Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

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About Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

We can’t stress enough how incredible this place is. The Lost Coast makes up the majority of this state park, but Sinkyone is so much more than just a coastline. It’s truly a wilderness, far away from highways and civilization. Highway 1 stopped construction up this coast right before this wilderness because it couldn’t bear to pave its way through the ruggedly beautiful terrain. With steep cliffs looming right over the ocean, we can’t really blame them for chickening out. Beach, bluff, and forest, this state park completely justifies the long, bumpy drive, because once you get there, it’s a whole other world…

Campgrounds in Sinkyone Wilderness

Usal Beach Camp

1. Usal Beach Camp

Usal Beach is the only drive-in campground, as well as the campground furthest south in Sinkyone; it’s conveniently located near Highway 1. The...

Ross: Hard to find but worth. Arrived on a tue. Ranger was cleaning an outhouse. Lucked out and had a great spot 19. Most other spots...
35 Saves
Anderson Camp

2. Anderson Camp

Anderson Camp is a primitive campground, a perfect place to stop for the night while you ambitiously venture on the Lost Coast. If you’re starting...

Yousef: A truly magical off the beaten path place. Prepare for quite a bit of elevation gain/loss with the reward of amazing views....
24 Saves
Streamside Camp

3. Streamside Camp

This tiny campsite has a lot to offer. Located right next to Needle Rock and the visitor center, this is probably the most accessible campground in...

14 Saves
Needle Rock Camp

4. Needle Rock Camp

This environmental campground has a pretty gnarly view of Needle Rock and Double Rock which are some crazy rock formations jutting out of the...

13 Saves
Jones Beach Camp

5. Jones Beach Camp

If you’re looking for a sampler of what this wilderness has to offer, try camping at Jones beach. It is the campground the furthest up north,...

10 Saves
Railroad Camp

6. Railroad Camp

Bear Harbor Railroad used to run through here, but now all that’s left are some mysterious rusty tracks jutting off the cliffside. This bizarre...

7 Saves
Little Jackass Creek Camp

7. Little Jackass Creek Camp

Little Jackass Creek has an intriguing name… and intriguing nearby attractions. Mistake Point? Who knows what you’ll find there? Jackass Cone? We...

7 Saves
Bear Harbor Camp

8. Bear Harbor Camp

Bear Harbor is located in the middle of the Lost Coast. Check in at the Needle Rock Visitor Center, then head on down the Bear Harbor trail to set...

5 Saves
Wheeler Camp

9. Wheeler Camp

Wheeler Camp is smack in the middle of the Sinkyone Wilderness, so come check it out if and only if you’re prepared to backpack. Dense woodland,...

4 Saves
Orchard Camp

10. Orchard Camp

Orchard Camp is an environmental camp with an awesome viewpoint looking out over the ocean with Morgan Rock and North Rock in view. A great place...

3 Saves

8 Reviews

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Hipcamper A

No reservations; self-registration. Make sure to check in either at Usal Beach on the southern end or the visitor center in the north!

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Hipcamper Ross

Hard to find but worth. Arrived on a tue. Ranger was cleaning an outhouse. Lucked out and had a great spot 19. Most other spots lacked amenities& spots seemed randomly spread around without any real numbered sites. I highly recommend taking 3d left after bridg

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Hipcamper Yousef

A truly magical off the beaten path place. Prepare for quite a bit of elevation gain/loss with the reward of amazing views. Didn't budget sufficient time from Usal Beach to make it to Anderson but not a problem as you can backcountry camp just about anywhere off the trail. Expect large temp swings and be dazzled by the only view along the California coast where there is no light pollution; just you and the heavens glimmering above.

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Hipcamper A

The road might be unpredictable during rain, so drive carefully! If you’re planning on coming in a RV or trailer, wet season might not be the best time

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Hipcamper A

If you’re looking for a beach with no crowds, you’ve come to the right place. There aren’t rows of beach umbrellas here-- only the sand and the waves!

Hipcamper A

Watch out for ticks. Take the precautions (wear DEET and light colored clothing) before they tick you off

Hipcamper A

There are elk around the area that may get aggressive, so take caution and give them their space!

Hipcamper Lee

Usal great place to camp.

History of Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

For thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, the Sinkyone Indians lived in this part of the coast. They occupied permanent villages alongside streams and rivers, and moved out in family groups to hunt and forage in the hills during the summer. They spent time along the coast fishing, gathering seaweed and shellfish, and hunting seals and sea lions, and harvesting the occasional dead whale that had washed on shore. Fish were an important source of food during the winter. All kinds of fish were caught, but the seasonal salmon run was especially important.

Most park visitors today assume that human beings have had little impact on this area. But every trail, road, or flat spot has been modified by human activity. Game trails were turned into pathways for pack mules loaded with tanbark for the tanneries of San Francisco. Roads were carved and graded for lumbering operations. Open areas and marine terraces were farmed and used to pasture sheep and cattle. Occasionally, what appears to be a wagon road or a modern jeep trail is actually an abandoned railroad right-of-way.

Logging operations continued until well into the 20th century and wood products of various kinds were shipped to market from Usal, Needle Rock, Anderson’s Landing, Northport and Bear Harbor/Morgan’s Rock. Northport was not much of a port, but lumber schooners were able to take on their cargoes by means of a "wire chute," - a cable and block system that could run wood from the bluff to waiting schooners. Built in 1875, the Northport "chute" was one of the first of its kind on the coast.