Usal Beach - Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, CA (4x4 drive)
I finally made
it out to Usal Beach, and I know for sure that I will come and visit here again.
steep, narrow 6 miles dirt road will lead you to one of the most beautiful and secluded
beaches in California, Usal Beach.
opening of Usual Creek nested in the coastal mountains and located in the southern
tip of the remote Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.
Note: I saw few YouTube about this beach and it looks like that during summer month and especially at weekends this beach, although "remote" is full with other people, cars and noise so it is probably a different experience to what I had.
I only drove to the beach, so in this blog I will not provide information about the state park
Start of the unpaved
one hour north of Ft Bragg on Highway 1, drive 30 miles until you will see on
your left the entrance to the dirt road.
miles (30 minutes) west of Leggett on Highway 1 from Highway 101. Look for mile
marker 90.88 on Highway 1. Turn north (right) unpaved narrow road.
Due note 1: Near the bay
there are only primitive campgrounds are and no potable water.
Due note 2: Although no
mandatory four-wheel drive and high clearance vehicles are recommended. This is
not recommended road for low clearance car.
Due note 3: When wet, the
park’s dirt roads are impassable for passenger cars, under heavy rain also 4x4
cars may find it challenging.
Due note 4: This is two-way
road, drive slowly and expect incoming traffic at any point.
Due note 5: Driving on
the beach itself is not allowed.
Due note 6: Usal Beach is
not an OHV park. Street legal vehicles are allowed on designated and maintained
Due note 7: Sinkyone
Wilderness State Park is located within bear country, regulations require that
visitors always store all food and scented items properly.
Due note 8: Permits are
not required; I did not stay here for the night, but I saw online that you do
need to pay for night camping at Usal Beach.
Due note 9: Although it
is relatively remote beach this campground can be (over) overcrowded in summer
weekends. I visit here during January nice weekend and there where something
like 8 other cars here.
Due note 10: As in all California
coastline, do expect to have morning fog, especially during summer.
I wanted to
visit here for long time and finally manage to do this, and I was not disappointed.
Fun drive over the mountain, amazing view of the remote mountain coastline and
the large opening of Usual Beach.
I did not stay
here for long time, walk in the woods, and explore the beach.
I must come
again, stay for the night, visit the Candelabra Redwoods, and drive and explore
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.
Wilderness State Park lies on the southern portion of the Lost Coast, a 60-mile
stretch of wilderness comprising the park and the King Range National
At the southern
tip of this remote ragged park, you can find Usual Beach.
I will describe
the common way to reach the beach, 6 miles drive north from highway 1.
unpaved old logging road that is narrow in some sections climbing and descending
the coastal ridge.
are no major technical driving obstacles, but it is not recommended for low clearance
When it is raining and even few weeks after there can be flooded sections
near the bridge and river crossing but most other sections along the coastal ridge
are not muddy.
of the drive: see above where section.
Soon when you are
turning from highway 1 heading north you are on dirt road.
section of the dirt road sharply climb the ridge in a narrow winding road with
relatively few places for front coming car passing.
You will reach
the top of ridge after around 2 miles and here the road follow the ridgeline
and become relatively wider and keeping the same level.
Around 4 miles
from the start of your drive the road start to descend sharply on the mountain’s
ocean side slopes.
In this section
the narrow road offers incredible views of the cliffs that fall all the way
down into the ocean.
There is an excellent viewpoint in one of the sharp turns in
the road just before the final descent section, you can park your car on the
right side of the road in the small opening and walk to the cliff edge just above
the large opening of the bay.
From here, a
short drive down and you will reach the floor of the valley, keep driving and
soon you will reach the large wooden bridge that crossing Usual Creek.
You can expect
to finish the 6 miles drive from highway 1 to Usal Beach in 30-40 minutes, including
short stops on the way to enjoy the view.
the bridge turn left and drive through the silver birch forest to the
campground area or all the way to the end of the road to the opening near the
that sometimes you can see herd of Roosevelt Elk, I was here mid-day late January
and there were no Elk around.
Here you can
walk down the stream to the ocean beach, be careful from surprise waves in
stormy weather and high tide.
here for some time, I walk back to my car and drove back on the same road I got
I learned about
the Candelabra Redwoods that are uniquely beautiful only after my visit here,
when collecting more information to write this blog.
The short trail
to Candelabra Redwoods start just south of the bridge on Usal Road. The trail enters
the redwood grove, climbing steeply passing by several large candelabra