After having our camper installed in Sacramento, we headed north. Our first destination was Usal Campground located in Mendocino County. Usal Campground is remote, and is one of the southernmost points of the Lost Coast. After turning onto US-101, the turnoff for Usal Road is roughly 13 miles north of Westport, California. The entrance for Usal Road is easy to miss as there aren’t any markers aside from some yellow posts.
Usal Road was a bit intimidating at first, and the 6.2 mile stretch took us approximately 50 minutes to drive. Almost immediately after we turned off we had to stop and back up to the main road again to allow passage for another vehicle. It is a narrow, mostly one way road. We had to anticipate when other vehicles were heading our way so we could strategically pull off and let them pass. There are quite a few areas where you can pull off on Usal Road, as well as some entrances to what we assumed were logging operations.
Usal Road is smooth enough to easily progress, but with the elevation constantly changing there are some very steep drop-offs. The path is covered in very fine sand and dirt, and all the surrounding foliage has a settled thin layer of dust. There were a couple tight squeezes when rounding the corners on Usal Road. In certain areas the dirt is looser, but slowing down negates any sliding.
When we first rounded the corner where the beach was visible, our patience paid off. It was honestly the first time the word “breathtaking” actually meant something to me.
When you get to the bottom of the pass, you are greeted with a bridge, a few dry camp sites, and outhouses. Anything you bring with you, you must also leave with. Its very isolated, and outside of its visitors it doesn’t appear that there is a lot of maintenance in the area.
The beach was where we were headed, but we did not see any signs pointing us in that direction. After some trial and error we found the path leading onto the beach.
We drove on to the sandy camping area, and aside from one SUV we had the entire coast to ourselves. We went to explore our new home on Camp Usal for the night, and walked along the beach hoping to spot some wildlife.