About four hours north of San Francisco sits a stretch of land so cut off from main roads that only visitors willing to explore on foot will ever see it. In the 1930s, this rugged, moody section of coastline—appropriately named The Lost Coast—presented a challenge to Highway 1 developers, who deemed the coastal cliffs too difficult to build roads on. Instead, they diverted east to join U.S. Highway 101, and left a section of Northern California untouched (and unreachable by car).
The 25-mile Lost Coast Trail tops many adventurous hikers’ bucket lists. Not only is the point-to-point trail alluring because of its mysterious fog, epic vistas, and beautiful hidden beaches, it also presents a unique challenge—twice a day, the route is washed away by high tide. When hiking here, perfect timing is essential.
In March, Red Bull ultra-runner Dylan Bowman, 32, took it up a notch and set out to run the Fastest Known Time on the combined north and south sections of the Lost Coast Trail, a 55-mile stretch between the Usal Campground and the Mattole River.
Bowman saw the difficult terrain (soft sand, sheer cliffs, elevation gains totaling around 10,000 feet) and high tides as part of the challenge. Although he started at 3:30 a.m. to avoid getting swept away by the ocean, he still found himself scrambling over slippery boulders as waves pushed their way onto his path.
“Timing the run to avoid high tides is something that I found intriguing,” Bowman says. “While the sheer remoteness and beauty of the route is something I found irresistible."
Bowman finished with time to spare, clocking an 11:12—90 minutes faster than the best-known attempt at the run. As he told writer-runner Rickey Gates in this Red Bull recap, "It’s one of the most spectacular single-day runs that you can do.”
Watch Red Bull's video of the run below.