trail, and in a few others as Coast Trail, for the most part it's not clearly marked on the ground or most maps. In fact, in pursuing our efforts to complete the California Coastal Trail, we've found that this lack of clear identification along the trail itself presents the biggest obstacle to people knowing about it. The initial pilot project to sign the trail has already begun.

In the meantime, our guidebooks will let you find and follow the California Coastal Trail wherever you choose, for as many or as few miles as the spirit moves you. Be forewarned, though, that hiking the CCT can be contagious.

We publish the only two volume set covering the entire California Coastal Trail. The volumes are available separately or as a special gift set.

Just 3 years after the debut of this ground-breaking series, California's Coastal Trail (CCT) has become an official state trail, its completion a priority. The CCT is America's most diverse long distance trail, spanning the distance between the Oregon and Mexico.

This two volume series covers the entire CCT. Whether you're planning to walk the entire CCT, or simply exploring parts of the California Coast, you'll find Hiking the California Coastal Trail to be an invaluable rescource.

“Indispensable to the beach-loving hiker. The hand-drawn maps are remarkable—detailed yet clean.” ~San Jose Mercury-News

“Precise directions and maps . . . A detailed guide and a concise almanac of shoreline lore.”
~San Francisco Chronicle

“An amazing book … impressive.”
~California Wild

“User-friendly maps, precise directions from writers who've walked their talk.”
~San Francisco Chronicle

Hiking the California Coastal Trail
Volume One: Oregon to Monterey, Second Edition

The Guide to Walking the Golden State's Beaches and Bluffs from Border to Border

by Bob Lorentzen and Richard Nichols

This 2nd Edition updates the many changes on the CCT's north half. This thorough guide details 600 CCT miles in 85 accessible sections, most offering easy day hikes, plus 12 great for backpacking. Sections that have most changed have revised maps and/or text, while 16 pages of updates detail other changes.

The concise, thorough descriptions support 60 detailed maps. Highlights include Redwood National Park, the whole Lost Coast, Pt.Reyes National Seashore and San Francisco's gorgeous urban shore. Thirty-six feature articles discuss history, geology, land use, and attractions.

Hiking the California Coastal Trail
Volume Two: Monterey to Mexico

The Guide to Walking the Golden State's Beaches and Bluffs from Border to Border

by Bob Lorentzen and Richard Nichols

This southern volume of the series describes more than 600 miles of the CCT. Volume Two covers from Monterey to the Mexico in 83 accessible sections. Most sections offer easy day hikes, while 6 offer great backpacking, including the dramatically rugged Big Sur High Route.

Concise, thorough descriptions support 65 detailed maps. Each section details how to get there, hike distance, elevation change, cautions, and facilities available including campgrounds, hostels and lodgings. The guide also covers alternate routes, side trails, and river, bay and harbor crossing info.

33 feature articles discuss history, geology, land use and attractions. Volume 2 describes such CCT highlights as the Monterey Peninsula shore, Point Lobos, vast Big Sur, the Hearst coast, Montana de Oro State, Point Sal, Vandenberg coast, Point Conception, Santa Barbara beaches, Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Zuma Beach, Venice Beach, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and the Orange and San Diego coasts.

hikingBack to home page