Shelter Cove - Black Sand Beach - Summer
Shelter Cove is a small hamlet (693 residents in the 2011 census) located on the Pacific Coast due west of Garberville and Redway on California State Highway 101. It is pretty well surrounded by the King Range Conservation Area and Sinkiyone Wilderness State Park is just a few miles to the south. Several of the beaches are also protected as state parks. The community depends on tourism and retirees for its economy and there are a few lodging and dining establishments serving visitors. Fishing, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and solitude are the main attractions.
This part of California was home to the Sinkiyone people before the arrival of Anglo-Europeans. It is thought that they moved in and out of the area following seasonal food cycles. Because of the relatively safe anchorage located at Shelter Cove, it is believed that early European seafarers almost certainly visited several hundred years ago, but the first permanent European settlement did not occur until the middle of the nineteenth century. It became one of the stops for the coastal dog hole schooner fleet and its successors that moved supplies and people up and down the coast of California until Highways One and 101 were completed in the early years of the twentieth century. Because of the steep nature of the coastal terrain to the north and south of Shelter Cove, land transportation routes tended to bypass this part of the coast, hence it's nick name - The Lost Coast. (There is a back road that snakes through from Shelter Cove south to Soldier's Point, but it is very difficult and seasonally impassable.)
One of the more amazing things about this remote community is it's proximity to the major population centers of the state. San Francisco and Sacramento are less than five hours driving time away from this major wilderness area. Because one drives through some of the best old growth redwood forest groves in the world to get here, it is a great drive to a unique destination.